POSTED ON Wednesday, 11.25.2015 / 1:10 PM ET

NEW YORK – The Habs will look to grab sole possession of the top spot in the East when they face the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

- It’s been nearly a month and a half since the Habs and Rangers last met during the Canadiens’ 3-0 home opening win at the Bell Centre. In that span, both teams have continued their respective ascents to the top of the standings, now sitting tied at 24 points apiece with the potential to become the No. 1 team in the NHL with a crucial two points up for grabs at MSG. It may only be November hockey, but Max Pacioretty expects a playoff atmosphere when the teams hit the ice in Manhattan.

“Both teams have had a lot of success the last couple of years, this year especially, so this is set up to be a very entertaining game. They have a pretty similar system to us. They don’t give up much defensively while they have speed on the transition,” explained the Habs captain, whose team is facing a red-hot Rangers squad that has gone 9-1-0 in its last 10 games. “The two similar styles are going to clash and hopefully it’ll make for some good hockey tonight

“In the past couple of years with the playoff series between the two teams and a couple of great games, I do see it as a rivalry,” he added. “It’s maybe not one that’s recognized as much as Toronto or Boston, but I see it that way. It’s going to be a tight-checking, hard-nosed game.”

- In addition to the similar systems employed by the two Eastern powerhouses, both teams can also count on some equally elite netminding in the match up. With the reigning Vezina, Jennings, Ted Lindsay, and Hart Trophy winner between the pipes at one end of the ice, and the league’s current save percentage, goals-against, and wins leader at the other, Pacioretty has a few ideas when it comes to solving Henrik Lundqvist in the pending goaltending duel.

“Take away his eyes – the only way to beat him is if he doesn’t see it,” shared the 27-year-old sniper, who leads the team with 11 goals so far this season. “It seems like everything he’s seeing these days, he’s stopping. You have to get second and third chances against a goalie like that and just hope for the best.”

- After missing the last five games with a lower-body injury, Alexei Emelin will be making his return to action on Wednesday night in place of Greg Pateryn, who dished out 18 hits and finished with a plus-1 differential in those five games.

“Pateryn played really well in Emelin’s absence. I spoke to him this morning to explain my decision and he understood,” said Michel Therrien, who did not confirm if Emelin would slide back into his spot next to Jeff Petry or join Tom Gilbert on the blue line against the Rangers. “Emelin plays an important role on our back end. We have a lot of depth on defense so someone will always have to sit. Pateryn is a young defenseman who wants to establish himself in the NHL. When he got his opportunity, he did a great job.”

- Having been called up on Saturday in time to suit up for the Canadiens’ 4-2 win over the Islanders on Sunday, Sven Andrighetto will get his first taste of the Madison Square Garden crowd when he hits the ice for his second NHL game of the campaign. Impressed with the rookie winger’s performance in his 2015-16 debut, linemate Lars Eller is hoping to see more of the same from Andrighetto against the high-flying Rangers squad.

“It’s two teams who don’t give up a ton of scoring chances or a ton of goals. I expect it to be a difficult game, but I expect Sven to play the same way. We’re going to need his skating and his work ethic and his skill. We’re going to need to play the same way we did last game as a line,” stressed Eller of the trio that also includes Alex Galchenyuk. “He’s got a lot of skill and he’s a very smart player and he’s willing to work hard and compete. When you have that, it usually goes well.”

- Puck drop between the Habs and Rangers is slated for 7:00 p.m. EDT at Madison Square Garden. The game is available on RDS, SNO, SNE, 98.5FM, and TSN 690.

- Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.

SEE ALSO:
Words from the room
General manager Marc Bergevin signs a multi-year contract extension
Game Preview: Canadiens @ Rangers 
Stepping Up

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 11.24.2015 / 12:14 PM ET

- After enjoying a rare day off Monday, the Canadiens returned to practice Tuesday morning in Brossard prior to departing for The Big Apple where they will face the New York Rangers Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. The Habs will then continue on to New Jersey for a home-and-away series against the Devils starting on the road Friday night before the two teams meet again Saturday night in Montreal.

- Devante Smith-Pelly (lower-body) returned to practice where he skated on the top line along-side Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty, and is expected to play Wednesday night against the New York Rangers.

- Carey Price is expected to get the start between the pipes for the Habs, after shutting out the Rangers in the team’s home opener back on October 15, 2015. The reigning Vezina trophy winner is 11-5-1 in 18 career starts against the Rangers including a staggering seven shutouts in addition to a goals against average of 1.75 and save percentage of .943.

