WHO: Montreal Canadiens (1-0) c. Pittsburgh penguins (0-1)… The Pens remain the “home” team for the second game and have the last change for the lines between the whistles. Montreal gets this advantage for the third game.
When: 8:00 p.m. east
How to watch: If you are in the Pittsburgh viewing area, the game is on AT&T Sportsnet. If you’re in America but not locally, the game is covered nationally on NBCSN. SN and VAT in Canada.
Opponent track: Montreal is flying away long after the 3-2 OT win on Saturday night and is really in a position to “play with the house money” now against the Pens.
Pens Path Ahead: The third match will take place on Wednesday, also at 8:00 p.m. Game 4, if necessary, is scheduled for Friday. If there was to be Game 5, it would be Saturday.
Counterpart of the SBN team: Our friends at Habs Eyes on the Prize have you covered for any Montreal talk you could dream of.
Tomas Tatar – Phillip Danault – Brendan Gallagher
Jonathan Drouin – Nick Suzuki – Joel Armia
Paul Byron – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Artturi Lehkonen
Jordan Weal – Max Domi – Dale Weise
Ben Chariot / Shea Weber
Brett Kulak / Jeff Petry
Xavier Ouellet / Christian Folin
And now for the pens …
Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Conor Sheary
Jason Zucker – Evgeni Malkin – Bryan Rust
Patrick Marleau – Jared McCann –Patric Hornqvist
Zach Aston-Reese – Teddy Blueger – Brandon Tanev
Brian Dumoulin / Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson / John Marino
Jack Johnson / Justin Schultz
Expected scratches: Anthony Angello, Kevin Czuczman, Adam Johnson, Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Sam Lafferty, Emil Larmi, Juuso Riikola, Evan Rodrigues, Chad Ruhwedel, Casey DeSmith, Phil Varone
“We’ll see if the Penguins make any changes from the first game on in terms of staff or lines. So far Mike Sullivan has declined to comment on whether that will be the case, so we’ll stick with our lineup being the same.
—Sullivan was quite optimistic publicly yesterday in his comments, mentioning that there was a lot of Game 1 that the coaching staff liked after reviewing the tape. They also had the chance to practice yesterday and fine-tune the adjustments which will hopefully pay off tonight.
Three things to watch out for
# 1 Make life harder for Price
– The Pens dotted Montreal with shots, especially early on when, at one point, the SOG gap was 14-3 in favor of Pittsburgh. However, many of those plans were ones that Carey Price could read and prepare for, and her confidence (and that of her team) grew as they stood in there and survived the initial pen explosion. Pittsburgh needs to change strategy and bring more body to the net.
# 2 Don’t play from behind
—Since the start of the 2019 playoffs, the Pens have been beaten by a total of 7-3 in the opening periods of their last five playoff games. They are also 0-4 in just 5 games when they fall behind after 1 period (and well 0-5 overall). Too often they come down early. It’s hard to win playoff games playing from behind. Obvious statement, but the first objective of this game is important. The Pens have not taken any lead in the intermissions during the recent playoffs. It also correlates with the Pens not winning any playoff games lately.
# 3 Second Pair Battles
– They do not face each other directly, but the second pairs of the two teams were excellent in the first game. In Montreal, Jeff Petry scored for the GWG, but it just capped off a good multi-match alongside Brett Kulak. The Canadiens duo did a good job, and that was especially important as much of it limited Sidney Crosby’s line and knocked them off balance for much of the game. Crosby, for example, played Kulak-Petry for over 9 minutes per play in 5v5 (more than double the 4:33 he saw Shea Weber) and the Pens only had 8 Corsi events for (at 15 against!) while Crosby played against that. Montreal paid, by Natural Stat Trick.
On the other hand, it was a sensational start to the playoffs for John Marino, who continues to impress with his poise, decision-making and smooth play through all the corners. Marino spent ~ 7 minutes against the second row of Nick Suzuki and ~ 5 more against the powerful front row of Phillip Danault and coped well with stiff competition.