Game #54

Pittsburgh vs. Canadiens

Bell Centre – Feb. 7/2012 – 7:35pm


Game Notes –

……Ryan White scored two goals in the first period of the first of a five-game rehabilitation stint with the Hamilton Bulldogs.    However, the Bulldogs were beaten by San Antonio 4-2 in a game played at 10.00am as part of a School Day promotion.  White is elibible to play a maximum of four more games with Hamilton before the Canadiens must either recall him or ask waivers in order to place him on the Hamilton roster.

……Marc-Andre Fleury and Carey Price will make their 46th appearance of the season in this game.  Only Ottawa’s Craig Anderson (50) and Carolina’s Cam Ward and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne (47) have been in more games.

….With a 5-3 win over the Islanders December 13th, the Canadiens were tied for seventh place in the East  with 33 points with a 13-11-7 record. Over the past eight weeks (all but the first two of those games under Randy Cunneyworth) they’ve only managed to add 16 to that total in 22 games (7-13-2).

….. Marc-Andre Fleury won nine starts in a row prior to Sunday’s loss at New Jersey.  In that game , he was pulled 2:28 into the second period after giving up his third goal on 12 shots. Fleury has played in all three games against the Canadiens this season.

…..The Canadiens have to pass five teams in the last 29 games to have any shot at a fifth consecutive postseason appearance. Three of those teams are no more than two points away.

…..The Penguins ended January on an eight-game winning streak, but have lost two of three games to begin February.   This is the final game of a four-game Pittsburgh road trip.  They have lost  two of three.  They lost 1-0 in Toronto last Wednesday; Saturday they beat the Bruins 2-1 but lost 5-2 in New Jersey Sunday.

…..Evgeny Malkin has 11 goals and 15 assists in 21 career regular-season meetings with Montreal.

…..Sydney Crosby has played one game against the Canadiens since Dec. 26, 2010.  He contributed one assist Nov. 26 in Pittsburgh’s 4-3 overtime win at the Bell Centre.  In January 2011 he was scheduled to play against Canadiens but, on the morning of the game, was sent back to Pittsburgh where his concussion was diagnosed.

……Fleury is 6-3-1 lifetime at the Bell Centre but his goals-against average is 3,36 in Montreal. e

……Erik Cole, who may be bothered by a wrist injury he suffered in the game against Detroit, has not recorded a single point in the four games since the All-Star break.  He has three goals and three assists in his last four games versus Pittsburgh.  As a member of the Canadiens, in the three games against Pittsburgh this season Cole leads both teams with four points (2g, 2ass).

…..The Penguins are 4 for 39 on the power play in their last 10 regular-season games against the Canadiens — all four coming in a 5-2 road win Jan. 12, 2011. The Canadiens kill a league-best 89.7 percent of opponents’ power plays.

…..The Penguins are 4-1 the last five games against the Canadiens.

……Seven members of the Penguins have suffered concussions this season. Currently out of the lineup with the injury are Sidney Crosby (45 games), Robert Bortuzzo (10G), Arron Asham (9G) and Nick Petersen (53G).  Earlier in the season Kris Letang (21G), Zbynek Michalek (10G) and Tyler Kennedy (13G).

……Kris Letang suffered a concussion when hit by Max Pacioretty Nov. 26.  He missed 21 games.   Pacioretty was suspended for three.

The Cold Hard Stats –

Season RecordsPittsburgh 53GP  (30-19-4) 64pts.  3rd in Atlantic Division.   Canadiens 53GP  (20-24-9) 49pts.  5th in Northeast Division.

Last Ten Games –  Pittsburgh 8-2-0    Canadiens  4-4-2

Home/Road  – Pittsburgh on the Road (15-12-2)  Canadiens at Home (10-11-7)

Special Teams – Power Play – Pittsburgh ranked 7th  19.2%  (38/198)     Canadiens – 29th in the league – 12.4% (25/200)   Penalty Killing – Pittsburgh ranked third – 87.6% (22/178).  Canadiens ranked first – 80.7% (21/104)

Goaltending – Pittsburgh – Marc-Andre Fleury – 45GP (28-13-2)  2.30GAA   .912save%.  Two shutouts.    Canadiens – Carey Price – 45GP – (18-19-8) 2.38GAA  .915save%.  3 shutouts.

Season series –This is the fourth and final meeting.  Penguins have won all three.  Oct. 20 @ Pittsburgh  Penguins-3 Canadiens-1. Neal, Asham and Vitale scored for Pittsbugh.  Gionta for the Canadiens. Hal Gill plays in his 1,000th NHL game.  Nov.26 @Bell Centre – Pittsburgh-4  Canadiens-3. (overtime).  Canadiens blew a 3-1 lead.  Malkin, Dupuis, Staal and Letang in overtime for the Penguins.  Moen, Pacioretty and Cole for the Canadiens.  Canadiens outshot 42-27.  Letang hurt by Pacioretty with 3:14 left in regulation and came back to score the controversial overtime winner.  Price thought he had the puck covered.  The referee failed to blow the whistle and Letang poked the puck into the net.  Jan. 20 @ Pittsburgh  Pittsburgh-4 Canadiens-3 (shootout). Penguins come back from two=goal deficit.  Malkin tied the game with 2:43 left in regulation time and scored the only goal of the shootout. Dustin Jeffrey scored twice for Pittsburgh along with Kris Letang.  Eller, Cole, Kostitsyn and Pacioretty for the Canadiens.

Last Time Out – Canadiens beat Winnipeg 3-0 Sunday.  Pittsburgh lost 5-2 at New Jersey Sunday.

Who’s Hot – Canadiens – Max Pacioretty has 7 goals and 3 assists and a plus-3 rating over the last 10 games. … Pittsburgh  -Evgeni Malkin has scored in each of last two games now has 29 for the season. He leads the NHL with 61 points.

The Missing –  Pittsburgh – RW Arron Asham (concussion); D-Robert Bortuzzo (IR-concussion); C-Sidney Crosby (IR-concussion/soft tissue damage to neck); D-Simon Despres (IR-lower body); RW-Tyler Kennedy (ankle); RW-Nick Petersen (IR-concussion); C-Jordan Staal (IR-MCL sprain).   Canadiens –  LW-Travis Moen (probable starter -upper body); C-Petteri Nokelainen (IR-upper body);  D-Andrei  Markov (IR-arthroscopic surgery); RW-Brian Gionta (IR-right bicep surgery); RW-Michael  Blunden (lower body)

Quotable – Penguins coach Dan Bylsma on rumours the Penguins are interested in re-acquiring Hal Gill at the trade deadline

“Hal Gill was a big part of our team both in the dressing room and on the ice.  All those players that you’ve been with you’ve got an affinity for. Hal was a big part of that. Rob Scuderi, Sergei Gonchar. Those are guys you’ve won with. … Hal’s a good player, but that’s a hypothetical.”

The Penguins Alignment

 14-Chris Kunitz    –   71-Evgeni Malkin      –  18-James Neal
24-Matt Cooke       –   15-Dustin Jeffrey      –    9-Pascal Dupuis
26-Steve Sullivan  –   16-Cal O’Reilly            – 48-Tyler Kennedy
27-Craig Adams    –   46-Joe Vitale             –    12-Richard Park

Defence –

  • 44-Brooks Orpik   –    58-Kris Letang
  •    7-Paul Martin      –      4-Zbynek Michalek
  •    2-Matt Niskanen  –     5-Deryk Engelland

Goal –          29-Marc-Andre Fleury  (1-Brent Johnson)