- Forward Brendan Gallagher, who was injured in the Canadiens most recent game Sunday night, had successful surgery Monday morning to fix two broken fingers suffered on his left hand. As a result, Gallagher is expected to miss up to six weeks.

- Torrey Mitchell, who suffered a lower-body injury November 19 against the Arizona Coyotes, is expected to miss approximately seven-ten days.

- Skating with teammates at practice for the third consecutive time, Alexei Emelin (lower-body) was paired with Jarred Tinordi at practice Tuesday morning. The Russian rearguard will not play against the Rangers but will be ready to make his return to the lineup when his number is called.

- After making his season debut with the Canadiens Sunday night against the New York Islanders, forward Sven Andrighetto remained on a right-wing on a line with Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller.

Lines at Tuesday’s practice:

Pacioretty - Plekanec – Smith-Pelly

Fleischmann - Desharnais - Weise

Eller - Galchenyuk - Andrighetto

Byron - Flynn - Semin

Holloway

Markov - Subban

Beaulieu - Petry

Gilbert - Pateryn

Emelin – Tinordi

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 11.24.2015 / 11:22 AM ET

BROSSARD - On Tuesday morning, the Canadiens announced that Brendan Gallagher would miss at least six weeks of action.

The forward underwent surgery on his left hand on Monday. Gallagher suffered two fractured fingers after blocking a shot from Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk on Sunday night at the Bell Centre.

More details to come.

- canadiens.com

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POSTED ON Sunday, 11.22.2015 / 10:22 PM ET



Forward Brendan Gallagher has fractured two fingers in his left hand after blocking a slapshot from Johnny Boychuk in the second period Sunday night. He will have surgery on Monday and he will be out indefinitely. Gallagher did not return to the game after the incident.

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POSTED ON Sunday, 11.22.2015 / 12:31 PM ET

- The Canadiens held in a short practice Sunday morning in Brossard ahead of their clash against the New York Islanders at the Bell Centre later this evening. This will be the second straight game between the two teams, with the most recent duel taking place Friday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The Canadiens held off a third period comeback by the Islanders to win the game by the score of 5 to 3.

“They are a very tough team to play against. Last game wasn’t really an indication of how they play,” clarified captain Max Pacioretty, who is not prepared to let his club take the Islanders lightly regardless of Friday night’s outcome. “The first game we played against them was a very tight checking game. There weren’t a lot of chances both ways. And that’s the kind of game we are expecting tonight, a tight checking and low scoring game.”

- Forwards Torrey Mitchell (lower body) and Devante Smith-Pelly (lower body) did not participate in the morning workout and will not be in uniform for this evening’s game. In Torrey Mitchell’s case, he will re-evaluated by doctors later this week and the team will receive an update on his condition.

- Sven Andrighetto, recalled from the St. John's IceCaps will be in uniform Friday night against the Islanders.

“I practiced with Andrighetto today. He’s a skilled player and he’s got a lot of speed. So he creates a lot of offensive chances,” noted Alex Galchenyuk, who is slated to center a line flanked by Andrighetto and Lars Eller. “Sven is a fun guy to play with and I’m excited for what we can do as a line. When you get called up it is always exciting. You just try to go out there and prove yourself and that’s what the three of us are going to try to do, to prove ourselves. We have to make sure we are solid and give the team momentum and create scoring chances.”

- The Swiss striker has a dozen games of NHL experience, amassing two goals and adding an assist during his most recent call-up to the big leagues in 2014-2015.

“I’m confident in my game right now and I think that’s a big part. I’m going to try to play the same way I play in St. John’s, because that’s why they called me up. I am going to keep playing that way here,” added Andrighetto, who is set to make his 2015-2016 season debut.

- Meanwhile, Bud Holloway, recalled Sunday morning is expected to watch the game from the press box along with Jarred Tinordi. Holloway, who has plied his trade mainly in Sweden and Switzerland in recent years, is currently the St. John's IceCaps’ leading scorer with 20 points in 18 games.

“I’m 27 and I finally got the call up, so I am obviously pretty ecstatic to be here right now,” expressed Holloway, who was noticeably excited about being called up to the NHL for the first time in his career. “This is the first time the phone ever rang! I got called into the office and they said you are on the 5am flight in the morning. It was pretty shocking just the way it all happened so fast. Going out and calling my dad, that was a pretty proud moment.”

- Greg Pateryn will play in his fifth straight game Sunday night. The steady defender has been patrolling the Canadiens’ blue line alongside Tom Gilbert in the absence of Alexei Emelin. The Russian rearguard is progressing towards making a return to the line as Emelin skated with teammates for the second consecutive day at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.

