Qualifying Round Preview – Montreal Canadiens v. Pittsburgh Penguins

With the Qualifying Round taking place to determine who will advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and who gets a shot at the first overall pick in the NHL Draft, we take a look at the upcoming best of five game series between the Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins.


The Penguins

The Penguins look to take down the Canadiens in grand fashion as they will be locked, stocked, and ready to rock with captain Sidney Crosby ready to lead the charge. With the team returning at full strength thanks to the extended time off due to the pandemic, it will take the Canadiens a miracle to stop the Penguins fire power from overwhelming them. Also the return of forward Jake Guentzel, who wasn’t supposed to be back until the start of the 2020-21 season, will add a much needed punch to the offense along with trade pickups Jason Zucker, Conor Sheary, and Patrick Marleau.


The Canadiens

For Montreal the biggest weapon they will pose against the Penguins will be a well rested Carey Price between the pipes and if he gets on his game right away could make the Canadiens being a twelve seed in the playoffs a reality. The Canadiens will also have the luxury of having Jonathan Drouin, Victor Mete, and Tomas Tatar back in the lineup too, as they were out of the lineup due to injuries at the time of the pause.


The Difference Maker

Goaltending is going to be the key in this one. Despite Pittsburgh overwhelming advantage in both offense and defense, their goaltending is still suspect. Who do they go with? Two-time Stanley Cup Champion Matt Murray (20-11-5, 2.87 GAA, .899 S%) or Tristan Jarry (20-12-1, 2.43 GAA, .921 S%)? We know what Carey Price is capable of, but what about in Pittsburgh, because that’s where the chink in their armor is.


Projected Lineups

PIT Home

Jake Guentzel — Sidney Crosby — Conor Sheary

Jason Zucker — Evgeni Malkin — Bryan Rust

Patrick Marleau — Jared McCann — Patric Hornqvist

Zach Aston-Reese — Teddy Blueger — Brandon Tanev

Kris Letang — Brian Dumoulin

John Marino — Marcus Pettersson

Justin Schultz — Jack Johnson

Matt Murray

Tristan Jarry


MON Home

Tomas Tatar — Max Domi — Brendan Gallagher

Jonathan Drouin — Phillip Danault — Joel Armia

Paul Byron — Nick Suzuki — Jordan Weal

Artturi Lehkonen — Jake Evans — Dale Weise

Ben Chiarot — Shea Weber

Brett Kulak — Jeff Petry

Victor Mete — Christian Folin

Carey Price

Charlie Lindgren




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