Following a short break for All-Star Weekend, the Canadiens hit the ice for practice at the Wells Fargo Center ahead of Tuesday night’s contest against the Philadelphia Flyers.
All players were accounted for with the exception of P.K. Subban, who was given the day off after participating in the All-Star Game in Nashville and Alexei Emelin who was absent from practice due to a flight cancellation but is expected to meet the team in Philadelphia ahead of Tuesday night’s game.
Forwards Sven Andrighetto and Lucas Lessio joined teammates for practice in Philadelphia after being called up to the Canadiens on Sunday. At Monday’s practice, the two wingers rotated on a line with Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn. In his first practice in a Canadiens uniform, Lessio sported the number 53.
Captain Max Pacioretty, who was forced to leave the Canadiens most recent contest against the Blue Jackets on February 26, was also back at practice where he skated alongside David Desharnais and Dale Weise.
In addition, coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Tom Gilbert is ready to make his return to the lineup, but has yet to announce whether he will suit up against the Flyers.
Back in Brossard, Carey Price skated without equipment, prompting coach Therrien to joke that he is “looking forward to when he starts to look more like a goalie than Gaétan Boucher.” While the Habs bench boss also noted that he does not have an update on Price’s return date.
Lines from practiceGalchenyuk – Plekanec – Gallagher
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Weise
Fleischmann – Eller – Smith-Pelly
Andrighetto/Lessio – Mitchell – Flynn
Andrighetto has 10 goals and 23 points in 26 games with Sylvain Lefebvre’s squad this season. He’s also put up four goals and five points in 17 games with the CH during the 2015-16 campaign.
Lessio, meanwhile, has earned his first call-up with the Canadiens since being acquired on Dec. 15 from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Christian Thomas. The 23-year-old Maple, ON native has amassed three goals and nine points in 18 games with the IceCaps. He has 29 games of NHL experience with the Coyotes.
MONTREAL -- The Canadiens announced during Tuesday’s game that Daniel Carr will be out for three months.
Carr suffered a right knee injury against the Blue Jackets on Monday in Columbus.
In 19 games with the Canadiens this season, the 24-year-old forward has registered five goals and three assists, in addition to another 21 points over 24 games with the St. John’s IceCaps in the AHL.
- The Canadiens hit the ice at Nationwide Arena in Columbus on Monday morning ahead of their game against the Blue Jackets.
- P.K. Subban was the only Hab not on the ice for practice, missing Monday’s skate with a virus. He will be a game-time decision in Columbus. If Subban does miss Monday’s game, it will mark the first time he’s been out of the lineup for illness or injury reasons since he made his NHL debut on Feb. 12, 2010, making the 26-year-old assistant captain the team’s current Iron Man, with 254 consecutive games played.
“We’ll see how he feels tonight. He didn’t feel good yesterday, but he felt a little bit better this morning,” confirmed head coach Michel Therrien. “He’s started eating, which is a good sign. But we’ll see how he feels tonight and we’ll take a decision from there.”
- After skating with the group for the last few practices, Tom Gilbert continues to inch closer to returning from his lower-body injury. Therrien confirmed that if Subban is not able to play in Columbus, Gilbert or Greg Pateryn would replace him in the lineup.
- After turning the page on a tough stretch that saw the team go 5-16-1 dating back to Dec. 1, the Habs will be looking to build on Saturday’s shootout win in Toronto with a second-straight road victory – something the team hasn’t been able to accomplish since posting back-to-back wins in New York and New Jersey on Nov. 27 and 28, respectively.
“Before the Toronto game, our focus was that we wanted a total reset. It’s the same thing tonight,” said Brendan Gallagher, who has five points in nine games since returning from surgery to repair two broken fingers. “You can’t really pay attention to the standings or what’s going on around the league. We can only take care of ourselves. It’s an important game – a road game – and we only have a couple of games left before the break so we want to get some points here. It starts tonight with a good effort so we can go into the break feeling good about ourselves.”
- With just three goals on their last 34 power play opportunities and currently sitting 24th in the league with a 17.2 percent power play efficiency, it was no surprise to see the Habs making some tweaks on the man advantage on Monday morning.
“If there’s an aspect of our game where I believe we have to be better, it’s the power play. We’re going to try different things tonight, but we need better reads and better execution. We’re going to go with a different format to give ourselves a chance to have more success, but definitely we need to attack the zone with a lot more speed,” explained Therrien, who had David Desharnais and Tomas Plekenac taking turns on the point during the morning skate. “We’re standing still too much. We’re going to make some adjustments there, but at the end of the day, it’s good reads and good execution.”
