- The coaches spent time before the start of practice working on the powerplay. Thomas Vanek lined up alongside David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty on the first powerplay wave while Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher and Daniel Briere alternated as the forwards on the second wave.
- The Habs are gearing up for their third season match-up against the Bruins, having won the two previous 2013-14 confrontations against Boston. Going back to last season, Montreal is a perfect 5-0 against their division rival.
“They’ve been close games and we’ve just been on the better side of those close games. For us we just want to focus on what we do well. We’re a fast team so we want to get on the forecheck and play an intense style of hockey,” acknowledged Brendan Gallagher. “Everyone knows the style the Bruins want to play. They’re a big, physical team which can hit and make plays. We’ve been successful at sticking with what we do well and we need to do that again tonight.”
- Francis Bouillon will draw back into the lineup on Wednesday night. It will be the veteran defenseman’s 38th game of the season, he who had been in and out of the lineup due to a glut of defensemen on the roster.
“It wont be the first time that I come back into the lineup after missing several games,” said Bouillon, who is in his 11th season with the Habs. “It’s not easy to get back and find your full confidence. I’ll try to stay in my game plan and find my game as quickly as possible. The game against the Bruins will be very important for the standings at the end of the season.”
“I have full confidence that Francis Bouillon will be a strong presence for us,” offered coach Michel Therrien, who paired the veteran blueliner with P.K. Subban during the morning skate and also employed him on powerplay drills. “He’s always had a great work ethic and attitude even when he is not playing, and he’s in good enough shape to handle a big workload.”
- Michael Bournival practiced wearing a non-contact jersey
- Brandon Prust will return to the lineup against the Bruins.
- Carey Price participated in the full on-ice workout and is nearing a return to play.
- Peter Budaj will make the start against Boston. The Slovakian netminder was in front of the net in the Habs’ last game versus the Bruins, a 4-1 win in Boston.
Projected lineup vs. BOS:
Michael Bournival practiced wearing a non-contact jersey, while Brandon Prust has been cleared for full contact and wore a regular white jersey.
Carey Price participated in the on-ice workout and is nearing a return to play.
Douglas Murray had a therapy day and did not skate.
The team spent a great deal of time working on their powerplay and penalty kill schemes. Thomas Vanek lined up alongside David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty on the first powerplay wave while remaining with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta in other drills. Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher and Daniel Briere alternated as the forwards on the second wave.
After practice, Coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Francis Bouillon will return to the lineup on Wednesday against Boston. All other personnel decisions will be announced on game day.
Lines at practice:
Every player took the ice for the morning skate in San Jose after a day off on Friday. Carey Price joined his teammates midway through practice after undergoing treatment on his lower body injury.
Michael Bournival (concussion) was the lone member of the blue no-contact jersey club on Saturday morning as Brandon Prust donned a red sweater for the first time since suffering an upper body injury in mid-February. Prust received the green light from team doctors to play but will not be in the lineup against San Jose.
“Medically, he’s ready to play but he hasn’t had a full practice with the team since the Olympic break, so we want to give him at least a practice with the team before he plays a game,” explained head coach Michel Therrien. “It’s been two weeks since we’ve been able to have a real, full practice because we’ve played a lot of games in a short period of time. He’s cleared to play, but we’ll give him a few practices to get ready and he’ll be in the lineup against the Bruins on Wednesday.”
|Max Pacioretty's 30th of the season|
For a second time in his NHL career, Max Pacioretty has reached the 30-goal benchmark in a season. With 17 games left to go until the end of the regular season, the 27-year-old sniper hasn’t started looking ahead to the next milestone he has to cross off his Bucket List.
“I’m just worried about trying to win hockey games, [scoring 40 goals] never crossed my mind,” underlined the New Canaan, CT native. “There’s a reason I say I always love playing with Davey [Desharnais] and it’s because he’s an unselfish player. He doesn’t need the glory; he just goes out there and makes the right play. I have to credit a lot of my success to playing with him.”
Peter Budaj will enjoy his 20th outing of the year on Saturday night, looking to build on his 3-6-1 record against San Jose in 10 career starts against.
Daniel Briere will hit another career milestone against the Sharks, set to suit up for his 900th game in the league. The 36-year-old forward has 297 goals and 680 points so far in his 16-year NHL career, including nine goals and 14 points against San Jose.
