“He suffered a minor concussion and he's going to follow protocol,” explained the Habs coach of Bournival’s injury, having taken a stick to the face against the Canucks. “It's nothing major, but he's showing some symptoms so we have to be careful. He'll miss tonight's game, which is too bad because we've really liked what we've seen from his line. We'll adjust. An accident happened in the last game and we're hoping he'll be good to go after the Olympic break.”
With Bournival out, Francis Bouillon will be back in the lineup on Saturday night after missing the last eight games as a healthy scratch. Michel Therrien will go with a lineup of 11 forwards and seven defensemen and he confirmed all seven defensemen will play defense, while he will double shift a forward in Bournival’s spot alongside Ryan White and Dale Weise.
One day after the opening ceremonies officially kicked off the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, a single game remains for the Canadiens before the NHL goes on a two-week hiatus. With seven Habs bound for Russia and the rest of the team heading off in different directions for the break, U.S. Olympian Max Pacioretty insists the team’s focus hasn’t drifted from the final 60 minutes that awaits them in Raleigh.
“There are obviously a lot of distractions right now,” admitted Pacioretty, who had a hat trick against the Canucks on Thursday and will be joined by Carey Price, P.K. Subban, Peter Budaj, Tomas Plekanec, Alexei Emelin and Andrei Markov in Sochi. “We have to just focus on getting two points tonight. The coaches have done a good job of reminding us that every point is important. We had a bit of a tough stretch and we seem to have figured it out now so to get three [wins] in a row would be a great feeling heading into the break. But they're not going to hand it to us; we're going to have to work hard.”
Carey Price will get his 48th start of the season. It will be the 26-year-old’s 17th career start against Carolina, carrying a 9-5-2 record, 2.44 goals-against average and .925 save percentage into Saturday’s game in Raleigh.
Potential line combinations and D pairings for Saturday’s game
Game preview: MTL @ CAR
Words from the room
On The Road Blog: Raleigh
- The Montreal Canadiens have acquired the centerman Robert Czarnik from the Los Angeles Kings, in exchange for forward Steve Quailer.
Czarnik, aged 24, was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings 63rd overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. In 29 games with the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs this season, he has one goal and four assists.
The centerman will report to the Hamilton Bulldogs, Montreal’s AHL affiliate.
- Forwards present were Daniel Briere, Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher, Lars Eller, Michael Bournival, Ryan White, Dale Weise and George Parros.
- Defensemen Josh Gorges, P.K. Subban, Davis Drewiske, Nathan Beaulieu, Francis Bouillon and Douglas Murray also practiced.
- As of Tuesday morning, there are no projected line-up changes for the game against the Canucks. Carey Price will get the start, most likely against Olympic teammate Roberto Luongo
- With many fans keeping a close eye on the game contested between the two potential Team Canada starters, Canadiens right-winger Brendan Gallagher plans on doing what he can to help his goalie get the win.
“Price has been unbelievable this year. He’s at the top of his game and always getting better, even if it’s hard to imagine,” underlined the second-year NHLer. “It’s up to us to put together a good game in front of him and help him out. It’s a team effort that leads to wins.”
- Gallagher’s linemate David Desharnais was pleasantly surprised to hear that his friend and role model Martin St-Louis was named to Team Canada’s Olympic roster, in replacement for the injured Steven Stamkos.
“I’m really happy for him. It seems like he’s still getting better. With the kind of season he’s been having, I was surprised that he wasn’t selected earlier. I think he will make a big difference for Team Canada in Sochi,” offered the centerman.
- Forward Dale Weise will face off against his former team three days after being traded to Montreal in exchange for Raphael Diaz.
“I’m excited. It’ll be a bit weird. I’ve never been traded before, so it’ll be special to play against my old teammates,” revealed Weise, who played ten NHL games with the New York Rangers before becoming a Canuck.
The newest Hab also warned against underestimating the strength of Vancouver’s roster. While the John Tortorella-coached team has struggled in the past weeks, it nevertheless has a core of All-Star talent and could break out at any time.
“They are dealing with a lot of injuries recently, but they’re a good team. It will not be an easy game for us,” insisted number 22, who made a good first impression on his first game in Montreal with three shots on net in a 2-0 victory over the Flames. “The Canucks have a lot of talent and it’s just a matter of time before they get going.”
