NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 2nd
(All times Eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (13-8-0) at Montreal Canadiens (13-4-3), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said that his
team needs to focus on its work ethic following back-to-back road losses.
The Atlantic Division leaders need to look no further than the Montreal
Canadiens for examples.
Sitting atop the Eastern Conference, the Habs aim to push their point streak
to 10 straight games in Saturday evening's meeting with the Penguins.
Montreal has gone 7-0-2 since an embarrassing 6-0 home loss to the rival
Toronto Maple Leafs on Feb. 9. The Canadiens finally avenged that defeat on
Wednesday, picking up a 5-2 victory in Toronto thanks to a three-goal third
Brendan Gallagher had the go-ahead goal midway through the frame and Max
Pacioretty picked up his second tally of the game in the third. Brian Gionta
added an empty-net goal and Alexei Emelin also scored in the contest.
Montreal managed to take a 2-2 tie into the final 20 minutes despite being
outshot 28-12 through the first two periods. Carey Price stood tall with 21
saves in the win.
"When you get embarrassed at home, the next time you play them you put a lot
of emphasis on the game," Gallagher remarked. "They played well but I thought
we played a solid road game. We were able to play a disciplined style of
hockey and I think it frustrated them a little bit."
The Habs' 29 points are one up on the Boston Bruins for first place in the
Northeast Division and three ahead of the Penguins for the top spot in the
East. The Canadiens return home for this game before playing five straight on
the road, beginning Sunday in Boston.
First, the they'll try to hand the Penguins a season-high third straight loss
in the finale of Pittsburgh's three-game swing. The Pens had won five of six
prior to a 6-4 loss to the Florida Panthers and were then dealt a 4-1 defeat
by the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday.
Chris Kunitz scored Pittsburgh's lone goal off a feed from Crosby, while Marc-
Andre Fleury yielded four goals on 29 shots. The Pens also went 0-for-5 on the
power play after notching a goal on the man advantage in each of their
previous 12 games.
The Penguins came into this road trip 8-2-0 on the road, but have struggled
without Evgeni Malkin, who has missed the past three games due to a
"The last couple of games, I don't think it's been too good," said Crosby.
"For whatever reason, we've been pretty loose with our coverage and made it
pretty easy on the two teams we've played the last couple of games. I think
that the focus has to be on our work ethic and making sure it's there every
"We have to realize we can't show up and win. We're a good team when we work
hard as a group. We can't expect to show up in team's buildings on the road,
just put our gear on and expect to win. We're a good team, but we're better
than the last couple of games."
Crosby has certainly had the work ethic this season as he is tops in the NHL
with 22 assists and is tied for the league lead with 31 points. He has posted
14 points over his last eight games.
The Pens had won three straight over the Habs before a 3-2 shootout loss in
Montreal on Feb. 7 of last year. They have still won six of their last 10 on
the road in this series.
03/02 10:35:15 ET