- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Sunday morning, ahead of a rare Sunday night game against the visiting Winnipeg Jets. As the first team to reach double-digit wins this season, the Habs will already be looking to secure their 11th victory of 2015-16 when they end the weekend at the Bell Centre.
|The Canadiens skated in special purple practice jerseys as part of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative.|
- Carey Price was absent from the morning practice. Currently suffering from a lower-body injury, the team announced on Sunday morning that Dustin Tokarski was recalled from the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps. Head coach Michel Therrien also announced following practice that Price will be sidelined for at least the team’s entire four-game homestand.
“It happened on Thursday, but it’s nothing major. He underwent treatment, and let us know on Friday morning that he was still feeling a bit of pain,” explained Therrien. “We didn’t want to take any chances, and our medical staff recommended yesterday that he takes a week off.”
- Rookie goaltender Mike Condon will therefore make his fourth start of the season, and first at the Bell Centre on Sunday. With three wins in as many starts and a 0.944 save percentage with a 1.67 goals against average to start his NHL career following Friday’s most recent win in Calgary, the Habs have every reason to believe the 25-year-old netminder keep that streak going, beginning against Winnipeg.
“You don’t have to say how important Price is to our team. He’s been our backbone game after game, but looking at the way Condo’s played this season we’ve got that same confidence playing in front of him,” admitted Brendan Gallagher, who has 10 points in 12 games so far this season, third-most among his teammates. “He’s going to come in and do the job. He’s a hard-working and very talented kid.”
The Habs have also been getting the job when Condon has been in goal, scoring a combined 16 goals over his three starts to date, to help ease the Needham, MA native into his new role.
“It’s a tough position to play. He has a lot of pressure on him, but he’s been flawless in every start so far. He’s made big saves for us, allowed us to get the lead, and given us the chance to play a comfortable style of hockey from there on out,” continued Gallagher. “He’s been great, and we expect nothing less from him tonight.”
- The Jets are off to a fast 7-3-1 start following the franchise’s first playoff appearance last spring since returning to the Manitoban capital in 2011.
Winnipeg native Dale Weise, who scored his first career NHL hat trick on Friday in Calgary, is expecting a tough test from his hometown team.
“I’ve watched a lot of their games, being from there obviously, and they’re a fast team. Their top line is on fire -- I know Wheeler had an eight-game point streak or something crazy like that -- so they’ve got some good offense, they’re a big team, they’re physical, they skate well, and they do a lot of good things,” underlined the 27-year-old. “We’re coming back from a road trip where we didn’t play very well to a team like Winnipeg that’s playing extremely well. We’ve got to get back to playing the right way. Calgary was a good first step for us and we’ll try to right the ship here tonight.”
- The Canadiens skated in special purple practice jerseys as part of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative. The cause is one Gallagher, whose grandfather Matt passed away with prostate cancer, holds close to heart.
“My grandpa is someone who meant a lot to me and my family growing up. Ever since his passing, I’m reminded of when this month comes along. It’s a time to remember what he meant to us, everything he taught us, and we’ll honor him, and others like him the best we can. It means a lot to myself and many others as well."
- Puck drop is scheduled is for 7:00 p.m. at the Bell Centre, on RDS and Sportsnet.
From the room
Game Preview: Jets @ Canadiens
He owns the night
The Numbers Game: October 30, 2015
Unmasked: MMA training boosts Canadiens' Condon
|Goaltender Mike Condon gets the start in goal on Friday night against the Flames.
- Following the Canadiens' 4-3 loss to the Oilers on Thursday night, only some of the (extra) players practiced at 11:30 this morning at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary ahead of Friday night's Canadiens-Flames matchup.
- The team has confirmed that the only change to tonight's lineup will be in goal: Mike Condon will start his third career game in the NHL. In his first two starts, against the Senators and the Sabres, the backup goalie has maintained a record of 2-0-0, allowing 1.50 GAA with a save percentage of .947.
- After a day off on Wednesday, the Canadiens hit the ice on Thursday morning at Rexall Place in Edmonton in preparation for their tilt against the Oilers.
“I’m really excited to play. The team has been winning, and it’s been a lot of fun around here. You want to see your team win as much as you want to play. You just have to continue working hard. When your time comes, you have to be ready,” shared Byron, who boasts two goals and seven points in nine career games against Edmonton, the highest point-total he’s amassed against any NHL team. “I just want to help the team win another hockey game tonight. I think one off my skills and strengths has always been that I’m the kind of guy who can just jump in anywhere and anytime. For me, it’s just a mental challenge and I have to be smart and pay attention to the small details.”
