Friday night – the Canadiens will travel to take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Both teams are coming off losses and will look to get back into the win column. The Canadiens have been sitting around .500 all season while the Penguins have had a successful season thus far despite all their injuries.
The Canadiens are currently 27-25-7 with 61 points this season. They are sitting in 5th place in the Atlantic Division. If Montreal wants to make a run at a playoff spot, they will have to get everything on the right track very soon; it seems more likely that they will be sellers at the trade deadline and look to keep building their core group.
Montreal is 3-2 in their last five games after losing their previous two games to the Coyotes and Bruins. The Canadiens season has not been a complete disaster, but they have gone on two eight-game losing streaks in the last three months that have kept them from competing with the top of the division.
Tomas Tatar has been leading the Canadiens this season with 20 goals and 32 assists for 52 total points. Unfortunately, Tatar has not been able to get much support this season, and Montreal has not had the fire-power to keep up with the better teams in the league. Their long losing streaks and lack of consistency will most likely keep them out of the playoffs once again this season.
Corey Price has once again been the Canadiens‘ primary goaltender. Once considered the best goalie in the league, Price has been unable to put up the stats he did in the past. Without a strong defense in front of him, Price is 24-20-4 this season with three shutouts. The veteran goalie is carrying a 2.71 goals-against average, and a .913 save percentage.
The Canadiens are averaging 2.98 goals per game while allowing 3.03. They have four people currently on their injury list, including captain Shea Weber and team leader Tomas Tatar.
The Penguins are 34-15-6 this season, with 74 total points. Despite all their injuries this season, they are still managing to hold the second spot in the Metropolitan Division. They have been without some of their top players most of the year, but are finding a way to compete with everyone in the league.
With all the injuries this season, Crosby would typically be leading the team in everything, but Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust have stepped up and led the team in his absence. Malkin has 40 assists and 18 goals for a total of 58 points while Rust has 22 goals himself.
Matt Murray and Tristian Jarry have been manning the pipes for the Penguins this season. Murray is 18-8-1 with a 2.82 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage while Jarry is 18-8-1 with three shutouts. Jarry has a 2.18 goals-against average with a .929 save percentage. Both goalies have had strong seasons and are a big reason the Penguins have stayed competitive.
The Penguins have dealt with injuries all season long but have stayed near the top of the pack; we have already seen them makes moves with the acquisition of Jason Zucker from the Wild. If they can keep their roster healthy going into the playoffs, they could surprise a lot of teams.
As of now, only John Marino and Dominik Kahun are listed on the Penguins injury report. Pittsburgh is averaging 3.25 goals per game while allowing 2.73.
What to expect
With the big injuries to Weber and Tatar, I don’t expect the Canadiens to be able to keep up on the road. Look for the Penguins to win this game and get back in the win column once again. Take Pittsburgh -180.
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