- After a day off on Thursday, the Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday morning. Michel Therrien’s troops will be back in action on Saturday night when they play host to the Minnesota Wild. Guy Lapointe’s jersey retirement ceremony will take place prior to the game.
- All players were present and accounted for at practice, except for Michael Bournival, who was injured in Wednesday night’s tilt in Buffalo. Bournival is sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury.
- Assistant coaches Dan Lacroix and Jean-Jacques Daigneault worked with the special teams units prior to the start of practice. They put the players through drills focusing on puck retrieval in the offensive zone.
- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Jiri Sekac will be in the lineup against Minnesota on Saturday night. He also indicated that all other lineup descisions haven't been made as of yet.
- For their part, the Wild were scheduled to practice at the Bell Centre on Friday afternoon.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Parenteau
Gallagher – Plekanec – Galchenyuk
Prust – Eller – Sekac
Weise/Bourque – Malhotra – Moen
Gilbert – Beaulieu
Subban – Markov
Emelin – Weaver
- Guy Lapointe’s jersey retirement ceremony will take place on November 8, 2014 at the Bell Centre prior to the game against the Minnesota Wild.
While the game is scheduled to get underway at 7 p.m., we suggest that you arrive early as the ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Guy Lapointe’s jersey will be the 18th jersey raised to the Bell Centre rafters, joining the likes of Howie Morenz (#7), Maurice Richard (#9), Jean Beliveau (#4), Henri Richard (#16), Guy Lafleur (#10), Doug Harvey (#2), Jacques Plante (#1), Dickie Moore (#12), Bernard Geoffrion (#5), Serge Savard (#18), Ken Dryden (#29), Larry Robinson (#19), Bob Gainey (#23), Patrick Roy (#33), Elmer Lach (#16), Yvan Cournoyer (#12) and Emile Bouchard (#3).
The event will mark the Canadiens’ first jersey retirement ceremony since December 4, 2009, when Elmer Lach and Emile Bouchard saw their jerseys raised to the rafters in conjunction with the team’s centennial celebrations.
- After downing the Sabres in a shootout on Wednesday in Buffalo, the Canadiens were given the day off on Thursday,
- Jarred Tinordi was assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs. He should play two games with the Canadiens' AHL affiliate over the weekend before rejoining the big club on Sunday. The Bulldogs will play two games against the Adirondack Phantoms on Nov. 7 and Nov. 8.
Canadiens prospect Nikita Scherback registered a hat trick for the WHL’s Everett Silvertips on Wednesday night in his team’s 6-3 win over the Red Deer Rebels.
The 18-year-old forward, who was selected 26th overall by the Canadiens in 2014, is off to an excellent start to the season. He already boasts 10 goals and 20 points in 12 games.
Last season, Scherbak put up 78 points in 65 games with the Saskatoon Blades. Prior to the start of the 2014-15 campaign, the Blades traded Scherbak to the Silvertips in exchange for goaltender Nik Amundrud and several draft picks.
|Dustin Tokarski will get his third start of the season on Wednesday.|
- The Canadiens held a closed skate on Wednesday morning at the First Niagra Center following a late arrival to Western New York. Carey Price, Dustin Tokarski, Nathan Beaulieu, Rene Bourque and Travis Moen were the only players on the ice for the brief morning practice.
- Tokarski will get his third start of the season on Wednesday in Buffalo. In his last outing on October 27 in Edmonton, the 25-year-old netminder allowed two goals on 18 shots in a 3-0 loss to the Oilers.
- A healthy scratch over the previous seven games, rookie Jiri Sekac will be back in the line-up opposite the Sabres in place of Bourque. In six games this season, the 22-year-old Czech forward has registered one goal while compiling a -4 differential.
- In addition to Bourque, Moen will also be a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game after Michael Bournival was reinserted into the lineup on Tuesday against the Blackhawks.
- Rounding out the lineup changes is Jarred Tinordi who will replace Beaulieu on the blue line. The 22-year-old defenseman sat out the previous two games against Chicago and Calgary.
Game Preview: Canadiens @ Sabres
The Numbers Game - November 4, 2014
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their game against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bell Centre. Following the game, the Canadiens will fly to Buffalo where they’ll take on the Sabres on Wednesday night at the First Niagara Center.
