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Penguins Ready to Break Out vs Canadiens?

Jason Zucker #16 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his third period goal as Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens looks on in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round.

You can only keep great players down for so long, as the Montreal Canadiens learned last time out – and their ability to contain Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Penguins’ talented forwards will be put to the test Wednesday as the teams play Game 3 of their playoff qualification series in Toronto. They’ve split the first two contests while scoring just nine total goals.


Pittsburgh Penguins vs Montreal Canadiens
  • Date/Time: August 5, 8 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Scotiabank Arena
  • TV Coverage: NBCSN, ATTSN-PT, SNET
  • Opening Odds: Penguins -166 | O/U 5.5 (Line History)
  • Penguins vs Canadiens Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The Penguins opened as hefty -166 favorites in this one, and have actually gained momentum to the point where you’ll now find them anywhere from -170 up to -185. The total of 5.5 has stood pat so far.

Pittsburgh News & Notes

Crosby and Malkin were everywhere in Game 2, combining for 11 shots and a Crosby first-period goal in a 3-1 Pittsburgh win that helped erase the sting of a 3-2 defeat in Game 1. Pittsburgh dominated play from the outset, outshooting Montreal 14-7 in the opening period, but needed Jason Zucker’s insurance goal with five minutes left to secure a little breathing room.

The key to fifth-seeded Pittsburgh doing as expected and putting No. 12 Montreal on the ropes could be solving what has been a mediocre power-play effort so far. The Penguins were 0-for-5 with the man advantage in Game 2 and are a dismal 1-for-12 on the PP in the series; Pittsburgh finished in the middle of the pack in power-play success rate (19.9 percent) in the regular season.

Montreal News & Notes

Slow starts aren’t exactly indicative of how the Canadiens conducted themselves during the season; they finished the 2019-20 campaign with the fifth-most first-period goals (69) while posting a plus-14 goal differential for the stanza. And that’s significant, because Montreal finished minus-8 and minus-18, respectively, in the second and third periods in the regular season.

The Canadiens will also need to be better on the power play, as it’s unlikely they’ll be able to keep that Pittsburgh man-advantage unit at bay for much longer. Montreal was just 22nd on the PP during the season (17.7 percent) and is 0-for-5 in the series; combined with a 19th-ranked penalty kill during the season (78.7 percent), it’s clear Pittsburgh has the edge on special teams.

Betting Pick: OVER

Look for both teams to open things up offensively with a 2-1 series advantage at stake. That, combined with one or both teams improving their power-play fortunes, should push this one OVER the number.


Shark Bites
  • Pittsburgh is 9-4 SU in its last 13 games vs Montreal.
  • Montreal is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 6 of Pittsburgh’s last 9 games vs Eastern Conference opponents.