Back at the Shark Tank for the first time since leaving his former team, bruising Habs blue-liner Douglas Murray isn’t about to hold back on his friends and former teammates when he hits the ice at SAP Center as a visitor on Saturday night.
“I’m a little weird; I think I actually play harder against my friends,” admitted Murray with a laugh, having left the Sharks for the Penguins at the trade deadline last year before signing as a free agent in Montreal in July. “I think the biggest thing for me is trying to stay calm and focused on my game, not looking for the big hits because I usually get myself in trouble with that. Hopefully with the experience I have I’ll try to play a solid game for us and not worry about that. If I get a chance, though, I’ll let one go.”Lines and D pairings at practice
Words from the room
Game preview: MTL @ SJS
After being acquired from the Islanders on Wednesday, Thomas Vanek arrived at the team hotel in Phoenix early Thursday morning. He met with the players and the coaching staff at the hotel but did not skate. He will be in the lineup against the Coyotes, but did not confirm who he would be playing with on a line.
|Vanek meets the media|
“Any time [you get traded] you’re excited to come in and meet the guys,” shared Vanek, who spent the first two seasons of his career playing with Daniel Briere in Buffalo. “It’s a little bit overwhelming, but since the minute I found out I had been traded to Montreal, they’ve treated me first class. We just had a quick meeting this morning and I’m sure coach will let me know [who I’m playing with] later.”
Josh Gorges flew back to Montreal on Thursday morning with a hand injury to be evaluated by team doctors. He will not be available to play against the Coyotes or Sharks.
Marc Bergevin will be arriving in Phoenix on Thursday in time for the game and will meet with the media at Jobing.com Arena before puck drop.
Peter Budaj will likely get the start for the Canadiens against Phoenix after Dustin Tokarski enjoyed starting duties on Wednesday night in Anaheim. In 15 career games against the Coyotes, the 31-year-old netminder owns an 8-3-3 record and a 2.70 goals-against average.
Vanek's first media scrum as a Hab
Game preview: MTL @ PHX
A first to remember
Dustin Tokarski will make his first start of the season on Wednesday night. In seven career NHL starts, Tokarski owns a 1-3-1 record over two seasons with Tampa. Prior to being called up by the Canadiens, Tokarski had compiled a record of 13-2-1 in 17 games in Hamilton, owning a 2.34 goals-against average and .919 save percentage.
After being traded to the Canadiens for a 2015 fifth-round pick on Tuesday, Mike Weaver joined the Canadiens in Anaheim on Tuesday night and was on the ice with his new team on Wednesday morning. The 5-foot-10 blue-liner was paired with Francis Bouillon for the morning skate and will not play against the Ducks.
Brandon Prust (upper body) and Michael Bournival (concussion) were wearing blue no-contact jerseys at practice and will not play on Wednesday night.
Carey Price took to the ice briefly on his own for the second day in a row as he continues recovering from a lower body injury.
After missing the previous game against the Kings, George Parros will be back in the lineup to face his former team in Anaheim. Parros spent six seasons in Anaheim from 2006-07 to 2011-12 and will be facing his former team in Anaheim for the first time. Lars Eller will not play against the Ducks.
“It’s my first game back and I’m really looking forward to it. The lockout prevented us from coming out here last year so I’m excited to be here,” shared Parros, who won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2006-07. “There are a lot of familiar faces and a lot of good memories, from the security guys on down. I’m looking forward to tonight and hopefully getting a win. They’re on fire this year. Hopefully we can take two points from them.”
After being acquired by the Canadiens on Wednesday afternoon from the Islanders for a second-round pick in 2014 and prospect Sebastian Collberg, Thomas Vanek will not be available for Wednesday’s game but will be in the lineup against Phoenix on Thursday. Vanek will wear No. 20 with the Canadiens.
“Wow, what great news for our team,” mentioned head coach Michel Therrien, who hadn’t spoken to Vanek prior to meeting with the media and wouldn’t confirm who he envisions his new winger playing with. “I look at that move as a sign of confidence from Marc Bergevin to the players for the work they’ve put in since the start of the season. It’s a really exciting addition. It’s important for us to continue doing what we’ve been doing all year now. Thomas Vanek is a prolific scorer who can play on the right side or the left. We all know what he can bring to a power play, too.”
