Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Wednesday, October 10th
Game 2: Saturday, October 27th
Game 3: Saturday, January 19th
Game 4: Thursday, February 21st

Penguins 2

(27-17-3, 57 pts)

Canadiens 0

(24-15-8, 56 pts)

7:00 PM ET, January 19, 2008

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

1 2 3 T
PIT 1 0 12
MTL 0 0 00

D. Sabourin (Penguins - G): Saves: 31, Save Pct.: 1.000

C. Huet (Canadiens - G): Saves: 24, Save Pct.: .960

M. Komisarek (Canadiens - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Penguins-Canadiens Preview


First, reigning Hart Trophy winner Sidney Crosby went down in a heap, followed by the Pittsburgh Penguins' points streak.

They can only hope their dreams of an Atlantic Division title and deep playoff run didn't disappear as well.

Pittsburgh (26-17-3), which will be without its captain indefinitely, tries to rebound from its first regulation loss in 11 games on Saturday when it faces the surging Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre.

Crosby, tied for the league lead with 63 points, was injured halfway through the first period of the Penguins' 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay on Friday. He was shooting from the edge of the right circle when Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger rammed him with his stick.

Crosby dropped to the ice and fell awkwardly into the rear boards. He was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, an injury more serious than a traditional twisted ankle as it can sideline an athlete for a month or more.

"Obviously, it is a huge loss," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "There is no team that can deal with losing the best player in the league. He is the heart of the team and he is our leader. We are going to face adversity and we are going to have to battle through it."

The Penguins haven't had much experience playing without Crosby during his three years as a pro. They're 0-2-2 without him and have scored only seven goals.

Crosby had four goals and 12 assists as the Penguins went 9-0-1 from Dec. 23-Jan. 14, moving them into a first-place tie with New Jersey in the Atlantic. Much of the Pens' offense will likely come from Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh's leading goal scorer with 23.

"Right now, since we lost our leader and our captain, I'm going to try my best and raise my game," said Malkin, who has 52 points.

Malkin had a six-game point streak, during which he'd tallied eight goals and three assists, snapped against the Lightning. But he's never played a game against the Canadiens in which he's failed to score, tallying two goals and eight assists in six career games.

Another impressive streak ended in the Penguins' first loss of 2008 belonged to goaltender Ty Conklin. Called up in mid-December to replace the injured Marc-Andre Fleury -- who has a high ankle sprain -- had been 10-0-1 with a 1.72 goals-against average prior to allowing three goals for the first time in nine games on Friday.

Montreal (24-14-8) has won two straight and has lost just once in regulation in its last 10 games, posting a 7-1-2 record. Six of those wins have come on the road, where the Canadiens are an impressive 16-7-3.

They're just 8-7-5 at home.

"We seem to be a lot more comfortable on the road," Montreal coach Guy Carbonneau said. "We still have a young team, and on the road you have less distractions."

The Canadiens closed out a four-game road trip with a 3-2 shootout win in Atlanta on Thursday. Cristobal Huet wasn't happy with the two goals he allowed in regulation, but stopped both Thrashers' shots in the tiebreaker.

"It was a good chance to redeem myself," Huet said. "I definitely felt I owed the team something after the two goals."

Huet is 8-1-2 with a 2.39 GAA in his 11 starts since Dec. 20. He's 3-0-0 against the Penguins in his career with a 1.46 GAA.

Montreal has won both of the teams' meeting this season in Pittsburgh. The Penguins haven't won at the Bell Centre since March 18, 2006.