- Both teams will be without their Vezina Trophy-winning starting netminders on Monday night, with Carey Price and Sergei Bobrovsky both sidelined with lower body injuries. Mike Condon will start for the Habs, while fellow rookie Joonas Korpisalo will be between the pipes for the Blue Jackets.
“It’s never easy to lose your No. 1 goalie, there’s no doubt about that,” admitted Therrien, who has been forced to play without his All-Star starter in the lineup for 25 games already this season. “But if you look at the Blue Jackets, they’re still fighting. Forget about their first 10 games – they had a really tough start – but since then, they’ve been in the middle of the pack with everyone. They work hard. They have forwards who can score goals, they’ve got talented, young defensemen, and it’s a challenge to miss their goalie like it is for us, but this is a team that works very hard.”
- In addition to their starting goalie, the Blue Jackets will also be without the services of head coach John Tortorella on Monday and Tuesday night after the Columbus bench boss was accidently taken out by one of his players during an outdoor practice and suffered a pair of broken ribs – something Therrien understands all too well.
“It happened to me twice in my career where I had broken ribs,” recalled Therrien, who was accidently knocked over from behind by Ryan White in Brossard on Feb. 4, 2014, after breaking three ribs on a similar accidental spill during a practice while coaching the Penguins a few years earlier. “I don’t know how Torts feels, but if he’s not there, he must be in a lot of pain. I was behind the bench and it was not easy. I’m sure he’s really well surrounded and the coaches will prepare their team well.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST at Nationwide Arena and will be broadcast on Sportsnet East, RDS, 98,5 FM, and TSN 690.
LINES AND DEFENSE PAIRINGS AT PRACTICEPacioretty-Plekanec-Gallagher
Flynn-Mitchell-De La Rose/Smith-Pelly
Words from the room
Game Preview: Canadiens vs Blue Jackets
- After a late arrival in Columbus following the team’s shootout win in Toronto, the Canadiens held an optional practice at Nationwide Arena on Sunday afternoon. Nine players took part, including Daniel Carr, Greg Pateryn, Tomas Plekanec, Brian Flynn, Jacob De La Rose, Devante Smith-Pelly, Mark Barberio, Tom Gilbert, and Ben Scrivens.
- Michel Therrien indicated that while Gilbert is inching closer to returning from the lower body injury that has kept him out of the lineup since Dec. 22.
- Therrien also confirmed that Mike Condon would be between the pipes on Monday night in Columbus. He won his only other career start against the Blue Jackets earlier this season, a 2-1 victory on Dec. 1 at the Bell Centre.
Boxscore vs. Toronto
TORONTO – The Canadiens skated at the Air Canada Centre ahead of Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. All players took part in the morning skate.
- Daniel Carr will be back in action on Saturday after being recalled from St. John’s on Thursday afternoon. One of the team’s most consistent goal scorers over the month of December with four in 12 games, the 24-year-old forward will skate on a line with Lars Eller and Tomas Fleischmann against the Leafs.
“He’s small, but he’s gritty. This is all part of the process for a young player. We lost Paul Byron who was playing really well before he was injured and he was playing probably some of the best hockey of his career up to that point,” said head coach Michel Therrien. “When a guy gets injured, it opens the door for someone else. In the case of Carr, he’s coming back up with a level of confidence he might not have had early on because he was new to the NHL. He knows what to expect now.”
- Despite having gone 4-16-1 since December 3, the Habs are heading into Saturday’s game feeling optimistic about their ability to turn things around in Toronto. Coming off a team meeting that included general manager Marc Bergevin, the Canadiens are ready to put the past behind them and look to the future, beginning with a rivalry tilt in the Ontario capital.
“We’ve come to terms with what’s happened and we’re ready to turn the page. We’re only looking ahead; we’re not looking at the past at all,” stressed captain Max Pacioretty. “Obviously we didn’t want any of that to happen, but our goal now it to focus on the present and not get caught up in what’s happened. Hopefully individuals can start gaining some confidence here as games go on in the future.
“It’s always emotional playing Toronto,” he added. “It’s a great rivalry. And playing in this building on a Saturday night, you know everyone is watching and all eyes are on this game. Guys tend to step up when the spotlight is on. It’s going to be a fun, exciting game.”
