Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Game #39 - at Canadiens

Pittsburgh Penguins at Montreal Canadiens

Pittsburgh - 10-19-9 - 29 pts - Last in Atlantic
Montreal - 18-13-6 - 42 pts - Fourth in Northeast

Montreal is tied for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. This is a team the Penguins need to catch (currently, the Canadiens are tied with the Atlanta Thrashers). This is an important game to get two points, while keeping the other team from getting any. No overtime!! It will be a tough task.

Montreal has a good home record, 11-5-2, though they have struggled of late. The recent struggles would seem to be due to a plethora of road games (seven of eight games on the road). Their only home game during that stretch, they beat Ottawa.

The key to stopping the Canadiens lately has been keeping their power play to one goal or less. In each of their last three wins, their PP has contributed two goals. In all of the other games during that stretch, the Habs netted less than two on the man-advantage and lost. Overall, their power play is respectable, but not one of the best. It's certainly a challenge the Pens should be up to with how they've been playing recently.

Alexi Kovalev will be in the lineup tonight when the Habs play. He has 17 points in just 11 home games this year. Saku Koivu is the Canadien's best scorer, and he is no different at home (18 pts in 15 games).

For the Pens, they have to fight through any fatigue they might have after playing last night in Toronto. That shouldn't be as big of a deal with Therrien's focus on conditioning. Fleury will be in goal, I believe.

Let's go Pens!

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