7:00 p.m., Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
The Last Penguins Game:
February 28, 2013 - Hurricanes 4, Penguins 1 [Recap]
Couple of brutal games by the Penguins leave them with a pair of losses to start out this three game road swing and they will try not to get swept as they travel to Canada tonight to take on the Canadiens. Just looking at the records the Penguins and Habs are really in the same sort of place. The Habs have three more points than the Penguins but that really is via the fact that they have three of their losses that came in overtime even though they have the same number of overall wins.
I guess you can say this is a big game but I am not even really sure what that means and if that is even true. Sure, you don't want to get swept on a road swing of multiple games but a loss isn't the end of the season but then again you honestly don't want to get in a slump. I am sure some are probably going to be calling this game a "must win" but it is not and that is one of my biggest pet peeves in sports so if you see someone saying that make sure you don't tell me about it.
Some interesting news on the Penguins side is that it looks like Paul Martin will be a game time decision with a lower body injury. I haven't been following much on the Penguins off day so I am not sure how serious this is but evidently Martin wasn't at the teams morning skate but he was doing some work outside the locker room. It will be interesting to see if he can give it a go.
If Martin isn't able to go it seems as if Mark Eaton is going to get the chance to get his feet wet. Eaton is back with the Penguins after playing the last two seasons with the Islanders after playing four years with the Penguins which included the Stanley Cup season in 2009. Eaton is 35 and I don't think he will make any huge splashes but I am sure he will bring a little bit of stability to the backend where the Penguins have been kind of scattered the last few games. It is unclear if Simon Despres or Robert Bortuzzo will be in the lineup but for my money I hope it is Despres.
After a pretty horrible season last year the Habs are back to playing some good hockey. They are coached by former Penguins keeper Michel Therrien. Therrien has a different style that makes him not a player favorite in the locker room and leads to a shorter coaching lifespan for each team but it works in the short term and seems to be doing so for him in Montreal.
Pretty interesting to see Tomas Vokoun in the net. He has been bad (OK, really bad) in his last two starts while Marc-Andre Fleury has been pretty good despite a loss against Carolina. I know Dan Bylsma likes to get goaltenders into the game right after they have a tough game so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that Vokoun is in there but hopefully he is able to forget about his last two appearances and get back to the way he was playing for most of the season.
Pittsburgh (13-8-0) (via Penguins website)
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Brandon Sutter - James Neal
Beau Bennett - Dustin Jeffrey - Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Mark Eaton - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Deryk Engelland - Simon Despres
Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais- Brendan Gallagher
Brandon Prust - Tomas Plekanec - Brian Gionta
Alex Galchenyuk - Lars Eller - Michael Ryder
Travis Moen - Ryan White - Colby Armstrong
Andrei Markov - Alexei Emelin
Francis Bouillon - Josh Gorges
Tomas Kaberle - P.K. Subban
The Last Time They Met:
February 7, 2012 - Montreal 3, Pittsburgh 2 (SO)