MONTREAL — The Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0-0) are not easing into the 2022-23 NHL regular season. The Penguins have blazed opponents for 12 goals in two games, allowed just four, and made a laugher against the three-time Stanley Cup finalist Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. The Penguins face the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Monday.
The puck drops just after 7 p.m.
The game will be a homecoming for three Penguins. Jeff Petry played eight seasons in Montreal and was their top defenseman for much of the time. Ryan Poehling has been the Penguins’ fourth-line center in Teddy Blueger’s absence. He was the Canadiens’ first-round pick in 2017 and spent his career with Montreal until the Penguins acquired him and Petry this summer for Mike Matheson.
And defenseman P.O Joseph is a Montreal native who will have a plethora of friends and family at the game.
What to watch?
First, watch Joseph. He had a step-forward-type game on Saturday. He admitted to PHN that he trusted his instincts more and was glad he did. Playing in Montreal can be daunting for young Quebec natives. He wouldn’t be the first to put too much pressure on himself.
“I’ m sure there will be a lot of emotions going through his body in the hours leading up to the game,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “But once the puck drops, it’s about details and getting into the game.”
Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are at full speed. Malkin took the morning skate Monday and didn’t coast.
Montreal made Juraj Slafkovsky the top overall pick, but he has struggled in the preseason and the first few games. There is some talk he will be sent to the AHL to learn the North American pro game.
Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield have been the beginning and end of the Montreal Canadiens‘ offense. Each has three points. No other Canadiens player has more than one.
The Penguins are the much better team, but sloppiness or special teams breakdowns could keep Montreal in the game long enough that the kids get ideas of beating Sidney Crosby.
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Rickard Rakell|
|Danton Heinen||Ryan Poehling||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Brock McGinn||Sam Poulin||Drew O'Connor|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Marcus Pettersson||Jeff Petry|
|P.O Joseph||Jan Rutta|
Montreal Canadiens Lines, per Montreal Hockey Now:
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||24.1% (7-29, 11th)||72% (7-25, 28th)|
|Vancouver Canucks||22.2% (6-27, 17th)||60% (10-25, 32nd)|
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
*The Penguins’ overall record in the 2021-22 season versus the Canadiens was (2-1-0), outscoring them 14-8
*Sidney Crosby led the team last year against Montreal with six points (2G-4A) in three games. Additionally, he has points (4G-14A) in the last nine out of ten games against Montreal.
*The Penguins have points in 11 of its last 14 games against Montreal (10-3-1).
*Defenseman Marcus Pettersson’s 10 hits on Saturday against Tampa Bay were a career-high and doubled his previous career-best of five, which he set on six occasions.
*Evgeni Malkin has 53 points (17G-36A) in 43 career games against the Canadiens and is plus-14 in his career against the Canadiens, which is his second-highest plus/ minus against any team in the league.
How to Watch:
TV: AT&T SportsNet, Sportsnet, RDS
Radio: 105.9 The X