Thursday, February 21, 2008

Next Up ---> Malkin and the Pens

Coming off their biggest comeback in franchise history, the Montreal Canadiens look to get their first 5 game winning streak of the season against the Pittsburgh Penguins (34-21-5). Montreal (33-19-9) is tied for first place in the Eastern Conference with the Ottawa Senators. Although Ottawa has a game in hand, a Montreal win combined with an Ottawa loss in regulation or overtime will catapult them out of fourth and into first.

This will be no easy task; the Penguins seem to be playing their best hockey as of late without their All-Star Sidney "CryBaby" Crosby who was sidelined with a high ankle sprain against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan 18. The Pens needed a boost in order to keep their playoff hopes alive and they got it from the Russian Phenom Evgeni "I'm So Good" Malkin. In 14 games without CryBaby, Malkin has scored 27 points, and has overtaken the NHL scoring lead with 79 points.

Even though the Penguins are only 2 points behind, no team in all of sports is on a bigger high than the Montreal Canadiens. The team showed great character to comeback after being killed in the first period and half of the second in their own building. Alexei "Look at my hair" Kovalev, who scored his team-leading 28th and 29th goals of the season on Tuesday night, spoke about how the fans kept the game alive. "What else can you say about these fans?" said the Russian. "Hearing all that cheering energizes me and it makes me want to give even more back to the fans."

Tomorrow nights affair will no doubt be interesting. The 21,273 Bell Centre "Fans" will be all over the Penguins and their Star. Each game right now is as important as the next, and the Habs know it. The Habs will hopefully skate past the furry little creatures and into first place tomorrow night. Projected score -----Habs 4-2.


2007-2008 Team Stats
73 Points: 75
34 Wins: 33
6 Shutouts: 3
4 Power Play Rank: 1
23 Penalty Kill Rank: 20
.765 Win % When Leading After 1: .808
.893 Win % When Leading After 2: .821
.429 Win % When Trailing After 1: .235
.273 Win % When Trailing After 2: .130

GOALS: E. Malkin 34
A. Kovalev 29
ASSISTS: E. Malkin 45
A. Markov 35
POINTS: E. Malkin 79
A. Kovalev 61
+/-: S. Crosby 15
A. Kovalev 12
OT GOALS: S. Gonchar 1
A. Kovalev 1

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