Despite the Penguins losing one of the most exciting players to watch in Sidney Crosby for up to 6 weeks, it couldn't have come at a better time for the Canadiens.
The Pens (26-17-3) had gone an incredible 9-0-1 in their 10 games previous to last night's loss to the Lightning. In losing Sid, they not only lost a potential Art Ross / Hart trophy winner and current captain, but they lost the game, and were shut-out by the lowly Lightining, one of the worst teams on the road in the NHL. Tampa went on to win 3-0.
The trifecta of bad news was culminated by Ty Conklin suffering his first loss in regulation since his call up. He had gone 10-0-1 in the 11 games he played before taking the 3-0 defeat last night.
The Habs (24-14-8) are 7-1-2 in their last 10, but return back on home ice for the first time in 5. They're stellar record on the road is thankfully taking some of the spotlight away from their less than decent 8-7-1 record on home ice. The Habs and Pens have met twice already this season, with Montreal coming out on top both times in 4-3 and 3-2 victories. However, it is worth noting that hot prospect Carey Price was between the pipes in each of those victories.
Cristobal Huet will be in goal once again for Montreal. He is 8-1-2 in his last 11 starts, and sports a perfect 3-0 career record against the Penguins, and on the first full game for the Penguins to cope with life-after-Crosby, the Habs find themselves in decent position to come away with a much needed, confidence-building win on home ice.
Even though 21,273 people will be disappointed to be missing out on the Crosby show tonight, they should come away with some satisfaction, as the Habs should be able to convert the Pens' misfortune into momentum and carry that through for the win.
I wouldn't like to be one of the ticketholders if the Habs were to lose tonight...
Puck drop scheduled for 7:08 p.m.