The Habs are coming off their biggest win of the season, to face the Sidney Crosby-less Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. Montreal set a franchise record on Tuesday evening, by overcoming a five goal deficit to win 6-5 in a shootout at home, versus the New York Rangers. Strong performances by several players, including Alexei Kovalev, Michael Ryder, Mike Komisarek, and Saku Koivu with the shootout winner, helped to make the game a historic event. It truly was a miracle win, and this humble writer was privileged enough to witness the game in person at the Bell Centre.
Les Canadiens are riding a 5 game winning streak that they hope to extend tonight. The Penguins have surprised many with their strong play without injured all star forward Sidney Crosby. Without their captain in the lineup over the past 14 games, the Penguins have earned 8 wins, and 18 points to keep in the playoff hunt. Evgeni Malkin has risen to the challenge, scoring 21 points in the past 9 games. Crosby has resumed skating with the team in practice, but has not yet been cleared to play in regular games.
Expect head coach Guy Carbonneau to stay with the hot hand in goal, sticking with Cristobal Huet, who bailed out Carey Price after the rookie allowed 3 goals in the first period Tuesday. The last time the two teams faced each other was on January 19, when the Penguins upset the Canadiens 2-0 in Montreal, with Dany Sabourin earning the shutout.