The Montreal Canadiens can cause some serious chaos in Game 2

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 01: Teddy Blueger #53 of the Pittsburgh Penguins wraps around the net as Carey Price #31 and Victor Mete #53 of the Montreal Canadiens make the stop in the first period in Game One of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 01, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 01: Teddy Blueger #53 of the Pittsburgh Penguins wraps around the net as Carey Price #31 and Victor Mete #53 of the Montreal Canadiens make the stop in the first period in Game One of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 01, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /
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The Montreal Canadiens took Game 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins and winning Game 2 could put the Pittsburgh Penguins in a real tough spot.

Ahead of Game 1, Zach Aston-Reese said he wasn’t sure what the Montreal Canadiens first line was. Ironically, they were on the ice when Jeff Petry dragged the puck around a diving Brandon Tanev and scored on Matt Murray for the overtime winner. The Pittsburgh Penguins may not fully give the team the win and instead see what Carey Price did and chalk it up to that, but either way, they’re down 1-0 in the series.

That’s been a slow trend throughout a number of these Play-In series. The least favoured team won first, including the Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks. But trends don’t always continue, and it’ll be important for the Habs to build off the momentum generated from that Petry goal.

Although the game wasn’t perfect, Claude Julien is non to stick with what works. Therefore, we can expect the Montreal Canadiens to run the same lines and pairings from Game 1.

Montreal Canadiens Lineup

Forwards

Tatar-Danault-Gallagher
Drouin-Suzuki-Armia
Lehkonen-Kotkaniemi-Byron
Weal-Domi-Weise

Defence

Chiarot-Weber
Kulak-Petry
Ouellet-Mete

Goaltenders

Price
Lindgren

Related Story. Lineup changes to make ahead of Game 2. light

Julien has stuck to his word that the “fourth line” isn’t really a fourth line. Phillip Danault and Nick Suzuki‘s trio saw the highest times-on-ice, respectively, while Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Max Domi played a respective 8:55 and 9:40. They may not be putting up fancy possession stats, but the Habs coaching staff like what they’re seeing from them.

Pittsburgh is also not going to make any huge changes. Head coach Mike Sullivan said he liked a lot of what his team did and that it was minor fixes that needed to be put into place.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Forward

Guentzel-Crosby-Sheary
Zucker-Malkin-Rust
Marleau-McCann-Hornqvist
Aston-Reese-Blueger-Tanev

Defence

Dumoulin-Letang
Pettersson-Marino
Johnson-Schultz

Goaltenders

Murray
Jarry

One thing the Penguins will like to improve is their handling of Carey Price and the power play. It’s a weird reality where a writer of the Habs is being critical of another team’s man advantage, but a 14% success rate scoring once on seven opportunities is a tough pill to swallow.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were stellar at 5v5, and Sullivan will try to keep that tempo going. But when it comes to Price, they’ll try to do more of what worked. It wasn’t the highlight reel goals that got past him, it was a banked shot off the skate and a deflection in the crease. If Pittsburgh goes for more of a full-frontal assault on Price, Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot need to ensure the front of the net is being cleared, putting more emphasis on physical presence.

Next. Be wary of historical trends. dark

Pittsburgh isn’t going to make it easy to go down 2-0 in the series. The Montreal Canadiens need to manage their starts properly and give Price support to limit the amount of time spent in their own zone for opportunities. If they can do that and capitalize on their own chances, the Habs should expect a positive result.

Time – 8:00 PM EST
Location – Scotiabank Arena (Toronto)
Watch – Sportsnet, TVAS, NBCSN, ATTSN-PT