Lines and D pairings at practice
Lines and D pairings at practiceGalchenyuk-Plekanec-Gionta
Game preview: MTL @ ANA
Canadiens acquire goaltender Devan Dubnyk from the Nashville Predators
Changing on the fly
Canadiens acquire defenseman Mike Weaver from the Florida Panthers
Seven players skated at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, CA, on Tuesday afternoon, including Dustin Tokarski, Lars Eller, Brandon Prust, Francis Bouillon, Ryan White, Michael Bournival and George Parros. The rest of the team stayed at the hotel to take part in an off-ice workout capped off by an informal game of basketball.
|Price skates for the first time|
Carey Price was also on the ice for the first time since leaving practice with a lower body injury upon his return from the Olympics. Price admitted he aggravated a lingering injury during the second practice of the Olympic tournament, but was able to play through it. The three-time All-Star worked with Habs goaltending coach Stephane Waite for about 20 minutes on Tuesday afternoon on movement exercises and puck handling after undergoing treatment with the team’s medical staff, but is still considered day-to-day to get back into game action.
“It felt good to get on the ice. It’s coming down to the important part of the year and I want to go into this stretch 100%,” explained Price, who has missed the team`s last four games after returning from Sochi with a gold medal. “I’m feeling good and progressing. The last 20 games of the year are a real mental grind and I want to make sure I’m prepared for the rest of the year and the playoffs. We still have a lot of hockey left this year and I want to make sure I’m good to go. It’s manageable but I want it to be 100% before we go into the important stages of the year.”
Also slowly working his way back into the lineup, Brandon Prust is inching closer to making his return from an upper-body injury, but confirmed he is unlikely to play against Anaheim or Phoenix. While he works on his own recovery, he was happy to see his fellow clinic client back on the ice in full gear.
“I think everybody was kind of watching [Carey] come out and getting excited. I wanted to go give him a hug,” admitted Prust with a laugh after seeing Price step on the ice midway through Tuesday’s skate. “It’s good. We want him to take it slow and do the right things to make sure he’s 100% when he comes back to be ready for a long run. In the meantime, Peter [Budaj] has been doing a great job and we’re really fortunate to have him.”
After playing with Mike Weaver in Los Angeles and Florida earlier in his career, George Parros will once again be sharing an NHL dressing room with the veteran blue-liner. While the team awaits Weaver’s arrival in Anaheim, Parros was able to offer up a scouting report on what fans can expect from the newest Hab.
“He’s a great character guy. He’s short in stature but he packs a big punch,” shared Parros, who spent two seasons with Weaver as a King and Panther. “He can hit guys, he’s got a good pop out there, he’s solid defensively, he’s good on the PK, he blocks a lot of shots and I think you’re going to like him. I know we’re going to like him.”
With less than 24 hours before the NHL trade deadline, Michel Therrien was also a fan of GM Marc Bergevin’s first move of week. While he didn’t confirm whether or not Weaver would be in the lineup against the NHL’s top-ranked team on Wednesday, the Canadiens’ coach is looking forward to seeing what his newest blue-liner will bring to the mix.
“He excels on the penalty kill. He’s not a big guy but he’s physical and he competes. There are a lot of people in the organization who know him and they know he’s the kind of player we need,” explained Therrien, who will also confirm Wednesday’s starting goaltender after the morning skate in Anaheim. “The important thing is that today, Marc made our team better. We wanted a guy who could bring depth to the lineup. He’s a veteran, he’s a competitor and he’s a character guy. DLeftepth on defense is so important because you never know what will happen. It’s a great pick up for us.”
Following their media availability, the team boarded a bus bound for Anaheim and will face the league-leading Ducks at 10:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday night.
RAW: Carey Price
RAW: Michel Therrien
“Carey is still day-to-day,” confirmed head coach Michel Therrien. “As soon as the medical staff feels he’s ready to start practicing, he’s going to go on the ice, but obviously he was not today. He’s just doing treatment now.”
Peter Budaj will get his fourth-straight start on Monday night, having already helped the team pick up five points out of a possible six since taking over starting duties with Price on the shelf. Budaj will look to build on his 6-2-1 career record against Los Angeles, currently owning an all-time 2.90 goals-against average and .894 save percentage against the Kings.
“Every time Buds is in he gives us a very good chance to win the hockey game,” stressed Brendan Gallagher. “He makes saves at timely moments – big saves that get guys excited and he gives us confidence so we play confident in front of him. As a team we’re confident in both our goalies regardless of who’s in the net. Buds has done what he’s always done and what we expect him to do; he shows up, he works as hard as he can in practice every day and when he gets a chance to play he plays as well as he can.”
