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Penguins Game 46 vs. Canadiens: Lines, Notes & How to Watch



Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens

Whatever emotions the Pittsburgh Penguins will take into their nine-day break will be shaped by what happens Saturday when the Montreal Canadiens visit.

The Penguins (21-17-7) are in desperate need of points in their pursuit of a playoff spot. They picked up one point Friday in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers.

The Canadiens (20-21-7) can catch the Penguins in points with a regulation win, although the Penguins have three games in hand.

Game Time

The game starts a little after 7 p.m.

Penguins Preview

With their bye week and All-Star Game weekend coming up after this game, the Penguins have lost three straight (0-2-1) and are 1-2-3 in their past six games.

It’s unknown what sort of carryover there will be from Friday’s win. There’s the upside of getting a goal from Evgeni Malkin in the final minute to salvage a point. There’s the failure to get the extra point by losing in a shootout. There’s the way the Penguins stood up for themselves in a physical game.

And there’s the power play, which went 1 for 8 against Florida. The Penguins coaches pulled Malkin and Erik Karlsson off the top unit late in the game, replaced by Valtteri Puustinen and Kris Letang.

Coach Mike Sullivan said the coaches would convene and decide how they will move forward with the power play, so it’s not known what the personnel assignments will be against Montreal. The Penguins did not hold a morning skate.

Penguins rookie defenseman John Ludvig is eligible to come off LTIR on Saturday, but it seems unlikely he will play since he has not had a full practice with contact.

After Alex Nedeljkovic played Friday, it would be expected that Tristan Jarry will be in net Saturday.

Read more:

Molinari: Penguins Six-Pack: Change for the Better; Nedeljkovic Pulls a Surprise

Kingerski: Penguins Grades: Malkin, Craziness & Would Someone Fix the Power Play?

The Canadiens have the advantage of not playing on back-to-back nights.

They will have the disadvantage of being without forward Brendan Gallagher, who was given a five-game suspension on by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for a hit to the head of Adam Pelech during Thursday’s 4-3 win against the New York Islanders.

That was an emotional game for Montreal, with the return of Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy, now the new Islanders coach, to Montreal, and with the way the game played out – the Canadiens took a three-goal lead, gave it up, then got the win when Sean Monahan scored with 2:12 left in regulation.

That win also ended a three-game losing streak for the Canadiens, who not only can match the Penguins in points with a win, but also can get back to .500.

Montreal has announced it will go with Jake Allen as its starting goalie.

Expected Penguins Lines

Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust

Drew O’Connor-Evgeni Malkin-Colin White

Rickard Rakell-Lars Eller-Valtteri Puustinen

Jansen Harkins-Noel Acciari-Jeff Carter


Marcus Pettersson-Kris Letang

Ryan Graves-Erik Karlsson

P.O Joseph-Chad Ruhwedel


Tristan Jarry

Alex Nedeljkovic

Expected Canadiens Lines

Cole Caufield-Nick Suzuki-Josh Anderson

Juraj Stafkovsky-Sean Monahan-Joe Armia

Rafael Harvey-Pinard/Jake Evans-Jesse Ylonen

Tanner Pearson-Lucas Condotta-Michael Pezzetta


Mike Matheson-David Savard

Jayden Struble-Kaiden Guhie

Arber Xhekaj-Jonathan Kovacevic


Jake Allen

Sam Montembeault

Penguins Special Teams

Penguins power play: 13.3%, 31st

Penguins penalty kill: 81.8%, 11th

Canadiens power play: 19.4%, 20th

Canadiens penalty kill: 73.2%, 28th

Penguins Game Notes

In the teams’ only previous meeting, the Penguins beat the Canadiens 4-3 in a 12-round shootout on Dec. 13 in Montreal, with winger Jansen Harkins netting the shootout winner.

Center Lars Eller will be playing in his 1,000th career game. He will be the first Danish-born player to reach that plateau in the NHL.

Winger Jake Guentzel has 16 points (9 goals, 7 assists) in 14 career games against Montreal.

Defenseman Erik Karlsson has 38 points (10 goals, 28 assists) in 47 career games against Montreal.

Goalie Tristan Jarry is 4-1-1 with a 2.84 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage with one shutout in seven career games against the Canadiens.

With a point, center Evgeni Malkin would have a five-game point streak, a season high.

How to Watch

TV: SportsNet Pittsburgh

Radio: 105.9 FM The X

Also visit sister site Montreal Hockey Now