PROJECTED LINE-UP VS. VAN
Carey Price, fresh off a shutout in Tuesday’s 2-0 win against the Calgary Flames, was first on the ice alongside Peter Budaj to work on drills with goalie coach Stephane Waite.
Speaking of the Flames, the team remained in Montreal and practiced at the other ice surface at the Bell Sports Complex.
Defenseman Davis Drewiske has been cleared for contact and skated with a regular blue jersey. He was paired with
Max Pacioretty, Douglas Murray and Travis Moen did not practice. Moen is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, while Pacioretty and Murray took a therapy day.
The morning session was an ideal opportunity for Olympics-bound players to break in new equipment. Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin and Tomas Plekanec all debuted glove that they will be wearing while defending their countries’ colors in Sochi.
LINES AT PRACTICE
- After a day off on Monday, the Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Flames. Calgary is riding a season-high five-game winning streak, while the Habs have dropped two straight.
- All players were present and accounted for on Tuesday morning, expect for Travis Moen who did not take part in practice due to a lower-body injury. Moen will not dress against the Flames.
- After being acquired from the Vancouver Canucks on Monday in exchange for Raphael Diaz, forward Dale Weise will make his Canadiens debut against the Flames. In the midst of his third full NHL season, the 25-year-old is ecstatic about the opportunity to suit up for the team he idolized as a kid. Now, he wants to show the Habs brass what he’s capable of.
“I’m excited to be here. I’m a hard-working guy. I want to bring some energy. I’m a reliable guy that can pitch in and maybe contribute some offense from time to time,” offered Weise, who will be paired with Michael Bournival and Ryan White against the Flames. “I think this is going to be a fresh start for me. I’m excited. It’s a new coaching staff. It’s a new organization. They’ll get to know what type of person I am, and what type of player I am, too.”
Head coach Michel Therrien believes Weise will be an imposing force in the Canadiens lineup, noting that the 6-foot-2, 210-pound right-winger will certainly be able to hold his own from a physicality standpoint.
“He fills a need for us with his physical presence. He’s very explosive on the ice, especially on the forecheck. That’s one of the reasons that we’re very happy to have acquired him,” underlined Therrien, who had the chance to sit down with Weise for a one-on-one chat prior to Tueday’s morning skate. “We told him that we want him to be himself and we want to make sure he’s playing his own game. He brings some speed, he’s good on the forecheck, he plays the wall well, and he’s got some size. He fills a need that we’ve been looking for.”
- For his part, White returns to the lineup after missing the last 14 games with an upper-body injury that he suffered back on Jan. 2 in Dallas. Needless to say, the 25-year-old is chomping at the bit to return to active duty against Calgary.
“It’s good to be back in the lineup. I’m excited to play. I just want to get out there and help my team,” indicated White, before offering up his thoughts on the acquisition of a player of Weise’s size and stature.
“The biggest thing is [Dale and I] want to help each other and contribute to our team’s success,” cited White. “It doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup. We’re going to push each other to get better.”
- With the departure of Raphael Diaz, young Nathan Beaulieu will likely assume more responsibilities as the season rolls on. While the 21-year-old rearguard has impressed members of the Canadiens coaching staff with his stellar play in recent outings, he isn’t taking anything for granted at this point in his NHL career.
“Every day is a tryout for me. It doesn’t matter what [Marc Bergevin] decides to do. I’ve got to come in here and stay humble and treat every day like it’s a tryout, like it’s training camp,” stressed Beaulieu, who will play in his 14th game of the season for the Canadiens on Tuesday night. “I’m a young kid and I realize that they’re giving me a huge opportunity here, so the way I look at it is that every day is a tryout and I’ve got to work hard every day. I’ve got to prove that I deserve to be here.”
- Defenseman Davis Drewiske took part in the morning skate sporting a blue “no contact” jersey.
- Carey Price will likely make his 46th start of the season on Tuesday night.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Gionta - Plekanec - Briere
Pacioretty - Desharnais - Gallagher
Prust - Eller - Bourque
Bournival - White - Weise
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday morning ahead of a pair of upcoming contests over the weekend. The Habs will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday afternoon before battling the Winnipeg Jets on Superbowl Sunday.
- Before practice, Carey Price and goalie coach Stephane Waite spent several minutes on the ice with a young hockey player who had the opportunity to take part in goaltending drills with the All-Star netminder as part of a Children’s Wish Foundation initiative.
- Brandon Prust did not take part in Friday’s on-ice session. He is suffering from flu-like symptoms.
