Pittsburgh Consol Energy Center

With visions of their playoff loss to the Canadiens dancing in their heads, the Pittsburgh Penguins will take on Montreal at their brand new Consol Energy Centre tomorrow night. 

The Canadiens will be looking to repeat the checking blanket they put over Sydney Crosby in last year’s playoff round when he was held to one goal and two assists over the final five games of the seven game series. Crosby did not score a point in last night’s season opening 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. The game marked the official opening of the new Pittsburgh arena.

The Canadiens, losers 3-2 in Toronto last night, will have Michael Cammalleri back after serving his one game suspension but defenseman Roman Hamrlik remains sidelined with his wonky knee. Latest projected return date is the Wednesday home-opener against Tampa Bay. Andrei Markov is still three or four weeks away from his return to the lineup.

Outside of the Canadiens seven game playoff series win over the Penguins, Pittsburgh won three of four regular season meetings last year, outscoring Montreal 15-9.

Canadiens questions to be answered after the opening night loss to Toronto

—Will coach Jacques Martin run out of patience with Benoit Pouliot as part of the Gomez/Gionta line? After six shifts together in the first period against Toronto, the trio was together only four times the remainder of the game as Martin used Travis Moen and Mathieu Darche on left wing.

—With Michael Cammalleri making his return, where does Lars Eller fit in after an impressive debut? The answer is – back on the third line with Jeff Halpern and Maxim Lapierre. But for how long? In Toronto, Eller played all three forward positions, mostly on the left side with Plekanec and Kostitsyn, the Canadiens best line on the night. He also centred Pouliot and Kostitsyn during those three second period power plays and was a right winger with Dustin Boyd and Tom Pyatt once in the third period.

Carey Price. When will the questions stop being asked? Faced the Penguins once in last year’s playoffs, 14 minutes in a mopup role for Halak in 6-3 Game-One loss April 30th. (0 goals on 3 shots). During the regular season – December 10th he faced 41 shots in a 3-2 loss at the Bell Centre and was named the game’s second star. November 25th in Pittsburgh he was on the losing end of a 3-1 decision. Canadiens outshot 30-19. October 28th was in another mop-up role after Halak was taken out at the end of two periods in a 6-1 loss. Price gave up 2 goals on 14 third period shots. It was a game in which his teammates were basically no-shows.

Here are the projected lines for tomorrow’s game


LW                                   C                              RW

57-Benoit Pouliot         11-Scott Gomez       21-Brian Gionta

13-Michael Cammalleri 14-Tomas Plekanec 46-Andrei Kostitsyn

81-Lars Eller                 15-Jeff Halpern        40-Maxim Lapierre

32-Travis Moen             17-Dustin Boyd       94-Tom Pyatt

Defence                 Left                            Right

                          75-Hal Gill                26-Josh Gorges

                            6-Jaroslav Spacek  76-P.K. Subban

                          45-Alexandre Picard  20-Ryan O’Byrne

Goal                                31-Carey Price

                                        35-Alex Auld

Scratches –   57-Mathieu Darche; 44-Roman Hamrlik

Projected Pittsburgh Lines

14-Chris Kunitz 87-Sidney Crosby 9-Pascal Dupuis

56-Eric Tangradi 19-Mike Comrie 71-Evgeni Malkin

24-Matt Cooke 38-Mark Letestu 48-Tyler Kennedy

25-Max Talbot 27-Craig Adams 17-Mike Rupp


44-Brooks Orpik 4-Zbynek Michalek

7-Paul Martin 58-Kris Letang

3-Alex Goligoski 6-Ben Lovejoy

Goal 29-Marc-Andre’ Fleury

1-Brent Johnson