Head coach Michel Therrien believes Byron will ultimately bring some good attributes to the table.
“The situation we’ve been in lately made it difficult to make lineup changes. Even if sometimes you might be a little less satisfied with certain guys, the time was right to get Paul in there,” explained Therrien, who will feature the 26-year-old winger on a line with Torrey Mitchell and Devante Smith-Pelly, while Brian Flynn will ply his trade alongside Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller. “I’m excited to see Paul play. There are a lot of things that I like about him. I’ve seen a lot of good things at practice. He’s very fast, good on the forecheck, and I think he’ll cause our opponents to make mistakes. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to get him in there.”
- Defenseman Jeff Petry will be playing his first game against his former team since joining the Canadiens at the trade deadline last March. Petry, who began his NHL career in Edmonton in 2010-11 and played 295 regular season games with the Oilers, is excited to be back in his old stomping groups. But, things are a little bit different this time around, of course.
“It’s definitely different coming in and going left to the visitors' room. I had a chance to catch up with some of the guys this morning and get that out of the way just to be ready to play here,” offered Petry, who put up 17 goals, 74 points and 139 penalty minutes during his time in Alberta. “Somebody brought it to my attention that not only is it the first time I’ll be playing against them, but it’s the last time I’ll be playing here in this building. It’s going to be a special night.”
- Thursday night’s contest will give the Canadiens a first-hand look at rookie sensation Connor McDavid, who has been lighting opponents up as of late. McDavid has five goals and 10 points in 10 games this season, and Therrien’s troops are well aware that keeping the Oilers’ No.97 in check will be a tall task.
“I’ve skated with him a couple of times this summer, so I know a little bit about him. He doesn’t know, but I’ve been taking notes during summer skates, so I’ve got a notepad on him. I’m going to sit with the D-men and share what I know,” cracked P.K. Subban, who has one goal and 10 points in 10 games during the 2015-16 campaign. “He’s dynamic. You can see it when you watch the highlights. He can make plays at top speed. Only a few players in the world can do that. You have to be prepared, as a defenseman, to transition and move your feet to keep up with him and to take away his options. To take away time and space from a guy who can make plays at top speed isn’t easy. It can be done, though. He has to continue to gain experience, so we’ve got to take advantage of that.”
- Coming off a tough outing in Vancouver, Carey Price will once again get the start in goal on Thursday night in Edmonton. Following the morning skate, Therrien confirmed that Mike Condon would be between the pipes on Friday night in Calgary against the Flames.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 9 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and Rogers Sportsnet.
Probable lineup against Edmonton:
Game Preview: Canadiens @ Oilers
The Montreal Canadiens – evenko Blood Drive on November 18
- The Canadiens skated at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Tuesday morning in preparation for their tilt against the Canucks. It will mark the first of three games the Canadiens will play over the next four days in Western Canada.
- Michel Therrien's troops will have a chance to tie an NHL record on Tuesday night if they register their 10th consecutive win to start the season. The feat was previously accomplished by the 1993-94 edition of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres back in 2006-07. While Therrien's contingent might be closing in on history, they insist the contest against Vancouver is just another game on the schedule.
“It would definitely be an accomplishment, but none of us are really thinking about it. We’re just a group of guys that wants to win games,” offered David Desharnais, who will be looking to extend his point streak to three games on Tuesday night. “If we can make history, good for us, but it’s not our top priority.”
- As confirmed on Monday, head coach Michel Therrien will not be featuring any lineup changes against Vancouver. That means that Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi and Paul Byron will all be healthy scratches once again.
The Canadiens’ bench boss isn’t taking anything for granted these days, though, especially with his squad going up against a Canucks team that is still looking for its first home win of the year. With that in mind, Therrien believes that setting the tone early and getting off to a strong start will be key to coming out on top.
“We’ve been paying close attention to the way we start out games. We’ve been doing things well in that department since the beginning of the year. We’re well aware that we’re battling a hungry team. They haven’t managed to win on home ice yet,” stressed Therrien, referencing the Canucks’ 0-2-3 record in their own barn. “For us, the start of the game will be very important in order to dictate the tempo.”
- Carey Price will go up against Ryan Miller in goal. The Canadiens’ netminder boasts a 6-1-2 record in 10 career outings against Vancouver. For his part, Miller has enjoyed his fair share of success against the Canadiens over the years, posting a 26-12-6 record in 44 career appearances.
