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Stop the Skid, Game #16: Penguins Lines & What to Watch vs. Canadiens

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Pittsburgh Penguins game, Montreal Canadiens

The road has been rough for the Pittsburgh Penguins (5-6-4). In mid-November, the Penguins have lost three in a row and won just two of their last 10 and three of their last 13. The team hopes to build on their third period explosion on Tuesday night against another bottom feeder, the Montreal Canadiens (4-12-2).

The Penguins lost on Tuesday, but their third period rally has given the team some hope.

“I think that our mindset needs to be continuing to focus on the details, the urgency, and then believing in what we’re doing,” acting head coach Todd Reirden said. “That’s something we can take from that period.”

Reirden will coach the Penguins again Thursday night. Head coach Mike Sullivan hasn’t been clear of his COVID positive test for 14 days yet. He coached Tuesday night because the protocol is only 10 days in the U.S.

Montreal is not having a fun year. Shea Weber could not return from ankle surgeries and is on LTIR for the final four years of his 14-year-contract. Carey Price took the courageous step to seek treatment for substance abuse but hasn’t played.

Jonathan Drouin has been tossed under the bus by struggling head coach Dominique Ducharme, and the Canadiens fans are getting restless.

Tristan Jarry will start for the Penguins. Cayden Primeau will go for the Canadiens.

What to Watch:

Can the Pittsburgh Penguins return to a team capable of scoring goals and winning games? They won’t get a better chance to end their losing streak.

The Penguins have lots of shots, but few goals. They aren’t breaking into the net-front area to get the second and third whacks. However, they began to get chances near the Buffalo net. They’ll need more of that, though it won’t be easy against the defensive system of the Montreal Canadiens.

It will be a good test of the Penguins willingness to fight for the dirty space.

Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lines

LWCRW
Jake GuentzelSidney CrosbyEvan Rodrigues
Jason Zucker Jeff CarterDanton Heinen
Brock McGrinnTeddy BluegerKasperi Kapanen
Zach Aston-ReeseDrew O'ConnorDominik Simon
LDRD
Brian DumoulinKris Letang
Marcus PetterssonJohn Marino
Mike Matheson Chad Ruhwedel
Goalie
Tristan Jarry
Casey DeSmith

Expected Montreal Canadiens Lines per PuckPedia.com:

Toffoli-Suzuki-Gallagher

Drouin-Dvorak-Anderson

Lehkonen-Evans-Armia

Pezzetta-Poehling-Belzile

Defense:

Chiarot-Petry

Norlinder-Savard

Romanov-Kulik

Goalie:

Primeau

TEAMPower PlayPenalty Kill
Pittsburgh Penguins13.6% (9-66) 26th NHL91.4% (5-58) 1st NHL
Vancouver Canucks18.1% (15-83) 16th NHL64.5% (27-76) 32nd NHL

Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes:

*The Penguins have points in nine of its last 11 games against Montreal (8-2-1). Going back further, the Penguins are 10-3-1 in their last 14 games versus them.

*In their last 11 games against Montreal, the Penguins have scored four or more goals seven times (2020 playoffs excluded).

*Jake Guentzel has nine points (5G-4A) in eight career games versus Montreal, including five points (3G-2A) in his last two games.

*Despite the lack of goals, the Penguins are averaging 35.3 shots per game, the second-highest total in the NHL (Boston, 35.4).

*Jason Zucker has had consistent success throughout his career against Montreal. In 12 career games, he has nine goals and 12 points.

How to Watch:

TV: AT&T SportsNet; Radio: 105.9 The X

Subscribe to PHN+

Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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