On a Zoom call earlier this week, Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese said he didn't know who was on the Canadiens' top line. He should. They're good.
The line of Tomas Tatar, Phillip Danault, and Brendan Gallagher outscored opponents 36-26 this year in 5-on-5 play. They will own a territorial advantage at times. Danault is one of the better unheralded two-way centers in the NHL. I'd imagine his line will get the lion's share of the minutes against the Sidney Crosby unit.
How will Claude Julien deploy his top defense pairing of Ben Chiarot and Shea Weber? I'd stagger them with the Danault group and give them the task of slowing down Evgeni Malkin, Jason Zucker, and Bryan Rust. We will see what the Stanley Cup winning head coach has in store.
Which forwards will check the Malkin line? It appears that this job will go to Jonathan Drouin, Nick Suzuki, and Joel Armia. That's ROOKIE Nick Suzuki as the pivot on the Montreal second line.
A rookie against Conn Smythe winner Evgeni Malkin? The Penguins will take that matchup all day long. Jonathan Drouin isn't exactly known for his defensive prowess.
The Pens top-line MAY well win it's battle against the Phillip Danault group, but I have NO doubt that Jason Zucker, Evgeni Malkin, and Bryan Rust will eat against the Canadiens second line.
I'm expecting Geno to be the Penguins best player in this series which will be a warm up before the Pens get to the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Pens in three.