- Carey Price will be in goal to face the Islanders again Sunday night. Price, who is scheduled to start his 11th game this season, has a record of 8-2-0 record, including a goals against average of 2.11 and save percentage of 93.4%.

- Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Bell Centre and will be televised on RDS, NHLN-US and SN.


Probable lineup for Sunday's game.

Fleischmann - Desharnais - Weise

Pacioretty - Plekanec - Gallagher

Eller - Galchenyuk - Andrighetto

Byron - Flynn - Semin

Holloway


Markov - Subban

Gilbert - Pateryn

Beaulieu - Petry

Emelin – Tinordi


SEE ALSO
Pre-game Comments: Nov. 22
Game preview: Canadiens vs. Islanders

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POSTED ON Saturday, 11.21.2015 / 1:20 PM ET

- After posting a 5-3 victory over the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Friday night, the Canadiens took part in off-ice workouts on Saturday at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. Michel Therrien’s troops will be back in action on Sunday night when they play host to the Islanders at the Bell Centre.

- The Canadiens called up Sven Andrighetto from the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps immediately after Friday night’s tilt. He arrived in Montreal on Saturday morning to take part in off-ice activities and meet members of the media, too. The Swiss forward is off to a great start this season, having put up six points in his last three games. He scored two goals on Friday night against the Syracuse Crunch, including the game-winner in overtime.

- The Canadiens’ bench boss hasn’t revealed his lineup for Sunday night’s game against the Islanders as of yet. He said that information will come on Monday. That means that Andrighetto doesn’t yet know if he’ll be suiting up for his first NHL game of the season.

- Therrien also provided an update on the health status of forward Torrey Mitchell, indicating that he would not be available for Sunday night’s game and that his injury would be re-evaluated on Monday.

- Meanwhile, defenseman Alexei Emelin hit the ice for the first time on Saturday since sustaining a lower-body injury against the Pittsburgh Penguins on November 11th. The Russian rearguard has missed the last four games. He will not play on Sunday night.

- Carey Price will get the start in goal on Sunday. It will mark his 17th career start against the Islanders. He boasts a 10-3-3 record against them over the course of his career.

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POSTED ON Friday, 11.20.2015 / 10:44 PM ET

Following Friday night’s 5-3 win in Brooklyn, the Canadiens called up forward Sven Andrighetto from the St. John's IceCaps.

In 17 games with the IceCaps this season Andrighetto has collected six goals and nine assists, for a total of 15 points.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 11.19.2015 / 12:29 PM ET

- The Canadiens held an optional skate on Thursday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard ahead of their tilt against the Arizona Coyotes. Immediately after the game, Michel Therrien’s troops will travel to New York where they’ll battle the Islanders at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Friday night.

- On Wednesday afternoon, Therrien announced that Alexander Semin would be a healthy scratch for Thursday night’s contest. Torrey Mitchell will take his place on a line with Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller. Meanwhile, Brian Flynn will center the fourth line flanked by Paul Byron and Devante Smith-Pelly.

- Defenseman Alexei Emelin will miss a third straight game with a lower-body injury. Therrien already confirmed that the Russian rearguard wouldn’t be playing any of the Canadiens’ games over the weekend. That means that he’ll miss at least the next three games.

- For their part, the Coyotes arrive in Montreal in the midst of a four-game road trip. They’ve dropped their last two outings, but they arrive in town boasting two of the top young guns in the NHL today in rookies Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. The pair has been a sparkplug on offense for Arizona during the early part of the 2015-16 campaign. Needless to say, the Canadiens are well aware of what they’re capable of. While Domi ranks second among the league’s rookies with 16 points through 18 games, Duclair sits seventh, chipping in with 11 points on his own.

“They’ve got lots of speed and lots of youth. I mean, youth is scary in this league. When you have young players playing well, they kind of feel untouchable which can be scary defending. The Coyotes are kind of like Tampa. They skate well. It’s going to be another exciting game. It’ll be another challenge tonight,” offered Nathan Beaulieu, who, at 22 years of age, has a healthy respect for what 20-year-old Domi and 20-year-old Duclair have accomplished early on in their respective NHL careers. “They’re both highly-skilled, quick guys. It seems like that’s where the game is headed right now, with speed, skill and quickness. I’m not surprised at all with the success they’ve had. It’s good for the game.”

Brendan Gallagher isn’t necessarily surprised by their achievements, either. The 23-year-old winger believes it’s a by-product of a consistent work ethic both on and off the ice – something he definitely knows a lot about.

