Gameday #43: v. Montreal Canadiens



PITTSBURGH PENGUINS v. Montreal Canadiens

Consol Energy Center, 7:00 PM, Root Sports

The Penguins can effectively lock up the first seed in the East over the next two games. With a win in regulation tonight the Penguins will cut the magic number between them and Montreal down to three points. That’s well into the “no chance that’s not happening” category. Boston can still disrupt the party but frankly Montreal has been the better team since March so they’re on the backburner for now.

As a public service: be advised that the Penguins (and all NHL, all professional sports teams) will be ramping up security in light of what happened in Boston. If you’re lucky enough to be going to the game, try to arrive a little earlier to accommodate the added security measures. Doors will open at 5:45 which I believe is 15 minutes earlier than usual.

You’ve probably heard, but the Pens are headed outside again next year. The NHL has unveiled its “Stadium Series,” an additional 6 outdoor games that will be played throughout the month of January 2014, in addition to the official “Winter Classic” which will be between Toronto and Detroit at Michigan Stadium. The Pens are slated to face the Blackhawks, people are already getting all worked up about what kind of jersey the Penguins could wear in the next outdoor game, for a good read on it, just check out Pensblog, they’ve already said everything we possibly could.


Sam Kasan with Penguins’ Inside Scoop says that Fleury is starting in net, but that everything else is subject to change. A really tough nut to crack is where James Neal will slot in for these new lines. Geno is a gametime decision but I suspect he isn’t playing. With that said it’s just hard to picture where Nealer will play, he’s not a center by any stretch so you have to count him out there. You could slide him back to the left wing on the “first line” with Jussi and Iggy, but realistically, Kunitz has been better all season than Nealer, so why should he be demoted? Brenden Morrow has developed some insane chemistry with Pascal Dupuis and has been the hottest scorer in the last week, demoting him won’t work either. Presumably Beau Bennett would be on the chopping block but there is something that doesn’t ring true on a Morrow-Dupuis-Neal line, too much shooting I guess? And then it only gets more bizarre to think of Neal on a checking line. I don’t envy Dan Bylsma at this juncture, no matter what he does people are going to hate it.

Montreal has been falling apart at the seams lately, they’ve lost their last two games by a combined score of 12-4 and three of those goals came against Steve Mason. Carey Price has been pulled in each of those starts and the team hasn’t looked the same since.

Finish it off. Go Pens.


Gameday #34: v. Montreal Canadiens


PITTSBURGH PENGUINS v. Montreal Canadiens

Consol Energy Center, 7:00 PM, Root Sports

Huge game for the Penguins tonight: they’re looking for a thirteenth straight win, the second seeded team in the East is in town, two new, clutch, additions to the lineup are expected to make their career debuts in a Penguin’s sweater, and for the first time Michel Therrien will be back in town to coach against the team that fired him less than a year removed from making the Stanley Cup Finals. What else do you need?

Okay let’s step back for a second, there’s no guarantee that Morrow is playing tonight, he has deep roots in Dallas so apparently it was more difficult for him to just pack up and leave, and you know what? That’s okay, if anything that just enamors us to him more, all heart in this one to be sure. And okay, Douglas Murray isn’t going to play tonight, as of this writing he hasn’t even left San Jose…. Okay and this isn’t a battle for first in the conference, even with a regulation win the Habs can’t catch the Pens…. And Michel Therrien’s first comment about being back in Pittsburgh was what happened to the Civic Arena… Okay you get the picture.

therrien quote

Be advised that there were many number changes as result of Morrow’s arrival:

  • Douglas Murray will wear #3.

  • Brenden Morrow has bought the #10 jersey from Tanner Glass.

  • Tanner Glass has bought the #15 jersey from Dustin Jeffrey (which could be funny if DJ ends up getting traded or put on waivers).

  • Dustin Jeffrey will now wear #17.


In late-breaking news Kris Letang has been activated off of IR. To make room for him Simon Despres has been “sent” to Wilkes Barre, although who knows if he’s actually going there or is getting the Beau Bennett treatment (just a roster move, never actually left the team). Barring any injuries don’t be shocked to see both Despres and Bennett sent to the minors until the start of the playoffs, at which time the team can expand to a 25 man roster.

We know, we know, those guys DON’T deserve to go the minors but short of losing guys to waivers there is no other choice. They can be huge parts of the Pens’ playoff efforts, but for me I don’t want to change the locker room chemistry any more than neccessary.

Flower will be in net, Geno could possibly be a game time decision and Matt Cooke has been playing hurt, which shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve watched him recently.

Give Brenden a proper welcome. Go Pens.


Gameday #22 Recap: @ Montreal Canadiens, Pens Win, can you count to 13?





This wasn’t a good win, but it was a win of a good team. Well, it was sort of a win of a good team, what it really was was a win earned by a few good players who rose to the occassion over the opponent. The Pens scored 7 goals but only 4 guys contributed in that way. The Pens gave up 6 goals but only 8 players ended up with a negative plus/minus. And while this kind of game won’t work in the playoffs, the Pens rose to the occasion and beat a very good team. What follows is a brief synopsis of the guys who won this for the ‘Guins. Read the rest of this entry »

Gameday #22: @ Montreal Canadiens



PITTSBURGH PENGUINS @ Montreal Canadiens

Bell Centre, 7:00 PM, Root Sports, NHL Network (local blackout)

No doubt this is a huge game, the Pens play against former coach Michel Therrien for the first time since he was named head coach of the Habs, two of the best teams in the East will clash, and most important the Pens need to bounce back after disappointing losses against the Panthers and Hurricanes earlier in the week.

The Pens are going without Paul Martin, who is out with a “lower body” injury. Mark Eaton will make his season debut with the Penguins. In addition, Simon Despres is expected to play over Robert Bortuzzo in tonight’s tilt. Tomas Vokoun is expected to be in net now that everyone realizes that he hasn’t been as bad as it seems in recent games.

So many storylines but so little time, follow along with us on Twitter (see sidebar) for our thoughts and feelings throughout the game.

Right the ship. Go Pens.