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Canadiens Pre Game

Canadiens Game 49: Harris Returns, Xhekaj Healthy Scratch

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Montreal Canadiens versus Pittsburgh Penguins

The Montreal Canadiens (20-21-7) are set to play the Pittsburgh Penguins  (21-17-7) at the PPG Paints Arena. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm ET.

This is the last game for the Habs prior to the NHL All-Star break, providing them with an opportunity to enter the week off on the right foot. Alternatively, losing to the Penguins would leave the team with a bitter taste in their mouth until they face the Washington Capitals on February 8.

Canadiens head coach Martin St-Louis will have to do without the services of veteran winger Brendan Gallagher, who was suspended for five games following his predatory hit on New York Islanders defenceman Adam Pelech. With that in mind, forward Jesse Ylonen will return to the lineup to face the Penguins. Jordan Harris will also play on Saturday night, which means that Arber Xhekaj will make his way to the press box.

Goaltender Jake Allen will be given the start versus Pittsburgh.

MUST READ: Canadiens Brendan Gallagher Suspension Announced By DoPS

As for the Penguins, they continue to be a middling team despite having some of the most talented players in the NHL in their lineup.

They are fresh off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers, but given the Canadiens have had little to no success facing teams on the second leg of back-to-back games, facing a tired roster certainly does not guarantee any sort of advantage for the road team on Saturday night.

He’s no longer in his prime years, but facing a generational talent like Sidney Crosby is never a task meant to be taken lightly. The 36-year-old currently leads the Penguins in scoring with 27 goals and 21 assists. Newcomer Erik Karlsson is doing his part on the blueline, as evidenced by his 26 assists.

If you would like to see the view from the other side of the rink, make sure to visit our sister site: Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

Montreal Canadiens Injuries

  • Carey Price (IR)
  • Chris Wideman (IR)
  • Kirby Dach (out indefinitely, ACL/MCL)
  • Alex Newhook (out 10-12 weeks)
  • Christian Dvorak (out)

Pittsburgh Penguins Injuries

  • Reilly Smith (out)
  • John Ludvig (IR)
  • Matt Nieto (IR)
  • Jesse Puljujarvi (out)

Montreal Canadiens Projected Lineup

LWCRW
Cole CaufieldNick SuzukiJuraj Slafkovsky
Joshua RoyAlex NewhookJosh Anderson
Brendan GallagherJake EvansJoel Armia
Jesse YlonenBrandon GignacTanner Pearson
LDRD
Mike MathesonKaiden Guhle
Jayden StrubleJordan Harris
Arber XhekajDavid Savard
Goalie
Jake Allen
Cayden Primeau

Pittsburgh Penguins Projected Lineup

Guentzel – Crosby – Rust

O’Connor – Malkin – White

Rakell – Eller – Puustinen

Harkins – Acciari – Carter

Defence

Pettersson – Letang

Graves – Karlsson

Joseph – Ruhwedel

Goalie

Nedeljkovic

 

How to Watch Or Listen

TV

City TV, TVA Sports

Radio

Montreal Candiens: TSN 690

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Adam Uppal

MSL is going to ruin Xhekaj if he doesn’t let him play his own game. Sure he takes too many minors, but that’s the price you pay to have a good, physical presence on your team. He can’t be afraid to play his game.

Also, calling out Xhekaj for two minors and ignoring Gallagher’s cheap shot was very unfair.

Bob Bertrand

So sad. He’s my fav but it is obvious this is now a MSL vs Xhekaj situation. I agree. You can see Arber hesitating now. Confidence shot. I may switch off of the Habs. They want a pussy team like McMaplelaughs. Nope.

Hinge

Trade him if you’re going to play favorites and put him in the press box Total B.S.

Tyrone

Was not a fan of the reporter asking a deliberately inflammatory question about how St. Louis felt about Xhekaj’s 2 penalties, and was even less of a fan of Marty taking the bait and answering it. That can be dealt with in the room. There’s no need to call the kid out in his first game back after being exiled to Laval.