Rusnak: Habs gearing up to face streaking Penguins Tuesday

Jessica Rusnak,

3/25/2013 3:46:46 PM

The Habs head off on a very important road trip of back-to-back games, making their first stop tomorrow night in Pittsburgh and then Boston on Wednesday.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are on a 12-game win streak that the Habs hope to end.

During the weekend, Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin claimed Jeff Halpern off waivers from the New York Rangers. Halpern previously played for the Habs during the 2010-2011 NHL season. Halpern, who is a penalty kill and faceoff specialist, was brought to Montreal to do just that. Montreal's penalty kill is ranked at 18th in the league and will need all the help it can get when they face Pittsburgh's dynamic power play that's currently listed as second best in the NHL.

Michel Therrien was asked why the team chose to add Halpern to their roster when they have Petri Nokelainen available for them in the minors. The Canadiens placed Nokelainen on waivers on March 14, after going unclaimed he was sent down to the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Nokelainen and Halpern are arguably the same type of players, but Nokelainen has been dealing with injuries that have kept him out of the line up since March of 2012. That, according to Therrien, was the major factor as to why they went with Halpern over Nokelainen. Carey Price will get the start tomorrow in Pittsburgh, Therrien would not say who will be his goaltender Wednesday in Boston.

Injury updates:

Rene Bourque (concussion), last seen skating with the team on Thursday March 21, is not progressing the way the team has hoped. He has stopped practicing with the Habs and has not been seen skating on his own either.

Brandon Prust injured his shoulder in Tampa Bay earlier this month and was expected to be out for 10-14 days, but his injury is taking longer than expected to heal. Prust has been skating and was hopeful to be back this week, but he is still dealing with pain and discomfort.

Yannick Weber (knee injury) has been cleared for contact and is making the trip with the rest of the team but no word yet if he'll play in Pittsburgh or Boston.

No new update on Raphael Diaz (concussion) or Ryan White (lower body).