Canadiens: Three Keys to Victory Against the Penguins

The Canadiens Host the Penguins in a Wednesday Night Affair

Montreal Canadiens v Pittsburgh Penguins
Montreal Canadiens v Pittsburgh Penguins / Justin Berl/GettyImages
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PLAY A FULL 60 MINUTES

We have already discussed the advantage the Canadiens possess, having more rest than the Penguins. They can use that to get off to a good start, but they must play a complete game. From start to finish, the Habs have to keep their foot on the gas to take full advantage of an aging Pittsburgh squad playing on back-to-back nights.

In Buffalo on Saturday, the Habs jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but relinquished that lead in the third and had to ask their goaltender to make 46 saves to get that game to a shootout. This included a penalty late in the third that carried into overtime that the Habs were able to kill off. They need to avoid performances like that on Wednesday.

Too often this year have we seen the Canadiens get off to bad starts, turn it on late, but ultimately come up short. And we’ve seen them get off to good starts before slowly letting their foot off the gas and falling apart. It’s a big reason why the Habs have so few regulation wins this season (just five, last in the NHL).

Tonight, the Canadiens are well rested, playing an older team (average age of 31.2 to MTL’s 26.5) on the second night of a back-to-back. The Canadiens have no excuse not to play a full 60 minutes tonight. They cannot ask their goaltender to be their best player, yet again. It’s time the leaders on the team step up, dig their heels in and play a complete game.

If the Canadiens can do these three things, it’s hard to see them losing this game. But that’s a big if, seeing as they’ve struggled to do those things consistently this year.