The Pittsburgh Penguins have an opportunity tonight to extend their winning streak to 5 games against a Montreal Team that is fading fast. The Penguins can ill afford to take any teams lightly right now as they try to climb their way back to the top of the Atlantic Division.
The Pens enter tonight with a tie for 5th in the conference but only 3 points out of 4th place and only 8 points out of first. The Penguins have been getting some production in the last couple of games from guys who were slumping including Chris Kunitz and Richard Park. If they want to continue their streak, they will need to start getting even more contributions from players like this.
Malkin and Neal have carried this team on the offensive side of the ice for a better part of the last 3 weeks or so. The defensive end of the ice has been held in check from guys like Brooks Orpik who has been as good defensively while in the lineup as anyone in the Eastern Conference. You could even make a case that he has been worthy of TEAM MVP thus far. Tough to get around Malkin, but on the defensive side of the ice, their has not been many better.
As for the Montreal Canadiens, they come in 4-9 and 1 since Cunneyworth took over has interim head coach. The Habs are also struggling with injuries to players like Brian Gionta, who has been a real Penguin killer over his time in the NHL. Andrei Markov has been out for most of the season and Ryan White also has been out for most of the season. While on the ice, the Habs Desharnais and Plekanec are both having good seasons dishing the puck, and the 2 players that are getting the bulk of the scoring chances are Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty. As you recall, it was Pacioretty that hit Kris Letang and knocked him out of the lineup for several weeks with a concussion. I am sure the Pens have not forgot about that.
It’s a Hockey Night In Pittsburgh, and the Puck will drop tonight at 7:00pm.
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