Pens vs. Habs

All Habs GameDay: Saturday March 2, 2013

On this day in hockey history… 1993 – Mario Lemieux returned to the Penguins lineup in Philadelphia after missing the previous 23 games after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.
1966 – Montreal’s Jean Beliveau scored his 380th career NHL goal in 3-3 tie with Toronto. The 380 career goals moved him ahead of Ted Lindsay into the #3 spot all time, behind Gordie Howe and Maurice Richard.
1929 – George Hainsworth became the first NHL goaltender to record 20 shutouts in one season. The Montreal Canadiens beat the visiting Boston Bruins 3-0.

GAMEDAY: The Crosby Show comes to town.

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
13-8-0
2nd in the East
MONTREAL CANADIENS
13-4-3
1st in the East
penguins logo  MontrealCanadiens

Road Record: 8-4-0
Goals For: 70
Goals against: 58
PP percentage: 25.9 (4th)
PK percentage: 80.0 (19th)

Home Record: 4-1-2
Goals For: 58
Goals against: 43
PP percentage: 19.6 (11th)
PK percentage: 82.9 (13th)
Bell Centre, Montreal, QC.
7:00 p.m. EST
TV: CBC, RDS, NHLN-US

PROJECTED LINE COMBINATIONS
(Will be updated following game day skate.)

MONTREAL CANADIENS

Rene Bourque has been place on IR. Gabriel Dumont recalled from Hamilton.
Bourque, Diaz and Price miss optional game-day skate.

Forwards

Brandon Prust – Tomas Plekanec – Brian Gionta
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Brendan Gallagher
Alex Galchenyuk – Lars Eller – Michael Ryder
Travis Moen – Ryan White – Colby Armstrong

Defensemen

Andrei Markov – Alexei Emelin
Josh Gorges – Francis Bouillon
P.K. Subban – Tomas Kaberle

Goalies

Carey Price, Peter Budaj

Scratches

Rene Bourque (concussion), Raphael Diaz (concussion), Yannick Weber, Gabriel Dumont

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

Mark Eaton and Simon Despres are in.
Robert Bortuzzo and Paul Martin are out.

Forwards

Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – James Neal
Beau Bennett – Brandon Sutter – Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke – Dustin Jeffrey – Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass – Joe Vitale – Craig Adams

Defensemen

Brooks Orpik – Kris Letang
Matt Niskanen – Mark Eaton
Simon Despres – Deryk Engelland

Goalies

Marc-Andre Fleury, Tomas Vokoun

Scratches

Evgeni Malkin, Zach Boychuck, Robert Bortuzzo, Paul Martin

TOP SCORERS

PENGUINS  CANADIENS

CrosbySidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby: 9G, 22A, 31PTS
Chris Kunitz: 9G, 15A, 24PTS
Evgeni Malkin: 4G, 17A, 21PTS
Max Pacioretty Max Pacioretty Max Pacioretty: 6G, 10A, 16PTS
Michael Ryder: 6G, 8A, 14PTS
Tomas Plekanec: 8G, 5A, 13PTS
Raphael Diaz: 1G, 12A, 13PTS

 PROJECTED GOALTENDERS
(Updated following game day skate.)

Carey Price is the confirmed starter for the Canadiens.
Tomas Vokoun is the confirmed starter for the Penguins.

PENGUINS  CANADIENS

VokounTomasTomas Vokoun
CONFIRMED

Record: 3-3-1
GAA : 3.26
Sv%: .891
SO: 0
EV GA/60: 2.27 (25th)
Carey Price Carey Price
CONFIRMED
Record: 11-3-2 (tied for 1st in wins)
GAA : 1.90 (5th)
Sv%: .924 (8th)
SO: 2 (tied for 3rd)
EV GA/60: 1.33 (4th)

GAMEDAY: All Habs Headlines

► First place possibly at on the line: 

  • With the Pittsburgh Penguins waddling into town, first place is possibly at stake but it’s not at the hands of the Pens that the Montreal Canadiens are at risk of giving up their prestigious position tonight.
  • With the Boston Bruins only one point behind the Canadiens, a Boston win against the Tampa Bay Lightning combined with a Montreal loss to the Penguins would put the Bruins one point ahead of the Canadiens thus taking over first place in the East.
  • On the other hand, a Montreal win combined with a Boston loss would solidify the Habs’ first place position putting them three points ahead of the Bruins.
  • Teams in the North East division are doing so well (except Buffalo) that if it were not for the top teams in each division obtaining the first three spots overall in the conference, we’d have Montreal, Boston, Ottawa and Toronto occupying positions one, two, three and five respectively.

Sidney Crosby leads the league:

  • Sidney Crosby continues to show why he’s considered by many to be the best hockey player on this planet.
  • With 21 games played on the season, Crosby now has 9 goals and 22 assists, totalling 31 points and tying him for first place in the league with Steven Stamkos who has 14 goals and 17 assists, with one less gamed played.
  • Crosby also carries with him an impressive 57.6 faceoff percentage on the season.
  • Crosby was the NHL’s second star for the month of February.

► Price continues to dominate:

  • Carey Price has easily been one of the most consistently solid goalies so far this season in the NHL.
  • Where Price has been most impressive is at even strength, he currently ranks fourth amongst all goaltenders giving up a tiny 1.33 goals per 60 minutes of play at even strength.

► Those injuries:

  • There was some good news at Habs practice this Friday, but it also came along with bad news, or lack there of might be a better choice of words.
  • For the good news, Petteri Nokelainen was back at practice Friday, he who injured himself in the offseason and hasn’t played a single game so far this season. He was excited to be back on the ice with his teammates and had this to say following practice. (I said good news, not great)

“It’s obviously a big step for me and it’s been a long haul until now and getting back on the ice with my teammates is nice to do. It’s been hard this time because I didn’t have a timeline. I still don’t have a timeline. I’m full contact right now, but it’s still day to day. I’ve had a couple of setbacks already, so for myself, I’m mentally just trying to take things a day at a time and see what comes out of it, but playing is still a little ways away for me.”

Nokelainen also spoke about his back injury:

“It was something that happened during the summertime while I was lifting weights. It’s not something that came out of nowhere, it just creeped up on me and really got to me eventually, so it wasn’t really just one thing.”

  • Both Rene Bourque and Raphael Diaz remain sidelined with concussions which means that Tomas Kaberle will have a second straight opportunity to play on defence. Kaberle had this to say at practice.

“It feels great to be back and it did me a lot of good to be able to step back onto the ice and play. You obviously never want to see a teammate get hurt, but with the kind of schedule we have this year, I knew I was going to have to be ready to play at any moment. We’re professionals at the end of the day and we get paid to do what we love. The focus is always on improving, and that should be the case whether you’re playing games or not. You just want to keep getting better every day while you wait for a chance to get back into the lineup.”

  • Kaberle practice along side P.K. Subban on Friday and they will likely be paired together on Saturday against the Penguins.
  • In Pittsburgh’s case, star-forward Evgeni Malkin is also sidelined with a concussion and will not play against the Habs.

► Puck’s take:

Habs Tickets:

  • With a game against the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes upcoming, click the link to find the best selection of Montreal Canadiens tickets.

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(Feature Photo: John Morstad)


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