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Penguins Look to Avoid Losing First Two Games to Canadiens

Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel celebrating after a goal.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have not dropped consecutive games to the Montreal Canadiens since 2018 and find themselves as solid favorites yet again for Game 2 of their best-of-five qualifying round series on Monday.

Montreal Canadiens vs Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Date/Time: August 3, 8:00 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Scotiabank Arena
  • TV Coverage: NBCSN
  • Opening Odds: Penguins -160 | O/U 5.5 (Line History)
  • Canadiens vs Penguins (Matchup Report)

Opening Odds Analysis

This betting line has stayed right where Game 1 closed and Game 2 opened, with Pittsburgh facing a near must-win situation after losing the series opener 3-2 in overtime. A better start is what the Penguins need after falling behind 2-0 in the second period, and oddsmakers seem to believe they will bounce back and even the series in this spot.

Montreal News & Notes

While Pittsburgh would obviously like to get off to a better start, Montreal would love to score first again as well to put some major pressure on its opponent. The biggest advantage the Canadiens have in this series is their goaltender Carey Price, who played remarkably well in Game 1 outside of a three-minute stretch during the second period when he surrendered both goals for the Penguins.

Price still made 39 saves and stood on his head in the third period and OT to secure the team’s first postseason win since 2017. If Montreal can find a way to tally the first goal for the second straight game, it may make Pittsburgh switch goalies if Matt Murray ends up earning another start in Game 2.

Pittsburgh News & Notes

The Penguins are in a tough spot with regards to their starting goaltending, as head coach Mike Sullivan wants to ride Murray, who has been the man between the pipes en route to winning their last two Stanley Cups.

However, another slow start could give way to Tristan Jarry (20-12-1, 2.43 goals against average), as the 25-year-old might be the future of the team due to injury concerns surrounding the 26-year-old Murray (20-11-5, 2.87).

Jarry has never started a playoff game, so pulling the plug on Murray here would be difficult. Regardless, the best-case scenario for Pittsburgh is scoring the first goal to back up whoever is in net and relieve some pressure. This team has the experience to rebound.

Betting Pick: Penguins -160

The Penguins are simply too talented and well-coached to fall behind two games, which would put them one loss away from elimination. The Canadiens played a nearly perfect Game 1 and still had to go to OT before Jeff Petry netted the game-winning goal. The odds of Montreal duplicating that performance is very slim.

Shark Bites
  • The Penguins are 10-5 in the past 15 games vs. the Canadiens.
  • The Penguins are 3-9 in their last 12 games.
  • The UNDER is 5-0 in the past 5 meetings between these two.