Sidney Crosby will make his second and final visit to Montreal of the 2005-2006 NHL season, and although Crosby is currently tenth in league scoring with 31 goals and 43 assists the Penguins are dead last in the NHL having only won sixteen of their sixty-six games this season. Oddly enough two of those wins came against the Montreal Canadiens and a win tonight for the Pens would clinch a rare season series victory over the Canadiens. Crosby who was ripped in the media by Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson was open with the media about how he can sometimes get caught up in the game, although Crosby and coach Michel Therrien were both quick to say that Crosby needs to find the fine line to walk neither wishes to curb his feisty attitude that has allowed him to reach such early NHL success.
Cristobal Huet is expected to be back between the pipes for the Canadiens who have now lost two straight games. However goaltending is not the reason for the Canadiens recent slide, the major cause of this slide is the Habs inability to score. The Habs have managed to bulge the twine only once in each of their last three games that surely is a trend the Canadiens will need to change if they have any aspirations to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That said the Penguins have had troubles of their own scoring goals this season, or even getting the puck to the net for that matter. The New Jersey Devils held the Pens to just 14 shots on Thursday night.
Although the Canadiens control their own destiny they may be caught glancing at the out of town scoreboard to see how Atlanta is fairing in their game against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers were unable to do the Canadiens a favour last night in Tampa Bay as the seventh place Lightning extended their unbeaten streak over the Flyers to eight consecutive games. Montreal will also be rooting for Philadelphia’s Atlantic Division rivals the New York Rangers to prevent the Toronto Maple Leafs from passing the tenth place New York Islanders.
1. Cristobal Huet has faced the Penguins twice in his career and won both games, one of the games he recorded a shutout.
2. Sidney Crosby has recorded 13 points in his last 9 games and has scored three goals against the Canadiens this season.
3. The Canadiens have scored the least amount of goals of any team in the Eastern Conference.
4. Mike Ribero fathered his third child and first daughter early Thursday evening. Victoria was born at 5:45pm, which caused Ribero to be understandably late Thursday’s game against Carolina.