Game 69: Canadiens Vs. Penguins Preview
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will be back in action Saturday afternoon when they host the Montreal Canadiens.
The Penguins have had a couple of days to rest and recover after a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.
The win gave the Penguins a regular season sweep over the Sabres and also marked the first time the team had won a game in regulation since Feb. 4.
James Neal and Zbynek Michalek recorded their first goals as members of the Penguins to help fuel the victory.
Today’s game will the fourth and final regular season meeting between the Penguins and Canadiens.
Pittsburgh is 1-1-1 in the previous three games, but won the most recent meeting 5-2 on Jan. 12.
The Canadiens will be without an emerging young star after a questionable hit that has been the talk of the league this week.
Max Pacioretty suffered a major concussion and a broken vertebra after being checked into the turnbuckle between the benches by Boston Bruins’ defenseman Zdeno Chara.
Pacioretty chipped the puck off the boards around Chara and attempted to skate around him to track it down. As he made his move, Chara initiated contact which led to Pacioretty crashing into the turnbuckle headfirst.
Pacioretty lay motionless on the ice for several minutes before being carted off on a stretcher.
Chara was given a five-minute major for interference and was ejected from the game. However, Chara did not receive any supplemental discipline from the NHL.
Pacioretty had 14 goals and 10 assists in only 37 games with the Canadiens this season.
As for today’s lineup, Pittsburgh will have to keep a close eye on Montreal Tomas Plekanec.
He leads the Canadiens with 52 points (20 goals, 32 assists). The Penguins will also need to mark Brian Gionta, who leads the team with 24 goals.
In goal, Carey Price (32-22-6, 2.33 GAA, .923 save percentage, seven shutouts) has been red hot lately, having won four of his last five starts. However, his four-game winning streak was snapped by the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.
In that game, he allowed three goals on 26 shots during the 4-1 loss. It was the first time in seven starts that Price had allowed more than two goals in a game.
Against Pittsburgh, Price is 6-5 with a 2.88 GAA and .911 save percentage.
The Penguins will celebrate the 200th straight sellout, including playoffs, today. The streak began back on Feb. 14, 2007, during a 5-4 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
In addition to the goal he scored against Buffalo, Neal added an assist on Michalek’s goal. The points were the first he’s scored since being acquired from Dallas.
Jordan Staal had three points (one goal, two assists) in the 5-2 victory over the Canadiens on Jan. 12. In 18 career games against Montreal, Staal has two goals and seven assists.
Dan Bylsma hasn’t yet announced who his starting goaltender will be for today’s game because they will be back in action for another matinee on Sunday.
Marc-Andre Fleury (30-16-5, 2.33 GAA, .919 save percentage) is 10-7-1 against Montreal with a 3.37 GAA and .887 save percentage in his career.
Brent Johnson (9-5-3, 2.23 GAA, .918 save percentage) is 0-4 with a 3.40 GAA and .886 save percentage against Montreal.
The puck is set to drop at 2 p.m. and you can watch the game on FSN Pittsburgh.