The Montreal Canadiens saw a record-setting start unravel last season following an injury to star goaltender Carey Price, who will be a spectator for Tuesday’s home game against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Montreal rolled over Buffalo in its season opener before losing in a shootout at Ottawa on Saturday.
Price, who hasn’t started a regular-season game for the Canadiens since Nov. 25, skated for the first time since coming down with a severe case of the flu on Oct. 10. ”He’s not 100 percent. He had a pretty good virus,“ Montreal coach Michel Therrien told reporters following Monday’s practice. ”So slowly ... basically he’s day-to-day. We’ll see how he’s going to be with his energy because he lost some weight.“ Pittsburgh squandered a pair of leads in an overtime loss to Colorado at home on Monday, denying its bid to become the first defending champion to start 3-0-0 since Detroit in 1997-98. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby remains sidelined due to a concussion, but coach Mike Sullivan told reporters on Monday that the club is ”really encouraged with the progress that he’s made.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ROOT (Pittsburgh), Sportsnet360, TVA (Montreal)
ABOUT THE PENGUINS (2-0-1): Pittsburgh continues to thrive with the man advantage, getting power-play goals from Phil Kessel and defenseman Trevor Daley on Monday to improve to 4-for-10 on the season. However, the Penguins surrendered two power-play tallies in the 4-3 loss to the Avalanche. Second-year forward Conor Sheary, who never has faced the Canadiens, takes a career-best three-game point streak into Tuesday’s matchup after picking up an assist versus Colorado.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (1-0-1): Montreal swapped elite defensemen in the offseason, acquiring Shea Weber from Nashville for P.K. Subban, but another blue-liner made a huge impact in the 4-3 shootout loss to Ottawa. Jeff Petry scored two goals in his season debut - one with the man advantage and another as the power play just expired, which was his first game since February. “I thought he was solid,” Therrien said. “He hadn’t played in a really long time and he looked really sharp.”
1. Penguins C Evgeni Malkin has collected 13 goals and 39 points in 31 career games versus Montreal.
2. Canadiens G Al Montoya has struggled against the Penguins, posting a 2-4-1 record and 3.89 goals-against average.
3. Pittsburgh claimed G Mike Condon off waivers from Montreal last week.
PREDICTION: Penguins 4, Canadiens 3