TORONTO — The Pittsburgh Penguins have a chance to earn a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five-game Qualifying Round series against the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night. Montreal goalie Carey Price has been nearly unbeatable in the first two games and been decided in overtime and late in the third period. The puck drops just after 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Scotiabank Arena.
The Penguins have fired 79 shots combined in the first two games but scored only four goals when Price was in the net.
Montreal head coach Claude Julien hinted at a lineup change or line changes for Game 3 but declined to elaborate. Head coach Mike Sullivan has not made any changes in the series, though the lines were juggled for several minutes of the third period of Game 2.
During the third period, Penguins wingers Patric Hornqvist and Bryan Rust had shifts on the Penguins top line with Sidney Crosby. Hornqvist appeared to have a couple of shifts with Crosby in place of Conor Sheary.
In the first two games, Price has a 1.82 GAA and a .949 save percentage. Penguins goalie Matt Murray has kept pace with a .937 save percentage and 1.79 GAA.
Montreal will be the home team in Game 3, and get the last lineup change. In NHL history, the team which wins Game 3 after splitting the first two games are 21-7 (.750).
The Pittsburgh Penguins Lines
Guentzel — Crosby — Sheary
Zucker — Malkin — Rust
Marleau — McCann — Hornqvist
Aston-Reese — Blueger — Tanev
Dumoulin – Letang
Pettersson – Marino
Johnson – Schultz
Montreal Canadiens Lines
Tatar — Danault — Gallagher
Drouin — Suzuki — Armia
Byron — Kotkaniemi — Lehkkonen
Weal — Domi — Weise
Chiarot – Weber
Kulak – Weber
Oullett – Mete
Carey Price became the first Montreal Canadiens goaltender to register 35+ saves in consecutive playoff appearances since Jaroslav Halak against the Washington Capitals in the first round of the 2010 NHL Playoffs.
The Penguisn are 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, including the playoffs, against Montreal.
Sidney Crosby has scored the first goal in each of the first two games.
The Penguins power play is only 1-for-12, but Montreal is 0-for-5.
Three of Jason Zucker’s five career playoff goals have been scored in OT or the third period.
How to Watch:
AT&T SportsNet, NBCSN; Radio: 105.9 The X.