“It isn’t easy to have success when you’re a younger guy. The only way to explain it is that they’re just good players. They play consistent hockey and they work hard. They earn the confidence of the coaching staff,” explained Gallagher, who is in his fourth season in the NHL ranks, and was a Calder Trophy candidate back in 2012-13. “When you get to the league as a youngster, your first goal is earning the confidence of your coach and your teammates. Those guys play well, and battle night after night to have an impact for their team.”

- The Canadiens’ power play has struggled to produce goals over the last three games, going 1-for-12 during that span. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t clicking, though. Last time out against Vancouver on Monday night, the man advantage certainly gave the CH life when it seemed like they were in trouble down 3-0 early in the second period. It had the flow and energy they were looking for. Defenseman Jeff Petry thinks it’s headed in the right direction.

“Our power play moves the puck well. We get our scoring chances. It’s just a question of time before we manage to score. If we don’t score, it allows us to generate momentum for the rest of the game,” mentioned Petry, referencing a Canadiens power play that currently ranks fourth in the league after finding the back of the net 23.9 percent of the time on the year. “We all know we can score. The goals are going to come in waves eventually. We have to keep the same structure and keep persevering.”

- The Canadiens are coming off some tough starts as of late, but that isn’t something they’re dwelling on right now. Heading into Thursday night’s tilt against Arizona, the focus remains on playing a good game from start to finish. Period.

“We’re more worried about playing a full game right now. I feel like the worst thing you can do is say – ‘O.K. When we go out there, we can’t get scored on right away.’ It’s a clean slate. It’s a clean game. We were so good with our starts to the game at the beginning of the season, so we know what we need to do. The opportunity is there. We’ve just got to go out and perform,” shared Beaulieu, who has one goal and five points in 19 games so far this season. “We’re not worried about having bad starts all the time. We’re professionals. We know how to prepare for games. Bounces are going to happen. If it keeps happening, we’ll have to put more emphasis into it. For now, though, we’re not panicking about it.”

- Mike Condon will be between the pipes for the Canadiens. It will be his ninth straight start.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and City TV Montreal.

Probable lineup vs. Arizona:

Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Eller – Galchenyuk – Mitchell
Weise – Desharnais – Fleischmann
Byron – Flynn – Smith-Pelly
Semin

Markov – Subban
Gilbert – Pateryn
Beaulieu – Petry
Tinordi

SEE ALSO
Words From The Room - November 19
Game Preview: Canadiens vs Coyotes  
The Montreal Canadiens mourn the loss of Bert Olmstead 
An important step 

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 11.18.2015 / 1:06 PM ET

- After a day off on Tuesday, the Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Wednesday morning in preparation for Thursday night’s tilt against the Arizona Coyotes at the Bell Centre.

- Even if the on-ice session was scheduled to get underway at 11 a.m. EST, the majority of the guys jumped on the ice 30 minutes ahead of time to work on special teams. Coaching consultant Craig Ramsay laced up his skates to work on special teams with the players, too.

- Goaltender Carey Price was back out on the ice again on Wednesday. This time, however, the four-time All-Star took part in the practice session with the rest of his teammates. He met with members of the media after practice and indicated that he didn’t yet know when he’d be ready to return to active duty. Head coach Michel Therrien met with Price before practice and mentioned that the Canadiens’ starter would decide upon a return date himself. You’ll recall that Price has been sidelined with a lower-body injury he suffered on October 29th in Edmonton.

- Defenseman Alexei Emelin didn’t skate on Wednesday. He’s been hampered by a lower-body injury. Therrien confirmed that the Russian rearguard will not take part in any of the upcoming games over the weekend.

- Having logged just 6:48 of ice time in the Canadiens’ most recent outing against Vancouver, forward Alexander Semin will be a healthy scratch on Thursday night against the Coyotes. That means that Paul Byron will be back in the lineup after watching the last two games from the press box. Torrey Mitchell will likely skate on a line with Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk, while Byron will play with Brian Flynn and Devante Smith-Pelly.

- Following practice, players headed over to the Bell Centre to take part in the annual Montreal Canadiens-evenko Blood Drive.

Lines and D pairings at practice:

Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Eller – Galchenyuk – Mitchell
Weise – Desharnais – Fleischmann
Byron – Flynn – Smith-Pelly
Semin

Markov – Subban
Gilbert – Pateryn
Beaulieu – Petry
Tinordi

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POSTED ON Monday, 11.16.2015 / 12:59 PM ET

- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday morning in preparation for their tilt against the Vancouver Canucks at the Bell Centre.

