KEY POINTS

  • Penguins continue chase for Metropolitan supremacy
  • Canadiens flagged as underdogs on the road
  • Jason Zucker aims to perform better on Friday

The Pittsburgh Penguins will have to summon their resiliency after the multiple failed attempts to trip the Washington Capitals from reigning supreme in the Metropolitan Division. No thanks to their arduous schedule that had them facing several contenders who averted their progress to the top. But as they continue their four-game homestand, the Penguins will try to stamp their class right from the get-go when they host the Montreal Canadiens on Friday. 

Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens served the Penguins a taste of their vicious force when they last met on Dec. 10, winning via a 4-1 resounding finish. It is not indicative of how things are actually running overall, though. While the Penguins are in a tight race for a division summit, the Canadiens are exhausting all possible means just to stay alive in the competition. Just when they finally got their rhythm running by winning nine of a prior 12-game stretch, Montreal hit a stumbling block, dropping their next two since to fall to eight points removed from a wildcard spot. 

Pittsburgh Penguins

Jason Zucker made his Pittsburgh debut Tuesday night after being acquired from Minnesota just the day before. But the forward was far from satisfied with his performance, admitting that he was not able to handle the puck well for most of the game. He can’t be blamed on being too hard on himself, though, as the Penguins dropped their second game in the last six after a streaking Tampa Bay pulled off a 2-1 gut puncher in OT Tuesday. After a rough start with the team, Sidney Crosby preaches patience on Zucker who is still getting along with a fresh system along with a fresh group of guys.

Odds and Trends

Pittsburgh got the shorter price to win as favorites at home based on the NHL Odds, being offered at -200. The Canadiens will seek to buck a +170 underdog price.

The Canadiens are 5-1 in their last 6 Friday games and 4-1 in their last 5 road games.

The Penguins are 11-0 in their last 11 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game and 6-0 in their last 6 Friday games.  

Under is 3-0-1 in Canadiens last 4 vs. a team with a winning record and 4-0 in Penguins last 4 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.

Over is 4-1 in Penguins last 5 Friday games.

Prediction

Money line: Penguins

Total: Under

sidney crosby penguins 2016 Sidney Crosby, right, and the Penguins drop the puck against the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals Monday. Photo: Getty Images