Connect with us


Now or Never, Penguins Game 54 vs. Canadiens: Lines, Notes, & How to Watch



Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens

It might be a contest of which team can muster more desperation Thursday when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Montreal Canadiens.

If the Penguins (24-21-8) are in a bad way trying to climb into a playoff spot, then the Canadiens (22-25-8) are hanging on by a fingernail at best.

The Penguins are coming off a 5-4 overtime loss Tuesday against the New York Islanders. Montreal is coming off a 3-2 loss Wednesday against Buffalo.

Game Time

The game starts a little after 7 p.m.

Penguins Preview

During what was supposed to be a push for a wildcard spot, the Penguins have stumbled to a 1-4-1 record in their past six games, 4-6-4 in their past 14.

In the Penguins locker room, they are talking about continuing to believe, about the way they came back Tuesday to erase a two-goal, third-period deficit before falling in overtime 5-4 against the New York Islanders.

In the Penguins front office, they are talking about what to do with the March 8 NHL trade deadline approaching.

President of hockey operations and general manager Kyle Dubas, during a press conference Wednesday, seemed to walk the line between wanting to make moves to infuse some youth into the lineup, and wanting to express continued confidence in the core four of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Erik Karlsson.

The Penguins are four points ahead of Montreal with three games in hand, which would seem to make this game one that the Penguins should have no business losing.

It looks as if the Penguins will be getting one player back Thursday. Fourth-line center Noel Acciari seems likely to return from a concussion.

Read more:

Kingerski: Dubas Presser: Guentzel’s Future, Shakeup Trade, and the Rebuild Plans

Molinari: Do Lots of No-Trade Clauses = Few Trades Coming for Penguins?

Montreal has lost three straight games and five of six.

The Canadiens can perhaps feel some of the pain the Penguins have felt recently; Buffalo’s winning goal Wednesday was a shorthanded tally after the Canadiens blew two one-goal leads.

Penguins Expected Lines

Rickard Rakell-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust

Drew O’Connor-Evgeni Malkin-Matthew Phillips

Reilly Smith-Lars Eller-Valtteri Puustinen

Jansen Harkins-Noel Acciari-Jeff Carter


P.O Joseph-Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson

Ryan Graves-Chad Ruhwedel


Tristan Jarry

Alex Nedejkovic

Expected Canadiens Lines

Cole Caufield-Nick Suzuki-Juraj Slafkovsky

Joshua Roy-Alex Newhook-Josh Anderson

Joel Armia-Jake Evans-Brendan Gallagher

Tanner Pearson-Brandon Gignac-Jesse Ylonen


Mike Matheson-Kaiden Guhle

Jayden Struble-Jordan Harris

Arber Xjekaj-David Savard


Sam Montembeault

Jake Allen

Penguins Special Teams

Penguins power play: 13.5%, 30th

Penguins penalty kill: 82.1%, 8th

Canadiens power play: 20.1%, 18th

Canadiens penalty kill: 74.0%, 31st

Penguins Game Notes

The Penguins have won both meetings against Montreal this season, 4-3 in a shootout Dec. 13, and 3-2 in overtime Jan. 27.

The Penguins are 0-1-1 on a four-game homestand.

Sidney Crosby has 63 points (23 goals, 40 assists) in 48 career games against the Canadiens. That is good for 1.31 points a game, third-best among active players.

Evgeni Malkin has 60 points (21 goals, 39 assists) in 48 career games against the Canadiens.

Erik Karlsson has 38 points (10 goals, 28 assists) in 48 career games against Montreal.

Tristan Jarry is 5-1-1 with a 2.71 goals-against average and a .905 save percentage and one shutout in eight career games against Montreal.

How to Watch

TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh

Radio 105.9 FM The X

Also visit sister site Montreal Hockey Now