While many people expected the Pittsburgh Penguins to be one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference this season, few imagined that the Montreal Canadiens – the team that finished dead last in the conference last year – would be right up there with them.
After 20 games, the Canadiens are in first place in the East and are climbing up the NHL futures. More and more people are starting to take them seriously as they have won seven of nine and haven’t lost in regulation since February 9. Their +15 goal differential is among the best in the NHL.
The Pens have won three of four in this series but they might have a tough time keeping those trends in their favor as they could be shorthanded on Saturday. Star forward Evgeni Malkin is out of the lineup dealing with a concussion and that means more of the onus will fall on Sidney Crosby and company. It’s been hard enough for teams to score in Montreal as is as they’ve allowed just five goals in their last four home games.
Keep an eye on the betting lines as this matchup approaches on Saturday.