The Canadiens’ hockey operations department is in California preparing for Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline, but Marc Bergevin did not make the trip following the death of his mother-in-law. The Habs GM will spend the next few days with his family, while working the phones from Chicago. With the deadline less than 48 hours away, Therrien isn’t worried about the possibility of some of his troops not making the return trip to Montreal becoming a distraction between Monday morning and Wednesday afternoon.
“The trade deadline isn’t really a subject of discussion or a distraction with our group,” shared the Habs bench boss. “We’re also pretty far from Montreal out here in California so there’s a lot less talk about it surrounding us. Our preoccupation is preparing for games and that’s what we’re doing.”
Looking back on the last time the Habs and Kings faced off, a 6-0 loss to LA on home ice on Dec. 10 following 9-01 unbeaten streak, the Canadiens have absorbed the lessons they learned from that first meeting and aren’t planning on putting together an encore performance at the Staples Center. Currently the hottest team in the league boasting an NHL-best 7-1-2 record over the last 10 games, the Habs will look to continue that pace during the western road swing, beginning Monday night in Los Angeles.
“We do have to go back and look at that [game against the Kings]. There are a lot of things we didn’t do well and I don’t think anybody wants to repeat the effort we gave that night,” admitted Lars Eller, who will play on a line with Rene Bourque and Daniel Briere with Ryan White making his return to the lineup against the Kings. “We’ve come a long way and fixed that lately and shown a lot of character by coming back in third periods, bouncing back and finding ways to win games. We take it one game at a time and we have a lot of respect for LA, but really it’s all about us and what we’re going to do out there.”
Lines and D pairings at practiceGalchenyuk-Plekanec-Gionta
Words from the room
Game preview: MTL @ LAK
Ryan White, who was out with the flu, skated with his teammates but is not expected to play tonight.
Michael Bournival practiced with the team for a second day in a row, indicating that he is making good progress in his return from a concussion. Once again, he wore a blue “non-contact” jersey.
- Drawing in for White in a second consecutive game will be George Parros, who is looking forward to renewing an age-old rivalry with Toronto after a long Olympic break.
“You never know what’s going to happen after a break like that, but we’ve handled it pretty well,” offered Parros, who saw his team get a point in an overtime loss against Detroit before suiting up against the Penguins and helping the team to a shootout win. “They’re fun games to play in. It’s always interesting when there’s something extra on the line, with the playoff implications of [tonight’s game].”
- Lars Eller also weighed in with his thoughts about the Habs-Leafs rivalry.
“It doesn’t matter what the standings positions are, I think the intensity has always been there. You can always feel the electricity in the building when a team like Toronto is in town. Everybody is pumped up,” said Eller. “It’s a big divisional match-up, we’re very close in the standings and who knows, we might even play against Toronto in the playoffs at some point.”
- Newcomer Dale Weise, acquired just before the Olympic break, is very familiar with the extent of the antagonism between the two Original Six franchises. In fact, as a Vancouver Canuck, catching the end of a Habs-Leafs Saturday night tilt was often part of his pre-game routine.
“Playing out West, we caught a lot of those games before going on the ice. We had the TV on while get dressed up. I’m very familiar with those Saturday night games,” acknowledged the rugged right-winger. “Both teams are comfortable playing a physical style. We’re okay playing it too. I think it’s a lot of team’s game plan when they face Montreal, but our team is very physical as well. We always play hard. We have a couple big bodies, so we can play physical too.”
An occasional healthy scratch in Vancouver, Weise is happy to be able to contribute to his new team on a nightly basis, having played in five of five scheduled games since being traded to Montreal.
“I don’t know if anybody’s counting, but we got nine out of 10 points since I got here,” joked the Winnipeg native.
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Wednesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Red Wings. The Habs, who lead Detroit by six points in the atlantic division standings, are looking to build on a three-game winning streak.
- Carey Price and P.K. Subban were back at practice for the first time since returning from the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Price, however, left the ice after turning aside a few shots. He did not return for the remainder of the on-ice session.
|RAW: Michel Therrien|
“It’s a lower-body injury that he aggravated during the Olympics. We want to ensure that he’s completely healthy when he returns to the lineup. His situation is one that we’ll be evaluating day by day,” mentioned head coach Michel Therrien, who went on to add that Price will not make the trip to Pittsburgh following Wednesday night’s contest and as a result will miss at least the next two games. “We’ll check on his status for practice on Friday ahead of the game on Saturday.”
