The Penguins have opened a new home at CONSOL Energy Center, but the ghost of the Civic Arena will haunt the ice Saturday night when Pittsburgh battles the Montreal Canadiens at 7 p.m.
It was less than five months ago the last time the Penguins and Habs played, in what turned out to be the final game ever at the Civic Arena. Pittsburgh suffered a 5-2 loss in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, ending the Penguins’ season and the 47-year history of their old arena.
“You can’t change what happened now, but there won’t be any shortage of motivation,” captain Sidney Crosby
said. “It’s a new season, and I think we’ve all had our closure. But there should be a little extra incentive playing them for the first time.”
“I have vivid memories from the Habs and from the disappointment of not achieving what we thought we could,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “This game will have a little bit of that even though we know it’s a whole year removed and we’re on to the next season.
“They’ll still be wearing their red-blue jerseys, and it will have that feel that they beat us out of the playoffs last year. “
The Penguins know that they cannot change the past, and a win against the Canadiens on Saturday is no consolation.
However, since the Penguins lost their last game in the old arena to Montreal, it may be fitting that they defeat the Canadiens for their first win in the new arena.
“I try not to make it a bigger deal than it is,” said Sorel, Quebec native Marc-Andre Fleury
. “Last year was tough for sure, but it’s a new season. It’s good to be out there, and it’d be great to get a win in the (new) building.”
“We definitely want to have a good showing, especially because Game 7 was on our home ice and didn’t go the way we wanted it,” defenseman Brooks Orpik
said. “It was kind of embarrassing too. It wasn’t even a competitive game. It’s something guys are looking forward to tomorrow night.”