- The league’s highest scoring team at the beginning of the campaign, the Habs have had troubles finding the back of the net of late. About to face Leafs goalie James Reimer, who has allowed just three goals on 74 shots in the last two games, the team’s snipers know they’ll have their work cut out for them when it comes to lighting the lamp at the ACC. Luckily, they’ve had some practice scoring on elite netminders over the years.
“We’ve been struggling to score goals and we know they have a hot goaltender over there, but at the end of the day, we can only worry about our own game. We need to take away his eyes and get second and third chances,” prescribed Pacioretty, who leads the Habs with 19 goals in 2015-16. “We’ve seen it over the years when the only way to beat Carey is to take away his eyes – he can’t stop what he can’t see. We have to do that tonight and make sure we get dirty. That team plays with a lot of pride, so we have to make sure we match their intensity from the puck drop.”
- While he agrees that starting a scoring streak begins by going back to basics, P.K. Subban also knows the prep work for success has to come long before the team hits the ice for the 7:00 p.m. puck drop in Toronto.
“A big part of success in this league is how much confidence you have,” explained Subban. “I feel that the more confident you are, the more you start to see bounces go your way. We have to find ways to feel confident. Sometimes that’s just your preparation as a pro and that’s individual. That has nothing to do with the coach or your teammates; it’s you. We know how to do it and we just have to get back to doing those little things.”
-After leaving Tuesday’s game against the Bruins having played just 4:43 before being sidelined with a lower body injury, Nathan Beaulieu will be back in action on Saturday night alongside Mark Barberio.
-Mike Condon will get his 32nd start of the campaign on Saturday night, facing the Leafs for the first time in the regular season after shutting out Toronto 1-0 in a preseason win this September.
LINES AND DEFENSE PAIRINGSPacioretty-Plekanec-Gallagher
Words from the room
Game Preview: Canadiens vs Maple Leafs
A true believer
- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday morning before boarding a charter flight to Toronto where they’ll battle the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
- Prior to the start of practice, Carey Price hit the ice once again with head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend. The Canadiens’ No. 31 wasn’t sporting any equipment, though. On Thursday, general manager Marc Bergevin confirmed that the Anahim Lake, BC native would continue to be sidelined for at least the next three to four weeks.
- After missing Thursday’s on-ice session, Nathan Beaulieu and Jacob De La Rose both skated on Friday morning. Beaulieu missed practice due to an upper-body injury, while De La Rose was sidelined with the flu.
- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Mike Condon would get the start in goal against the Maple Leafs.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Desharnais – Weise
Fleischmann – Eller – Carr
Flynn – Mitchell – Smith-Pelly
De La Rose
Markov – Subban
Emelin – Petry
Beaulieu – Barberio
Pateryn – Gilbert
The Canadiens announced late Thursday afternoon that forward Daniel Carr has been recalled from the St. John’s IceCaps. Carr will join the team for Friday morning’s practice before the team departs for Toronto.
In his first call-up to the NHL, Carr registered five goals and seven points in 17 games prior to being assigned to the American Hockey League on Jan. 14. The 24-year-old played three games with the IceCaps last week, where he scored two goals and added two assists.
- After a day off on Wednesday, the Canadiens were back at practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday morning. Michel Therrien’s troops won’t be in action until Saturday night, though, when they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.
- Prior to the start of practice, goaltender Carey Price hit the ice with head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend to continue rehabbing his lower-body injury. Once again, Price wasn’t sporting any of his equipment.
- Paul Byron and Nathan Beaulieu didn’t practice on Thursday due to injury. Jacob De La Rose, meanwhile, didn’t suit up because of the flu. Andrei Markov, meanwhile, was given the day off from practice.
- General manager Marc Bergevin addressed the media following the on-ice session. He confirmed his complete confidence in Therrien and his staff, indicating that they will all remain in place for the remainder of the season regardless of the Canadiens’ record. Bergevin also indicated that he addressed the team for about 20 minutes prior to the start of practice.
- With respect to Price, Bergevin confirmed that the Canadiens’ No. 31 would be sidelined for another three weeks to one month before being able to return to active duty.
The Canadiens assigned defenseman Victor Bartley to the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps on Wednesday morning. Acquired on Friday in a trade involving both the Nashville Predators and Arizona Coyotes, Bartley has been a healthy scratch for the last three games. The IceCaps will play two games over the next three days, battling it out in Bridgeport on Wednesday before hitting the ice in Albany on Friday.