The Montreal Canadiens continue their road trip with a visit to the Eastern Conference leading Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.
The Habs have continued their recent inconsistent play on the first two games of their trip, luckily pulling out an overtime victory against the Ottawa Senators, before falling to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
This continues a trend that dates back 18 games now, where the Canadiens have posted a record of 8-8-2. Prior to this stretch the Habs were 19-9-3 and soaring among the leaders in the Eastern Conference. Currently Montreal stand third in the Atlantic Division, with the Maple Leafs not tied with them in points, but sitting fourth due to playing three more games.
A loss tonight and the Habs could find themselves with just a four point cushion on a playoff spot when they next hit the ice.
Montreal came out victorious when the two teams met back in November at the Bell Centre. Things could be different tonight, as the Penguins have the second best home record in the league, behind just the Anaheim Ducks who lost in regulation at home for the first time all season last night.
Montreal has a solid road record of 13-9-2, but the Penguins are an excellent 20-4-0 as the host. Pittsburgh has played their worst hockey against the Atlantic Division this season, having a mediocre 8-6-1 record against the Habs division. However, most of that is while on the road, as the Pens are a perfect 4-0 when hosting a team from the Atlantic.
The Penguins are led once again by their formidable offense, headed by NHL leading scorer Sidney Crosby and fellow center Evgeni Malkin. The pair are flanked by Chris Kunitz and James Neal, and all four are averaging more than a point per game this season.
The Montreal Canadiens will need to play a perfect road game if the intend on taking two points from the Penguins tonight.