TBO.com | Sports
TBO.com: Tampa Bay Online, The Tampa Tribune and The Tampa Times - breaking news and weather.
  • Home
National Hockey League

NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, March 26th (All times Eastern)

Montreal Canadiens (20-6-5) at Pittsburgh Penguins (25-8-0), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of trades in two days seem to signal that the Pittsburgh Penguins are going all-in in an attempt to win their second Stanley Cup championship in five years.

And having already posted the longest winning streak in the NHL this season, why not?

The Penguins look to record their 13th straight victory on Tuesday evening and widen their margin atop the Eastern Conference standings in a battle with the Montreal Canadiens.

Pittsburgh matched the second-longest winning streak in team history with Sunday's 2-1 overtime triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers, getting a late third-period tally from Sidney Crosby during a 5-on-3 power play before Tyler Kennedy fired home the winner with 2:27 left in overtime.

The Penguins matched a 12-game run posted from Nov. 17-Dec. 11, 2010 and the only time that Pittsburgh has posted a longer winning run is an NHL-best 17- game stretch in 1992-93.

"We know to win a game you have to play a full 60 (minutes). We're a pretty confident team," Kennedy said. "We had to work hard and keep it going."

The Pens' run has upped its lead for first in the Atlantic Division to 13 points over the New Jersey Devils, while they lead the Montreal Canadiens and Boston by five points for the most in the East.

Pittsburgh also won its ninth in a row at home by taking the opener of a five- game homestand, moving to 12-4-0 as the host despite playing without forward Evgeni Malkin for an eighth straight game due to an upper body injury. Defenseman Kris Letang sat out his third straight with a lower body ailment, but the Pens have made steps over the previous two days to replace both in the lineup.

The Penguins announced prior to Sunday's win, which featured 27 saves from Marc-Andre Fleury, that they had acquired Dallas forward Brenden Morrow in a trade that sent defensive prospect Joe Morrow to the Stars.

Brenden Morrow, 34, appeared in 29 games this season with the Stars, scoring six goals with five assists. He was serving as the club's captain and amassed 528 points in 835 career games with the Dallas franchise.

"That's a great acquisition for us. He's a guy whose got a ton of experience," said Crosby. "He's a great leader, plays well at both ends of the ice and he's going to be tough for other teams to handle. We're definitely happy he's going to be part of our team."

General manager Ray Shero didn't stop there, getting defenseman Douglas Murray from the San Jose Sharks for a 2013 second-round pick and a conditional second-round pick the following year.

Murray had spent his entire eight-year career with the Sharks and logged three assists in 29 games this season. He'll add a defensive presence in front of the net as the 33-year-old led San Jose with 64 blocked shots.

After adding two new pieces, the Penguins will try to set a new club record for the most victories in a single month. They're 12-0 March so far has matched the 12-3-2 mark the 2007 club posted in the same month.

The Canadiens have done their best to keep pace with the Penguins, but are coming off just their second regulation loss in their past 20 games (14-2-4). That was a 2-1 setback to the visiting Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

Montreal outshot Buffalo 39-18 in the game, but trailed 2-0 after the second period. The Habs had 16 shots in the third frame, but only managed to get Michael Ryder's goal past Sabres' netminder Ryan Miller.

Carey Price made 16 saves for the Canadiens, who had won six of seven coming into the contest.

"They're a tough team to play when they have a two-goal lead, especially when Miller is playing as good as he did tonight," said Ryder. "We just couldn't get it going until it was too late."

Montreal is tied with the Boston Bruins for first place in the Northeast and brings a five-game road winning streak into this meeting with the Pens. The Canadiens are 11-2-2 as the guest this season.

The Penguins are 5-1-1 in their last seven versus the Habs, including a wild 7-6 overtime win in Montreal on March 2. Brandon Sutter notched his second goal of the game 52 seconds into OT, Crosby had a goal and two assists, while Letang had four helpers.

Brian Gionta lit the lamp twice for the Canadiens, who have lost five of their past seven in Pittsburgh.

03/26 10:49:29 ET