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Canadiens hope for better outcome in Pittsburgh

by John Kreiser /

CANADIENS (12-11-1) at PENGUINS (16-8-0)

Last 10 -- Canadiens 5-4-1; Penguins 5-5-0

Season series -- The teams are meeting for the second time this season, both in Pittsburgh. The Penguins routed Montreal 6-1 at Mellon Arena on Oct. 28, with Sidney Crosby getting a hat trick. The Penguins go to the BellCenter on Dec. 10 and Feb. 6.

Big story -- Both teams are scrambling to deal with a plethora of injuries -- and doing pretty well at it. The Canadiens have been riding the goaltending of Carey Price, who's 3-0-1 in his last four games -- including a 5-3 home victory over Columbus on Tuesday. The Penguins had five of their six regulars on defense sidelined last week; Sergei Gonchar and Brooks Orpik are back, but the Penguins have gotten production from replacements like Martin Skoula, who scored twice in Saturday's win over Atlanta.

Team Scope:

Canadiens -- The Canadiens have gotten seven of eight points in their last four games despite an injury list that grows longer by the day. Defenseman Jaroslav Spacek joined the walking wounded on Tuesday, but Marc-Andre Bergeron scored twice in the win over the Blue Jackets.

The Canadiens are getting a lot of effort from kids like Ryan White, Tom Pyatt and J.T. Wyler, who made his NHL debut on Tuesday. Sergei Kostitsyn, who was recalled from AHL Hamilton for Tuesday's game, added an assist.

"When I look at some of the young guys, they bring energy, they're excited," Montreal coach Jacques Martin said. "Kids like Pyatt and White are our second unit on penalty killing and Sergei is a smart player who I felt made some contributions."

Penguins -- Pittsburgh's power play, largely missing in action in recent weeks, showed up at a good time in the Penguins' last game on Monday. Crosby scored with the extra man in OT to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 win at Florida in a game the Penguins trailed 2-0 after two periods.

It was the second time in two meetings with Florida that the Pens overcame a 2-0 deficit to win.

"It's not a recipe we draw up," coach Dan Bylsma said after the win. "You don't want to have to come from behind, but a lot of things we did tonight allowed us to have a strong third period."

Who's hot -- Bergeron stepped up on Tuesday with a pair of goals, including the game-winner. Goaltender Carey Price is 4-1-1 and playing some of the best hockey of his NHL career. … Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin is 2-5-7 in five games since returning from a shoulder injury. Crosby is 2-4-6 in that span and had the OT winner in Florida on Monday.

Injury report -- Montreal was without No. 1 center Scott Gomez and top-four defenseman Jaroslav Spacek on Tuesday; both were out with lower-body injuries. They joined longer-term absentees join Andrei Markov (foot),Hal Gill (foot),Brian Gionta (foot),Matt D'Agostini (concussion) and newly-acquiredBenoit Pouliot (wrist). Georges Laraque is also sitting out Game 2 of a five-game suspension. For Pittsburgh, forwards Tyler Kennedy (groin) and Chris Kunitz (lower body) along with defensemen Alex Goligoski (lower body), Jay McKee (finger) and Kris Letang (shoulder) are all out.

Stat pack -- Montreal is 10-4-0 against Eastern Conference teams, but just 2-7-1 against the West. … The Penguins are 4-7-0 when trailing after two periods -- the four wins are the most in the NHL when behind after 40 minutes. Pittsburgh is 7-0-0 this season when Crosby scores a goal

Puck drop -- Barring a meeting in the playoffs, this is the Canadiens' final trip to Mellon Arena, a place where they've enjoyed success over the years. The Habs are 45-31-13-2 in the former Civic Arena, which has housed the Penguins since they entered the NHL in 1967. The Pens' first game was a 2-1 home loss to Montreal on Oct. 11, 1967.

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