- Ryan White practiced alongside his teammates for the first time since sustaining an upper-body injury on Jan. 2 in Dallas. He was sporting a white jersey, indicating that he has likely been cleared for contact.
- Davis Drewiske was back on the ice again on Friday morning sporting a maroon “no contact” jersey.
- Christian Thomas took part in practice after being called up from the Hamilton Bulldogs on Thursday afternoon. He skated alongside Rene Bourque and Lars Eller.
- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Price will get the start in goal for the Canadiens against the Lightning on Saturday afternoon. He did not, however, indicate who would get the call against the Jets on Sunday. Price will be taking on Tampa Bay for the 20th time in his career. The Anahim Lake, BC native holds a 10-6-3 record, a 2.37 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage versus the Lightning.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Bournival – Plekanec – Gionta
Pacioretty – Desharnais - Gallagher
Bourque – Eller - Thomas
Parros – Moen – Briere
Subban – Gorges
Emelin – Markov
Murray – Beaulieu
Diaz – Bouillon
The Canadiens recalled forward Christian Thomas from the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs. He should join the team for practice in Brossard on Friday morning.
In 23 games with the Bulldogs in 2013-14, Thomas has racked up nine assists and 14 points.
BOSTON – The Canadiens held an optional morning skate at the TD Garden ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Bruins.
Davis Drewiske, who is on the mend from a shoulder injury suffered in training camp, made the trip with the team and skated on Thursday morning.
Andrei Markov, who missed practice on Wednesday, was back on the ice with the team and will play against the Bruins.
The Habs will take on the Bruins for the second time this season, having won the previous meeting 2-1 at the Bell Centre on December 5 2013. This time, Peter Budaj will be in net, he who is 3-1-0 in five appearances against Boston in the course of his career. It will be his first start since January 8 in Philadelphia.
“It’s part of the plan that we’ve created with [goalie coach] Stephane Waite,” explained coach Michel Therrien regarding the decision to start Budaj over Carey Price, who posted a 36-save shutout in the team’s previous game, against Carolina. “We are coming up toward a stretch of four games in six days and it’s very important for us to manage Carey’s energy level so that he can be at his best when he plays.”
Other than the identity of the starting goaltender, Therrien confirmed that he will be going with the same line-up which brought his team the win on Tuesday against the Hurricanes.
Despite Boston scoring six goals in its three previous games, Brendan Gallagher believes in his team’s chances against on Thursday night.
“They come at your with all four lines and have been playing good hockey in front of their fans recently, but we’re going to show up and focus on what we need to do to win this game, things we do that make us successful” the right-winger offered. “We’ll need everyone to work together and play as a five-man unit.”
While Gallagher knows that the home team will throw everything they’ve got at him come game time, he relishes the opportunity to ply his craft in one of the toughest buildings of the NHL.
“I like this building and its atmosphere. Every game we play against the Bruins is emotional, it’s competitive; it’s a lot of fun,” revealed the second-year Hab.
One player intimately familiar with the intensity of the Montreal-Boston rivalry is defenseman P.K. Subban, the recipient of cheers and boos in equal measure when playing at the Bell Centre and the TD Garden respectively.
“I think we’ve done a great job of sticking together in the rough times this year,” acknowledged the reigning Norris Trophy winner, who has seen his team snap a four-game losing streak with a 3-0 win in its previous outing. “We’re just focusing on every game, taking it one step at a time and realizing that not everything will go the way we want all the time. I think we’ve responded well to adversity so far.”
For Subban, fighting for a win against the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins means having to play a controlled, disciplined game in all three zones.
“Last game, we played a good team game. The win was the icing on the cake, but mostly we played the right way and supported each other in all three zones. We were good on the breakout, our gap was tight in the neutral zone and we made sure to keep the pressure on. We did a lot of great things [against Carolina on Tuesday],” stated Subban.
- The Canadiens skated in Brossard on Wednesday morning ahead of their afternoon departure for Boston where they’ll take on the Bruins on Thursday night.
- Defenseman Davis Drewiske skated alongside his teammates for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery in mid-October. He was sporting a “no contact” jersey and will accompany the team to Boston.
- Andrei Markov did not take part in the practice session on Wednesday morning. He was given a therapy day.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Louis Leblanc has been reassigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs this afternoon. In three games with the Canadiens, the centerman obtained two shots on net while averaging over six minutes of icetime per game.