- Speaking of Price, the reigning Hart Trophy, Vezina Trophy, William M. Jennings Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award winner certainly has people across the league talking these days. Earlier in the day, St. Louis Blues bench boss Ken Hitchcock said that Price was playing such good hockey that he’s in players’ heads and it isn’t healthy for the rest of the league because teams like the Canadiens essentially begin games with a one or two-goal advantage.
Given that Therrien has the best seat in the house every night to see Price stymie the opposition, he found his colleague’s comments rather flattering, especially after the Canadiens blanked the Blues just last week at the Bell Centre.
“I think it’s very flattering for Carey. As we already know, he’s a great goaltender. In my mind, I think it’s good for the league, and even more so for the Montreal Canadiens,” mentioned Therrien, who has seen Price go undefeated in seven games during the 2015-16 campaign. “Carey picked up right where he left off last year. He had a huge season, and he came into this year with a lot of confidence. He’s simply been dominant.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 10 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and City TV Montreal.
Probable lineup against the Canucks:
- After traveling to British Columbia on Sunday afternoon, the Canadiens hit the ice at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Monday in preparation for their tilt against the Canucks on Tuesday night.
- As expected, head coach Michel Therrien announced that there would be no lineup changes come Tuesday night. That means that forward Paul Byron and defensemen Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn will once again be healthy scratches.
- Carey Price will be going up against the Canucks for the 11th time in his career. He boasts a 6-1-2 record and a 2.19 goals-against average in 10 previous outings against Vancouver.
- Speaking of Price, the Canadiens starter took a shot up high during Monday’s practice. After going down for a few seconds, Price got right back up and resumed the on-ice session with the rest of the group.
- The Canadiens skated at the First Niagra Center in Buffalo on Friday morning ahead of their tilt against the Sabres.
- Mike Condon will make his second start both of the season, and of his career, on Friday in Buffalo. In his previous start on October 11 in Ottawa, Condon stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced for a 0.952 save percentage, impressing his teammates along the way.
“Just watching him at practice and especially seeing him get that first game under his belt, we have all the confidence in the world in him,” dished defenseman Tom Gilbert. “He’s played great himself so far, so nothing changes in terms of how we’ll play in front of him tonight.”
- Aside from the change in goal, head coach Michel Therrien once again isn’t expected to make any other modifications to his lineup heading into Friday’s game.
“It’s a great accomplishment to get this far, and I hope I have 600 more in me. It’s a good feeling,” underlined the 32-year-old blue liner who has scored 43 goals and 173 assists for a total of 216 points over his first 599 games as an NHLer. “Coming in as a rookie, I was all over the place, but every year you pick up and learn new things. I think the experience has paid off because I’m a lot better today than I was then.”
Following the Sabres morning skate, Gionta had some kind words to share about his former teammate in his new role, and Pacioretty likewise returned the favor.
“I think I’m different now than when I played with Brian. I was in a much different position when he was on the team, and quite frankly I learned a lot from him,” admitted the 26-year-old winger, who played five seasons with Gionta in Montreal. “When he left, I think that’s when I started to incorporate his leadership qualities into my own game. I have nothing but great things to say about Brian and I’m honored to know he mentioned me this morning.”
- Despite finishing at opposite ends of the NHL standings in 2014-15, the Sabres still managed to win three of their four games against Montreal a season ago.
Now entering Friday’s contest with a 7-0-0 record to Buffalo’s current 2-4-0, the Habs will nevertheless have their work cut out for them if they intend to leave Western New York with their perfect record intact.
“They’re going to be a hardworking team tonight, that’s for sure,” predicted Pacioretty. “They’ve got a lot of skill -- especially new faces -- up front. Those are guys who will put the puck in the back of your net if you give them any free time or space on the ice. Obviously they have a lot to prove right now so their intensity level will be there, and we have to make sure we match it from the moment the puck drops.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on RDS and CityTV at the First Niagra Center in Buffalo.
- After taking part in off-ice workouts on Wednesday, the Canadiens were back on the ice on Thursday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard before departing for Buffalo where they’ll play the Sabres on Friday night.
- Prior to the start of practice, Michael Bournival skated with athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine as he continues to recover from concussion-like symptoms. Bournival sported a tinted visor during the on-ice session.
- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Mike Condon will get the start in goal against the Sabres on Friday night. It will mark his second start of the year. Condon was last between the pipes against the Ottawa Senators back on October 11, pacing the Canadiens to a 3-1 win at the Canadian Tire Centre. For his part, Carey Price will be back in goal on Saturday night when the Canadiens play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre.