- As has been the case for several weeks now, Michael Bournival skated prior to the Canadiens’ on-ice session accompanied by athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine. Bournival is still recovering from concussion-like symptoms.

- Following the morning skate, head coach Michel Therrien indicated that goaltender Carey Price is making good progress recovering from his injury, but it’s still far too early to talk about a return to active duty. Price has been skating at the Bell Sports Complex over the last several days under the supervision of both Roof-Racine and goaltending coach Stephane Waite.

- Also on the injury front, Therrien confirmed that defenseman Alexei Emelin is still listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. That means that Greg Pateryn will remain in the lineup on Monday night against Vancouver.

- The Canadiens aren’t expected to feature any lineup changes for Monday night’s contest. As such, Alexander Semin will suit up for a second straight game, while Paul Byron should be a healthy scratch.

- Monday night’s game will mark the second and final regular season meeting between the Canadiens and the Canucks this year. Back on October 27th, the Canucks handed Therrien’s squad a 5-1 loss at Rogers Arena, snapping the Canadiens’ remarkable nine-game winning streak to start the season. Three weeks later, the defeat is still fresh in the minds of Habs players who are looking to give Willie Desjardins’ all they can handle this time around.

“I know personally, I don’t like when teams beat us like that. You always remember it. But, our approach is that it’s just another opportunity for us to get on the winning side of things. Tough game last game, and we all know that we can be better. We did a lot of things well, but in this league you only get rewarded for wins, so we have to come out with our best effort,” shared P.K. Subban, who posted a minus-2 differential against the Canucks several weeks back. “They’re definitely a team that can score goals, and I felt like they outworked us in Vancouver. We can’t let that happen tonight.”

- If the loss to Vancouver in late October is still etched in the Canadiens’ collective memory, it’s safe to say their 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche over the weekend is, too. Losing like that isn’t easy to swallow, but when you’re among the best teams in the NHL, your opponents are automatically motivated to offer up their best stuff. If the Canadiens hope to remain atop the standings, they know full well they’ll have to be ready to match their opponents’ intensity on any given night. The Canucks’ visit to the Bell Centre is no exception.

“I think that every team that’s at the top of their standings has an automatic target on their back, but we should also have plenty of motivation to play against Vancouver because of what happened the last time we played there. That should just be fuel for us going into tonight’s game. I’m sure everyone is going to be hungry to play,” stressed Lars Eller, who has five goals and six points in 18 games during the 2015-16 campaign. “I think last game we had the puck a lot more than we’ve had in recent games. You have to have the puck to create scoring chances. If you’re playing good defense, you have the puck a lot more. That’s one area we did well and can keep improving on. Sometimes, maybe we’re going to the net and then the puck doesn’t get there. Sometimes, it’s just the other way around. We’ve got to find a way to get in sync again with what each other is doing, but we know we have the ability to make it work.”

- With nine wins in their last 10 games, the New York Rangers are now the league’s top team. Leading the NHL in points at this point in the year might not be cause be celebration with so much hockey left to be played, but it’s still something to be proud of. Having been there in recent weeks, the Canadiens would like to find a way to grab that ranking right back sooner rather than later.

“Our goal is to be at the top. It’s nice seeing your name at the top. Now that it’s not, we’ve got to refocus and get back there. We know it’s possible. We know we’re one of the best teams in this league for a reason. We’ve just got to get back to basics,” offered Nathan Beaulieu, who will likely be paired with Jeff Petry on the Canadiens’ back-end for a second straight game on Monday night. “We have to get off to a better start. The last couple of games, we haven’t been happy with it. If you get behind too much in this league, it’s tough to get back. We weren’t happy with our first period [against Colorado]. We did a little better as the game went on, but we’re looking for a solid 60 minutes.”

- Mike Condon will go up against Jacob Markstrom in goal. Condon will be making his eighth straight start for the Canadiens, while the Canucks’ netminder will be playing just his second game of the year. Markstrom has a 0-1-1 record and a 3.00 goals-against average in two career outings against Montreal.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and Sportsnet.

Probable lineup against Vancouver:

Gallagher – Plekanec – Pacioretty
Semin – Galchenyuk – Eller
Fleischmann – Desharnais – Weise
Smith-Pelly – Mitchell – Flynn
Byron

Subban – Markov
Beaulieu – Petry
Pateryn – Gilbert
Tinordi

SEE ALSO
Words From The Room - November 16
Game preview: Canadiens vs. Canucks
Weekly overview
Getting over it

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