Montreal Canadians (13-11-6) @ Pittsburgh Penguins (17-9-4)
NHL: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at PPG Paints Arena
Line & Odds: Montreal Canadians +135/Pittsburgh Penguins -135
The Montreal Canadians visit the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena for what should be a competitive match-up between two of the top offensive teams in the league.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have had a strong showing so far this season, and are currently the fifth best team in the Eastern Conference. Despite this strong start they still find themselves in a Wild Card spot because of the strength of the Metropolitan division and the abundance of injuries their team has collected already this season. They are currently missing one of the top talents in the NHL in Sidney Crosby as well as Justin Schultz, Brian Dumoulin, Patric Hornqvist and Nick Bjugstad. They were also without Evgeni Malkin, who has become their star since Crosby has been out, for a few games to start the year. However, even with the injuries, the Penguins are one of the most well balanced teams in the NHL. They score 3.4 goals per game (6th in NHL) on 34.0 shots on goal (4th in NHL) and 10.0% shooting (12th in NHL). On the defensive end they are just as strong allowing 2.7 goals per game (T7th in NHL) on 29.4 shots on goal (5th in NHL). They are also extremely disciplined committing only 6.9 penalty minutes per game (T4th in NHL).
The Montreal Canadians started off the season extremely strong and by November 15th had a record of 11-5-3. However, since then they've lost eight of their last ten games. A big reason for this bad run of play has been their defense, which normally isn't very good, but in these last ten games has been horrendous, allowing 4.4 goals per game. Offensively, they've been able to hold their own as they score 3.17 goals per game (T11th in NHL) on 35.2 shots on goal (1st in NHL) and 9.0% shooting (21st in NHL). They have been average when it come to scoring on the power play (19.0%, 15th in NHL) and winning faceoffs (50.1%, 15th in NHL), but defensively they are foul the least and average just 6.5 penalty minutes per game, which is the best in the NHL. They luckily haven't had to deal with many injuries, but they have had to deal with the absence of Jonathan Drouin, which was easily one of their top scorers before going down. They now have a committee of contributors at the top with four players having 23 points or more. They'll need all of them to contribute if they are to get out of this hole they've dug themselves in.
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