Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins look to win their fifth straight against the surging Canadiens when the teams meet at the Bell Centre on Thursday night.
Pittsburgh (20-10-1) failed to take advantage of another goal from Crosby on Monday night and lost 3-2 to Carolina. After missing the Penguins’ 2-1 overtime defeat to Chicago on Saturday, Crosby scored his 20th goal and eighth in four games.
“I felt pretty good,” he said. “Hopefully (the injury) won’t give me any more trouble.”
Crosby has recorded four goals and one assist in two games against Montreal (14-14-2) this season, both of which were played in Pittsburgh. The Penguins have won four in row versus the Canadiens, outscoring them 12-3 over the last three matchups.
Crosby, though, was held without a point in his last two games at Montreal and did not score a goal in his last five there. He will also be facing a Canadiens team that gave up a total of three goals in winning its last three games.
Pittsburgh allowed two goals or fewer in three straight contests before the loss to the Hurricanes - its first in regulation since a 3-2 defeat to the New York Islanders on Nov. 27. The Penguins struggled offensively over their last two games after totaling 17 goals in their previous three contests.
Mike Rupp, though, has continued to give Pittsburgh some unexpected production. He scored the Penguins’ other goal versus Carolina, giving him four goals and an assist in his last four games.
The center has nine goals - three more than he had in any of his previous six seasons.
Montreal has settled down defensively after a rough stretch. The Canadiens gave up 15 goals during a 0-3-1 skid prior to their winning streak.
Montreal goaltenders have gotten plenty of support over the last week, as the Canadiens scored 12 goals in their last three games.
Mike Cammalleri, Marc-Andre Bergeron(notes) and Andrei Kostitsyn(notes) have scored in two straight contests for the Canadiens. Cammalleri had five goals in his last three contests, giving him 17 on the season.
Kostitsyn is trying to rebound from a terrible start. He recorded three goals and six assists in his last nine games after getting one goal and four assists in his previous 20.
Kostitsyn scored 49 goals over his previous two seasons.