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Penguins vs. Canadiens Scouting Report

Saturday, 11.26.2011 / 9:00 AM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Penguins vs. Canadiens Scouting Report
Pittsburgh Penguins
Home: 8-1-2-18
Road: 5-5-2-12

WHEN: Nov. 26, 2011 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: Bell Centre
ROOT SPORTS  |  LISTEN: Penguins 24/7 Radio, 105.9 FM
Montreal Canadiens
Home: 4-5-3-11

  Pittsburgh Penguins at Montreal Canadiens 






Travis Moen
LW  -  #32
  7 Goals
  2 Assists
  9 Points
• Is on pace to smash his personal best of 11 goals set 2006-07 through 82 games, as he’s already got seven tallies through 22 games.

• Gritty third-line winger tends to rank among the team leaders in hits, currently placing third with 42 checks.

• One of the Canadiens’ best penalty killing forwards, averaging 2:18 shorthanded minutes per game on a special teams unit that hasn’t allowed a power-play goal in 10 games.
Tomas Plekanec
C -  #14
  5 Goals
  15 Assists
  20 Points
• The Habs’ scoring leader had a three-game multiple point streak from Nov. 16-19, collecting a goal and five assists over that span, and has five points in his last seven contests.

• Hardworking, responsible center plays in all situations for his team – not only does he lead the Canadiens with 4:14 minutes on the power play a game, but he also ranks first among forwards with 2:56 shorthanded minutes per game.

• Is the top faceoff performer for the Canadiens – taking over 33 percent of the team’s draws – and has a 51.2-percent success rate in the dot.
Yannick Weber
D  -  #68
  3 Goals
  5 Assists
  8 Points
• Sophomore defenseman has been seeing consistent time on the man-advantage, getting all three of his goals on the power play while averaging 3:47 minutes (second on the team) on the point.

• The offensive defenseman’s size isn’t his biggest asset as he measures in at 5-foot-10 and 199 pounds, but he’s got a booming shot to complement his excellent hockey sense.

The 23-year-old grew up in Switzerland before relocating to the United States to play two seasons with Kitchener of the Ontario Hockey League from 2006-08 before making the jump to the pros.
After a very shaky start to the season where the Canadiens earned just one win through their first eight games, Montreal has turned their fortunes around by earning a 9-5-1 record since that miserable opening stretch.

The biggest reason for Montreal’s vast improvement has been their stingy defensive play, spearheaded by the efforts of goaltender Carey Price. Price has been an absolute workhouse for the Habs, as he’s started 20 of Montreal’s 22 games and leads all NHL netminders in actual minutes played by quite a margin. Price had gone 3-1-1 in his last four contests before Friday’s 3-1 loss to Philadelphia, earning a pair of shutouts during a scoreless streak that last 148:11 minutes – a new personal best for the 24-year-old.

But while Price has been playing some excellent hockey, it’s undetermined if he or backup Peter Budaj – who’s seen action in just three games in his first season with Montreal – will be in goal for the Canadiens’ second game in as many days.

Despite the long-term absence of Andrei Markov, injuries to Jaroslav Spacek and Chris Campoli and a virus that sidelined Hal Gill for a week (five games), the Habs’ back end has been playing well. Josh Gorges has perhaps stepped it up the most out of all Montreal’s blueliners, seeing almost four minutes a game on both the power play and penalty kill while ranking first in the NHL (tied) with 60 blocked shots.

While Montreal’s defenders are doing their duties, the Canadiens’ forwards aren’t quite performing as well as head coach Jacques Martin would like. An influx of injuries up top – the latest being to Andrei Kostitsyn and Scott Gomez – has made it difficult to run three solid lines capable of producing offense, and as a result, Montreal has shut out three times and limited to one goal on four other occasions.

However, certain players are stepping up and delivering, Tomas Plekanec being one of them. The underrated center has been doing it all for his team, leading the Habs with 20 points and, like Gorges, playing extensive minutes in special teams situations. In addition, Penguins killer Michael Cammalleri has five points in his last five games while sophomore forward Max Pacioretty has a team-leading nine goals and 82 shots on goal – which ranks third in the league.
  • The Penguins are now on a four-game road stretch where they will face Montreal, the New York Rangers, Washington and Carolina.
  • Three of Pittsburgh’s top-nine forwards – Jordan Staal, Pascal Dupuis and Matt Cooke – have posted better numbers on the road compared to at home: Staal has collected 10 points (6G-4A) and a plus-3 rating in 10 road games, compared to seven points (5G-2A) and a plus-2 rating in 10 home contests. Dupuis has also accumulated 10 road points (2G-8A) in 10 games, versus eight points (3G-5A) in 11 games at CONSOL Energy Center. Matt Cooke, whose three shorthanded points (1G-2A) lead the NHL, has seven points (3G-4A) in 12 road games compared to three points (2G-1A) in 11 home contests.
  • Pittsburgh’s top-three centers –Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal – are among several Penguins who are red-hot right now: Crosby collected three assists vs. Ottawa on Friday to give him seven points (2G-5A) and a plus-5 rating in three games since his comeback on Monday night. He has been especially good on draws, where has gone 46-25. If Crosby had enough draws to qualify, his 64.8% success rate would lead the NHL. Malkin notched two more points (1G-1A) against Ottawa – his third-straight multiple-point contest – to give himself six points (2G-4A) during that stretch and 16 points (6G-10A) over his previous 12 games. Staal’s goal vs. Ottawa broke a two-game goalless stretch and gives him 10 goals and 13 points over his last 16 games.
  • Malkin ranks third in the NHL with an average of 1.25 points per game. Had he not missed seven games due to knee soreness earlier this season, his point total would project to 29, which would tie him for second place in the NHL scoring race, one point behind league-leader Phil Kessel of Toronto.




2010-11 STAT CHART

F Dustin Jeffrey, knee
D Ben Lovejoy, broken wrist
D Brian Strait, hyper-extended elbow
Neal (13) Pacioretty (9)
Letang (16) Plekanec (15)
Neal (22)
Plekanec (20)
Asham (28) Subban (31)
Dupuis (10) Gorges (9)
Neal (6) Weber/Cole (3)
Four with (1)
Moen/Eller (1)
Fleury (12-3-2)
Price (9-8-3)
Fleury (2.02) Price (2.18)
Fleury (.927) Price (.917)

D Chris Campoli, lower-body
F Andreas Engqvist, lower-body
F Andrei Kostitsyn, lower-body
D Andrei Markov, knee
D Jaroslav Spacek, upper-body
F Ryan White, lower-body





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Endgame: Penguins 6, Senators 3
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Penguins Report: Game Day vs. Ottawa
Malkin Graces the Cover of Pittsburgh Magazine
Endgame: Blues 3, Penguins 2 (OT)

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Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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