Fresh off earning his second Olympic gold medal, Sidney Crosby will get back to work for the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight when they host the Montreal Canadiens at CONSOL Energy Center.
Viewers in the Canadiens region can watch the action unfold on TSN Canadiens at 7pm et/8pm at. The game can also be heard on TSN Radio 690 at 7pm et/8pm at.
Crosby famously delivered the overtime game-winner for Team Canada in the 2010 gold medal game against the United States, but unlike four years ago in Vancouver the Canadians didn't need a dramatic finish to repeat as Olympic champions.
Montreal will try to bounce back from a loss in its first game after the Olympics. The Canadiens were handed a 2-1 overtime loss by visiting Detroit on Wednesday to have a three-game winning streak halted.
The Habs did not have No. 1 goaltender Carey Price for their first game back after he suffered a lower-body injury at practice on Wednesday morning. Price, who also will miss tonight's game, anchored Team Canada in its gold medal run in Sochi, posting a 5-0 record, a 0.59 goals against average and .972 save percentage.
Budaj well get the call between the pipes again this evening.
The Canadiens still managed to notch a point thanks to Brian Gionta's game- tying tally with just 28.7 seconds left in regulation.
"In the third we started to pressure their 'D' a little more and it paid off in the end," Gionta said. "In the first two periods, they were able to come through out of their zone quite easily."
Budaj could get another start tonight for the Habs. Montreal also recalled Dustin Tokarski from its AHL affiliate in Hamilton on Wednesday to take Price's place on the roster.
The Canadiens and Penguins have split a pair of games so far this season, but Pittsburgh has won four of five and seven of its last nine meetings with Montreal.
The Habs, who are playing five of their next six games on the road, have dropped five straight in the Steel City.
Pittsburgh returns from the break with a healthy 16-point lead atop the Metropolitan Division, but the club still has injury concerns to deal with. Defenseman Kris Letang is still out due to a stroke suffered prior to the Olympics. Fellow blueliner Paul Martin is out for at least a month after injuring his hand while representing the U.S. in Sochi.
The Pens were 4-1-1 in their final six outings before the Olympics. The club's next game will be played outdoors when Pittsburgh visits the Chicago Blackhawks for Saturday's game at Soldier Field, home of the NFL's Chicago Bears.
Maurice's Jets welcome Coyotes to MTS Centre
The Winnipeg Jets have thrived under Paul Maurice despite injury limiting Evander Kane to just four games under the new head coach.
Kane is expected to return to the lineup tonight when the Jets face the Phoenix Coyotes.
Viewers in the Jets region can watch the action live on TSN Jets at 6:30pm ct/7:30pm et. The game can also be heard on TSN Radio 1290 at 7pm ct/8pm et.
Winnipeg has gone 9-3-1 in 13 games since replacing Claude Noel with Maurice, who made his coaching debut with the club in a 5-1 win over the Coyotes on Jan. 13. Ondrej Pavelec made 18 saves and the Jets got goals from five different players to beat the Coyotes for a second straight time following a six-game series losing streak.
The Jets have also won both of their meetings at home versus the Coyotes since relocating from Atlanta.
Coincidentally, the Coyotes franchise used to call Winnipeg home before moving to Phoenix prior to the 1996-97 season.
The current Jets have endured just one losing streak under Noel, a current two-game slide that includes a shootout setback to St. Louis in the final game before the Olympic break.
Kane missed the last six games with a hand infection and has been limited to just four games since Jan. 7 due to injury. He has 15 goals and 29 points in 42 games this season.
"I want him to play his game in our framework," Maurice said of what he wants to see out of Kane. "That's what I'm asking from everybody. Keep the individual things that make you special, just fly in formation, especially when we don't have the puck."
The Jets come in with 62 points, two fewer than the Coyotes, who trail the Vancouver Canucks by just one point for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. Phoenix also is six points behind Los Angeles for third place in the Pacific Division.
Consistency has been an issue for the Coyotes, who lost their final game before the Olympic break and are 4-5-1 since last winning back-to-back games on Jan. 16 and 18.
Phoenix returns five players to its roster who competed in the Sochi Olympics, including goaltender Mike Smith, who won a gold medal with Team Canada even though he did not get into a game during the tournament.
"I knew going over there that there'd be a good possibility that I wouldn't get into a game," Smith told Phoenix's website. "I was just doing everything I could to be a part of the team and kind of keep the dressing room light and get to know a lot of the guys I play against (in the NHL)."
Like the Coyotes, Smith has had an up-and-down season, going 20-17-9 with a 2.77 goals against average and .913 save percentage.
Smith yielded all five goals on 38 shots in the earlier loss to the Jets, falling to 7-6-0 with a 2.53 GAA against the franchise.
Pavelec is 2-1-1 in his career versus the Coyotes, posting a 1.73 GAA.
Granlund, Ortio to make NHL debuts as Flames host Kings
Fourteen points out of a playoff spot and considered a team still rebuilding, the Calgary Flames may feature a number of new faces down the stretch of the season.
That will be the case tonight when a pair of players make their NHL debuts in a clash with the Los Angeles Kings.
Watch the game live on TSN at 9:30pm et/6:30pm pt.
Goaltender Joni Ortio and forward Markus Granlund are both expected to play tonight for the Flames after putting together solid campaigns so far with the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League.
The 20-year-old Granlund, a 2011 second-round pick of the Flames, has netted 23 goals and 44 points in 50 games with the Heat. He is expected to center the fourth line between Paul Byron and Kevin Westgarth.
"You can play only one first NHL game, so I'm just going to try and enjoy the game," said Granlund.
Ortio, who like Granlund hails from Finland, is 20-6-0 in 28 games with the Heat this season, posting an impressive 2.22 goals against average. His start tonight will give Swiss Reto Berra some extra time to recover after having traveled to Sochi, Russia for the Olympics.
Flames goaltender Karri Ramo is currently out with a sprained right MCL, opening the door for Ortio to debut along with Granlund.
"It's exciting. I'm happy that we get to make our debut at the same time," Ortio grinned. "It's a fun coincidence and it's going to be fun."
The Flames sit 14 points out of a wild card spot despite winning six of eight going into the Olympic break. They have managed to beat the Kings twice already this season in Los Angeles and will try to defeat the club at home for the first time in five encounters.
The Kings will play their second game following the Olympic break, having bested the hosting Colorado Avalanche 6-4 last night. Anze Kopitar had two goals and an assist, while Justin Williams and Jeff Carter helped the rally with a goal and an assist each.
Kopitar and Carter scored 2:04 apart in the second period to tie the game at 4-4 and Kopitar's power-play goal 3:13 into the third frame put his club ahead for good.
"Those two quick (goals) at the end of the second were huge and we carried that momentum into the third," Kopitar said. "It's nice to start off the third with a power play."
Robyn Regehr and Jarret Stoll also lit the lamp as the Kings have won two straight following a four-game slide. They did so by scoring six goals, nearly half the output of the 15 goals they had scored in their previous 11 games.
Quick may start tonight and is 8-5-1 with a 1.62 GAA and .935 save percentage in 14 previous meetings with the Flames.
Los Angeles is five points ahead of Vancouver for third place in the Pacific Division.