The Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins get set to face off in a matchup of 2005 first round picks and Team Canada teammates Sidney Crosby and Carey Price. The Canadiens have gone 4-3-1 in January and look to rebound off of what could be their three worst games of the season. Losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils and a stolen two points against the Ottawa Senators.
THE GAME: Montreal Canadiens (27-17-5, 59 points) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (34-13-2, 70 points)
THE TIME: Wednesday, January 22 7:00 p.m.
TV: RDS, TSN, ROOT
LIVE STREAM: NHL Game Center
THINGS TO WATCH
1. LINEUP CHANGES: Louis Leblanc returns to the Canadiens lineup and looks set to take a role on the fourth line with George Parros sitting out. Nathan Beaulieu also looks to stay in the lineup. Raphael Diaz is expected to replace Francis Bouillon in the lineup.
UPDATE: It turns out that Murray and Bouillon will both be back in the lineup tonight in place of Diaz and Alexei Emelin. I guess Therrien is thinking… I have no clue what the heck he’s thinking.
2. PICK YOUR POISON: It is expected that Tomas Plekanec line will have the honour of going against Sidney Crosby line with help from the reunited P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov. That leaves who, exactly, to go up against Evgeni Malkin line? Well, it will probably be Josh Gorges and Beaulieu together which says more of what Therrien thinks about Alexei Emelin and Diaz than it does about Gorges and Beaulieu. Of course, Therrien will not have last change, but at least he won’t have to worry about Douglas Murray, Bouillon or Parros.
UPDATE: See above. Yikes.
3. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CHEMISTRY: Talented player picks up somewhat anonymous teammate who rides coattails. Are we talking about Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais or Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby? Last time out, Montreal held Crosby to a minus-1 in a 3-2 win but almost blew a 3-0 lead (sound familiar?) thanks to two goals from James Neal with two assists from Malkin. It is unlikely Montreal will hold both superstars off the scoresheet, so to win, the Canadiens need to score.