- In Price’s absence, the Canadiens have recalled goaltender Dustin Tokarski from the Hamilton Bulldogs.
- Peter Budaj will get the start in goal against Detroit. It will be his 12th start of the season. Budaj has a 5-4-2 record and a 3.10 goals-against average in 11 appearances against Detroit over the course of his NHL career.
“We have complete faith in Peter. His teammates do, too. He always gives us a good performance. We have to take this one game at a time,” underlined Therrien, who will put Budaj between the pipes for back-to-back games for the first time this season. “A guy like Peter just needs to continue playing the same way he has all year. That’s the message Stephane Waite has given him. He doesn’t have to put any additional pressure on his shoulders.”
- After missing the last 15 games with a broken hand, Alex Galchenyuk will return to the Canadiens’ lineup on Wednesday night. The 20-year-old forward suffered the injury back on Jan. 6 in a tilt against the Florida Panthers. Skating alongside Lars Eller and Rene Bourque at practice, Galchenyuk is excited to return to active duty and is looking forward to contributing on the scoresheet as soon as possible.
“I don’t know if my hand is really 100%. Whatever the case may be, what matters most is to know whether I can go out there and perform at the level that I’d like to. I feel good,” offered Galchenyuk. “I don’t know what percentage I’ll be operating at, but I feel comfortable with the moves I make out there on the ice and I can’t wait to play.”
- Jarred Tinordi will also suit up against the Red Wings after being called up from the Hamilton Bulldogs on Sunday. Tinordi, who practiced alongside Douglas Murray on Wednesday morning, last suited up for the Canadiens back on Oct. 19, and has been featured in Michel Therrien’s lineup for six games during the 2013-14 campaign. The rugged rearguard is adamant that his extended AHL stint was time well spent.
“I like to think that there’s a big difference since the last time I was up with the big club. I wasn’t playing my best hockey towards the end of the stretch there. I was sent down to Hamilton with things to work on. I think I’ve done a good job of working on those things. I feel good,” offered Tinordi, who racked up nine penalty minutes during his time with the Canadiens earlier this year. “Now, I’m just going to try and play my game. I want to play physical. I want to play in your face hockey, hold a tight gap and have a good stick. I want to move the puck quickly. I’ve said it 100 times and it’s just a work in progress. There are always things I need to keep working on.”
- The Red Wings have been bitten by the injury bug throughout 2013-14, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a formidable opponent, even without the likes of Henrik Zetterberg and Stephen Weiss in the lineup. Knowing full well that Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock will have his soldiers ready for battle, Ryan White put the Canadiens’ upcoming opponent in perspective on Wednesday morning. Needless to say, the 25-year-old centerman has a healthy respect for a team that is looking to earn a playoff spot for a 23rd consecutive season.
“They’re the Red Wings. I’m sure that they’ve got some aces up their sleeve. They’ve got some young kids that can all play. I think Darren Helm has been good for them since he’s been back,” offered White. “We’ve got enough guys to worry about on that team.”
- Brandon Prust skated on the Bell Sports Complex’s secondary ice rink during the morning skate alongside strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard. The power forward continues to recover from an upper-body injury.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Gallagher – Desharnais – Pacioretty
Bourque – Eller – Galchenyuk
Weise – White – Moen
Gionta – Plekanec – Briere
Markov – Emelin
Subban – Gorges
Murray – Tinordi
Drewiske – Bouillon
- The Canadiens were back at practice on Tuesday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard preparing for their Wednesday night tilt against the Detroit Red Wings at the Bell Centre.
- Max Pacioretty skated alongside his teammates for the first time since returning from Sochi. For their part, Carey Price and P.K. Subban benefitted from another day off after their Olympic run. Without Price in goal, Sherbrooke Phenix netminder Francis Desrosiers was between the pipes once again at practice.
- Michel Therrien confirmed that Price would get the night off on Wednesday and that Peter Budaj would get the start in goal against the Red Wings.
- Therrien also confirmed that Alex Galchenyuk and Travis Moen would be back in the lineup on Wednesday. Galchenyuk had been sidelined since Jan. 6 when he was injured in a tilt against the Panthers, while Moen missed several games prior to the Olympic break with a lower-body injury.
- Michael Bournival (concussion) skated by himself before the start of practice. Brandon Prust, who is still hampered by an upper-body injury, took to the ice after practice. Both will not take part in Wednesday night's game against Detroit.
Lines at D pairings at practice: