Fresh off four-day break, Penguins challenge Habs
Saturday, 02.06.2010 / 2:00 PM
Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff WriterPENGUINS (35-21-1) at CANADIENS (27-25-6)
Pittsburgh 7-3-0; Montreal 4-4-2
The Penguins will be looking for the four-game sweep of the Canadiens on Saturday. In their three previous meetings this season, the Penguins have outscored Montreal 12-4.
Both teams come into Saturday's game on two-game winning streaks. But Montreal has lost five straight to Pittsburgh dating to last season, something the Habs will want to rectify with a potential first-round playoff meeting in the future.
During an Olympic season, four days off seems like an eternity with the compressed schedule. But that's exactly what the Pens received following their 5-4 win against the Sabres on Feb. 1.
"We're on a good roll right now, with the last two wins," Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury
said. "But at the same time, a little break, I think, will be nice. We've been playing a lot lately -- all year -- it's been such a busy schedule, so it will be nice to rest."
Fleury is 3-1-0 since returning from a fractured finger on his catching glove hand and has been in net in the last five matchups with the Canadiens, all Pittsburgh wins.
Life without leading scorer Mike Cammalleri was supposed to be a nightmare for the Habs. But so far, so good.
Montreal is 2-0-0 since Cammalleri was injured in 3-2 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators on Jan. 30. It helps that goalie Jaroslav Halak has been fantastic of late. He had back-to-back 45-save performances in 3-2 wins against the Bruins and Canucks.
"As long as we win, it doesn't matter how many shots they have and we have," Halak said. "It would be nice to get more shots on net, but we have to find our game."
It's obvious, but Sidney Crosby
has 4 goals of Pittsburgh's 6 goals over the last 2 games. … Besides Halak stopping 90 of the last 94 shots he's faced, Montreal's Sergei Kostitsyn has stepped up in the absence of Cammalleri with a goal and 2 assists in the last two games.
For Pittsburgh, Chris Kunitz
could be back in the lineup after sitting since Jan. 3 with an abdominal injury. Defenseman Jay McKee
(undisclosed) could return as well. Forwards Maxime Talbot
(groin) and Eric Godard
(groin) are questionable. … Cammalleri will be out until after the Olympic break with a knee injury. Also absent for Montreal will be forward Andrei Kostitsyn (knee) and defenseman Paul Mara (upper body).
Crosby has 14 goals in his last 15 games. … Halak is 7-0 in games he's faced 40 shots or more. … The Penguins are 7-1-0 when registering 40 or more shots.
In an Olympic year, days off are a rare commodity. The last thing anyone is going to do is complain about a four-day layoff.
"We have had a lot of games in not a lot of days," Penguins forward Tyler Kennedy
said. "You kind of get used to it and your body gets used to it. You have to get as much rest as you can between games and work hard when you are out there."