7:00 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Last Penguins Game:
March 24, 2013 - Pittsburgh 2, Philadelphia 1 [Recap]
Feels like I am pretty much saying the same thing every single time I come here and do the preview. I pretty much come on and tell everyone what game in the winning streak the Penguins are on and looking to get to and then tell everyone why the Penguins shouldn't take the team they are playing lightly. I don't do this to humor you more to the fact that any team really can beat any team even if you are playing Florida or Philadelphia (heh).
Tonight the Penguins are going to probably have their toughest test since they played the Bruins a few Sunday's ago. The Bruins and Canadiens are battling it out for first place in the Northeast Division which is the only Eastern Conference division that has more than one competent team in it. Right now the Habs lead it and are five points back from the Penguins for the top seed in the East with two games in hand. A win by the Penguins tongight would distance themselves from the Habs even more and put more pressure on the Bruins to keep winning.
After these two teams played in a wild 7-6 overtime victory for the Penguins the Canadiens played some really good hockey en route to winning six of their next seven games but things have hit a little rough patch. Over the last three games the Habs only have one win and they have lost the other two games to a pretty bad Buffalo Sabres team. Those two games really suck and put a hold on the roll that the Habs were on but other than that this is still a really good hockey team.
While the Habs don't have the offense of the Penguins they do they still have five players with at least nine goals and they have a pretty good defensive system allowing the fourth fewest goals and have a steady goaltender in Carey Price, who will be starting tonight.
The big news in Pittsburgh is going to be the first game for Brenden Morrow who was brought over earlier this week for former first round pick Joe Morrow and he will be playing on the second line with former teammate James Neal and Dustin Jeffrey until Evgeni Malkin comes back.
Some other interesting news came down today that Simon Despres is going to be sent down to make room for Kris Letang who is going to be coming off IR today and will most likely be in the lineup. Not sure who Letang will pair with so the probables are a little bit of a guess on my part. I think most people understand (at least from the look of my Twitter feed) why Despres was sent down as he is only one of two players on the roster that is waiver exempt (Beau Bennett being the other) and with the roster limit going away in about a week (when the trade deadline has passed) so he can just get some playing time with WBS until that time has passed.
Marc-Andre Fleury in goal and the Penguins are going to need him again tonight. I don't think I need to tell you how good he has been recently.
Pittsburgh (25-8-0) (via Penguins website)
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
Brenden Morrow - Dustin Jeffrey - James Neal
Beau Bennett - Brandon Sutter - Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Matt Niskanen - Mark Eaton
Kris Letang - Deryk Engelland
Montreal (20-6-5) (vis Penguins website)
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Brendan Gallagher
Michael Ryder – Tomas Plekanec – Brian Gionta
Alex Galchenyuk – Lars Eller – Colby Armstrong
Travis Moen – Jeff Halpern – Gabriel Dumont
Andrei Markov – Alexei Emelin
Josh Gorges – P.K. Subban
Jarred Tinordi – Francis Bouillon
The Season Series (Pittsburgh leads 1-0-0)
March 2, 2013 - Pittsburgh 7, Montreal 6 (OT)