CANADIENS (6-5-0) at PENGUINS (9-2-0)
Last 10 -- Canadiens 5-5-0; Penguins 8-2-0
Season series -- It's the first meeting of the season for the two teams, who split the four-game series in 2008-09. In fact, each team has won six times in the last 12 meetings. Both of Pittsburgh's wins last season came after Dan Bylsma took over as coach in mid-February.
Big story -- The Canadiens have won four in a row to get back over .500 after a 2-5-0 start, but their four wins all came at home. They're going for their first five-game winning streak since last October. The Penguins are coming off a rare loss that followed a seven-game winning streak. Pittsburgh is playing the finale of a five-game homestand.
Canadiens -- Most teams want a clearly defined No. 1 and No. 2 goaltender. But in Montreal, Jaroslav Halak is making it tough for coach Jacques Martin to keep him from supplanting starter Carey Price. Halak got the call after Price went 2-4-0 in his first six starts and went 4-0 as the Canadiens won the last four games of a six-game homestand. Halak is likely to get the call against the Penguins -- a team he's never faced -- even though Price is 4-2-0 lifetime against the defending Stanley Cup champs.
Penguins -- The Penguins are coming off a three-day break. The way they played in their last game, a 4-1 home loss to New Jersey on Saturday, they looked like a team that needed a couple of days off. The Pens had nothing in the tank after a stirring 3-2 shootout win over Florida on Friday -- a game in which Sidney Crosby scored twice in the third period and once in the shootout after Florida led 2-0 through 40 minutes.
"It's one of those nights you don't ever want to happen," forward Bill Guerin said. "There's another game in a couple of days. We'll get back on the horse."
Who's hot -- Halak has allowed just eight goals in winning four in a row, while Mike Cammalleri has four goals in his last three games for the Canadiens. … Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is 8-1-0, and Evgeny Malkin has six points in his last four games. Malkin has scored goals in each of his last three appearances against the Canadiens.
Injury report -- Montreal is still without defensemen Andrei Markov (ankle) and Ryan O'Byrne (lower body), both of whom have been gone since the first few days of the season. Pittsburgh defenseman Sergei Gonchar won't be back until late next month after breaking his wrist last week.
Stat pack -- Owing to their dominance of the Pens in the '70s and '80s, the Canadiens own a 110-45-23-2 record against Pittsburgh. It's the Penguins' worst record against any opponent. … Crosby and Malkin each have 7 career goals against Montreal.
Puck drop -- This figures to be a good test for Halak, who lost his only road start this season. The Penguins got the break they appeared to need and will want to put on a show for the home folks before heading out on the road.