- Before practice officially got underway at 11 a.m., Jean-Jacques Daigneault and Craig Ramsay ran power play drills on the Bell Sports Complex’s secondary ice rink.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Semin – Galchenyuk – Eller
Weise – Desharnais - Fleischmann
Smith-Pelly – Mitchell – Flynn
Subban – Markov
Emelin – Petry
Gilbert - Beaulieu
Tinordi - Pateryn
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the St. Louis Blues at the Bell Centre. The Habs will be looking to secure their seventh straight victory to start the year.
- Still dealing with concussion-like symptoms, Michael Bournival hit the ice prior to the start of the morning skate accompanied by athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine. Bournival is steadily making his way back to active duty, having skated a few times over the last couple of weeks. You’ll recall that Bournival missed training camp in September due to the injury.
- Head coach Michel Therrien did not meet the media following the morning skate. On Monday, however, the Canadiens’ bench boss confirmed that the Canadiens would not be featuring any lineup changes against the Blues. That means that forward Paul Byron, and defensemen Greg Pateryn and Jarred Tinordi, will once again be healthy scratches.
- Carey Price will be in goal for the Canadiens against St. Louis. The NHL’s First Star of the Week boasts a 3-3-2 record in eight career starts against Ken Hitchcock’s squad, in addition to a 2.68 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage. His counterpart on Tuesday night, Jake Allen, has a record of 0-2-0, a 4.51 goals-against average, and a .830 save percentage against the Canadiens.
- The Canadiens might be the league’s only undefeated team, but it’s safe to say the Blues are off to a hot start to the season, too. St. Louis has a 5-1-0 record on the year, and they’re currently on a four-game winning streak during which they’ve scored four goals each game. For his part, Blues star forward Vladimir Tarasenko was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week after registering three goals and six points in four games, in addition to amassing a plus-6 differential.
“If you give him space, he’s going to make plays. He’s got a great shot. We’ve seen a lot of guys like him. We know that we just have to deny him time and space,” explained Jeff Petry, referencing Tarasenko's remarkable skill set which has him tied with Henrik Zetterberg and David Krejci for the league lead in points. “St. Louis is a team that plays a very physical game. They’ve got big guys up front. We have to do good work when they send the puck deep. We have to make the play quickly and get our forwards going up ice as fast as possible. Tonight, we’re really going to have to use our speed.”
- On Tuesday night, Scott Gomez will be playing his second game in his former hockey home since the Canadiens bought out his contract back in 2012. This time around, the veteran of 1,047 NHL games, will be sporting a Blues jersey. He centered a line with Scottie Upshall and Dmitrij Jaskin at the morning skate. Even if Gomez will be suiting up for the opposition, Canadiens vets still have plenty of good things to say about the 35-year-old Anchorage, AK native.
“He’s a guy who had a big influence on me, not only as a centerman, but especially as a professional athlete. He taught me how to be a professional hockey player and how to act. He was a big inspiration for me and he helped me a lot,” explained Lars Eller, who was Gomez's teammate for two seasons in Montreal. “I think a lot of guys in this locker room can say the same thing. It’s always a little bit weird to play against him, especially since he was a teammate and we were close. I wish him all the best in his career, but that’s not a reason to take it easy on him tonight at all.”
- Tuesday night’s tilt will mark the 200th NHL game of Alex Galchenyuk’s career. The Milwaukee, WI native has one goal and five points through six games this season. He’s put up 43 goals and 109 points in his 199 previous outings with the CH dating back to the 2012-13 campaign.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. Please note that due to coverage of the MLB Playoffs, the start of the Canadiens game will be broadcast on RDS2 in French, while the rest of the game can be seen on RDS. English coverage is available on City TV Montreal.
Lines and D pairings at the morning skate:
Words From The Room - October 20
Game Preview: Blues @ Canadiens
Combination of factors
Carey Price named NHL’s first star of the week
- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Centre on Monday ahead of their tilt against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night. Michel Therrien’s troops will be looking to remain undefeated this season after winning their first six games of the year.
- Monday’s practice took place at the Bell Centre because players participated in a team photo session prior to hitting the ice.
- Coaching consultant Craig Ramsay laced up his skates on Monday with the rest of the coaching staff as the Canadiens spent about 20 minutes working on special teams play.
- Following practice, Therrien confirmed that the Canadiens wouldn’t be featuring any lineup changes on Tuesday night. That means that forward Paul Byron and defensemen Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn will both be healthy scratches.
- Carey Price was also named the NHL's First Star of the Week on Monday. He went 3-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average, .963 save percentage and one shutout to backstop the Canadiens to three wins, leading the team to its best start in franchise history.
Lines and D pairings at practice: