To resume the second half the season after the Winter Olympics break in Sochi, the Montreal Canadiens (32-21-7) take on the Pittsburgh Penguins (40-15-3), this Thursday Night at 7 PM ET at the CONSOL Energy Center.
The Penguins lead the Metropolitan division in the East with 83 points, 16 more points than the New York Rangers, who are second in the standings.
Pittsburgh has 23-4-1 record at home; they have the best Power Play percentage in the NHL and they won four of their six games before Sochi.
“Put that kind of behind us,” Chris Kunitz told the Penguins’ official website about Canada winning the gold medal. “(Now) it’s just adjusting and getting back to our systems, relearning to be on the ice in certain areas where you can be responsible, and they’re going to expect you to be and play. Playing another system for two weeks, you forget about some of the things here. But hopefully running through the reps (Wednesday) and (Thursday), we’re ready for the game.”
Montreal is tied at second place in the Atlantic division with the Tampa Bay Lightning at 71 points, eight behind current leaders Boston Bruins.
Pittsburgh is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing Montreal, and 5-0 SU when those games are the CONSOL Energy Center.
Canadiens’ goalie Peter Budaj is 0-1-2 with 3.09 goals against in five games — four starts — against the Penguins.
The Penguins are -185 in the moneyline odds while the Canadiens are +165.