Season Record – Canadiens 5 GP (1-3-1) 3pts – 4th in Northeast Division Pittsburgh– 8GP (4-2-2) 10 pts. – 1st in Atlantic Division.
Last Time Out – Canadiens beaten 3-1 by Buffalo Tuesday at the Bell Centre. Third loss in a row. Pittsburgh defeated the Wild 4-2 Tuesday at Minnesota. Pascal Dupuis with a shorthanded goal and assist. Matt Cooke- 2 assists. The Penguins had been winless their previous three games. One of the losses was at Winnipeg, 2-1, the first win for the new Jets.
Last Five Games – Canadiens 1-3-1. Penguins 2-2-1
Last Season – The Canadiens won won three of the four meetings, one of the victories in a shootout. Last meeting March 12, 2011 @ Pittsburgh Canadiens-3 Penguins-0. Carey Price stopped 26 shots for the shutout. Goalscorers-Plekanec (26 seconds into the game), Moen, Cammalleri (plus an assist)
Goaltending – Canadiens – Carey Price 5GP (1-3-1) 2.78GAA .885 save%. Pittsburgh – Marc-Andre Fleury – 5GP (3-2-0) 2.58GAA .914 save%.
Who’s Hot – Canadiens – Max Pacioretty 5GP 2goals 3assists 27 shots on goal. Pittsburgh- James Neal 8GP – 6 goals 1 assist
Special Teams – Power Play. Canadiens ranked 24th in NHL (2/21) 9.5%. Pittsburgh ranked 9th (7/32) 22.2%. Penalty Killing – Canadiens ranked 23rd (4/20) 80%. Pittsburgh ranked first (1/27) 96.3%.
Absentees – Canadiens LW Michael Cammalleri (lacerated left leg); D Chris Campoli (IR-hamstring); D-Andrei Markov (IE-knee inflammation); D-Brendon Nash (IR-shoulder surgery); D-Jaroslav Spacek (rib injury); RW Ryan White (IR-sports hernia surgery) Pittsburgh – D Robert Bortuzzo (IR-knee); C-Sidney Crosby (IR-post concussion syndrome); C-Dustin Jeffey (IR-knee surgery); RW-Nick Peterson (IR-knee); D-Boris Valabik (IR-knee); C-Evgeni Malkin (questionable-knee); RW-Tyler Kennedy (doubtful-concussion symptoms); D-Brian Strait (questionable=upper body); D-Kris Letang (suspension); D-Brooks Orpik (questionable-hernia surgery)
…….Gill came to the Canadiens from Pittsburgh as an unrestricted free agent. In his one-plus seasons in Pittsburgh he played in back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals He came in an unheralded trade at the 2008 deadline (from Toronto for a 2nd and 5th round draft pick) and became part of a shutdown pairing with Rob Scuderi. In his only full season in Pittsburgh the Penguins won the Cup.
…..Carey Price will try for the fourth time to nail down his 100th career regular season victory.
……Penguins forward Chris Neal scored one goal in 20 regular-season games and one more in seven postseason contests for the Penguins last season after arriving in a trade for defenseman Alex Goligoski, but entering Thursday’s games he is tied for the NHL lead with six.
….This will be the Penguins 9th game in 15 nights to start the season, most of any NHL team. They have played in four different time zones with five of the games on the road. They enter the game without seven key players including center Sidney Crosby, center Evgeni Malkin, right wing Tyler Kennedy, defenseman Brooks Orpik and center Dustin Jeffrey.
…. Kris Letang will serve the second game of a two game suspension handed out by the NHL for boarding Winnipeg forward Alex Burmistrov Saturday. He will be eligible to play again when the Penguins play New Jersey Saturday..
…..The Penguins have now played 39 of their last 43 games without both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The team is 21-13-5 in those games.
… The game will mark the 214th consecutive sellout for the Penguins. Their season ticket waiting list reportedly numbers 9,000.