- Tuesday night’s game will mark the first meeting between goaltending coaches Stephane Waite, and his brother, Jimmy, who joined the Blackhawks prior to the 2014-15 campaign. While Stephane will be monitoring the work of Carey Price, Jimmy will be paying close attention to Corey Crawford. Price has played four career games against Chicago. He holds a 3-1-0 record, a 1.49 goals-against average, and a .953 save percentage during that span.
- Head coach Michel Therrien decided to make several changes to his lineup ahead of the tilt against Chicago. Michael Bournival will play his first game of the season. He will take Travis Moen’s place in the lineup. For his part, Jiri Sekac will also be a healthy scratch.
“I’m excited. I’ve been preparing to play since the start of the year. I feel ready,” offered Bournival, who played 60 games with the Canadiens last season. “You have to stay positive. I kept telling myself that I’d get a chance to play. It’s happening, and it’s up to me to seize the opportunity.”
And, Bournival’s teammates are excited to see the 22-year-old take to the ice against Chicago after a few stints with the Hamilton Bulldogs to stay in game shape.
“I hope he can create a spark,” mentioned Lars Eller, who should center a line flanked by Rene Bourque and Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau. “We know that he’s going to bring energy and enthusiasm. We know what we’ve got in Bourney, and I’m sure he’s going to bring his “A” game.”
- The Canadiens have put the lopsided loss at the hands of the Calgary Flames behind them. That’s a good thing considering a game against one of the NHL’s perennial powerhouses in the Chicago Blackhawks is on tap on Tuesday night. So, are Michel Therrien’s troops ready to give everything they’ve got to best a team that is widely considered among the best in the league? The answer to that question is a resounding yes.
|RAW: Lars Eller|
“After you’ve been embarrassed like that, there’s so much pride in the room that I’m confident we’re not going to repeat the performance we put on last game at home,” stressed Lars Eller, who scored his second goal of the season in Sunday night’s 6-2 loss to Calgary in Montreal. “I say that from experience from the past. Even last year, I think we were good at responding, even when we had difficult periods or difficult games. There’s a lot of pride in this room, and I’m sure we’re going to come out and play the right way.”
Needless to say, Joel Quenneville’s contingent won’t make things easy for them. The Canadiens are well aware of Chicago’s capabilities at both ends of the rink, and they aren’t taking their latest opponents lightly despite the fact that the Blackhawks have struggled out of the gate this season with just six wins in their first 12 games.
“They’re a great team. We know what they’ve accomplished over the past couple of years. We know what type of players they have on that team. They have a dynamic group,” offered P.K. Subban, who should be paired with Andrei Markov on Tuesday night. “But, we can’t focus on them. We need to focus on our group and what we can control. That’s how we play. If we play our team game and we play our system right, we’ll be just fine.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game can be seen on RDS and Sportsnet East.
Projected lineup vs. Blackhawks:
Game Preview - Canadiens vs. Blackhawks
Words From The Room - Nov. 4
New Montreal ticket packages available for 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship
Making his point
- After dropping a 6-2 decision to the Calgary Flames on Sunday night at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday ahead of their tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
- All players were present and accounted for at practice.
- The Canadiens spent a good part of Monday’s practice taking part in high-intensity skating and battle drills in the corners and in front of the net.
- In his post-practice press conference, head coach Michel Therrien indicated that he is considering making lineup changes for the game against Chicago. That means that Jiri Sekac and/or Michael Bournival, both of whom have been healthy scratches as of late, could suit up as soon as Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
- Therrien confirmed that Alex Galchenyuk will play wing against the Blackhawks after spending some time at center against the Flames. On Monday, Galchenyuk was featured on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher.
Forward lines and D pairings at practice:
- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex on Sunday morning ahead of their game against the Calgary Flames at the Bell Centre. It will be the second tilt between the two teams in five days. Michel Therrien’s troops downed the Flames 2-1 in a shootout last Tuesday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Alberta.
- Seventeen players took part in the on-ice session on Sunday morning, including goaltenders Carey Price and Dustin Tokarski. Absent were forwards Brandon Prust and Tomas Plekanec, along with defensemen Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban, and Tom Gilbert.
- The Canadiens will feature the same lineup that battled the Canucks on Thursday night in Vancouver. That means that Michael Bournival and Jiri Sekac will not see action against the Flames. On defense, head coach Michel Therrien must still decide between Nathan Beaulieu and Jarred Tinordi. Beaulieu should get the call as Tinordi remained on the ice for a period of time after the morning skate came to an end.
- Having gone up against Bob Hartley’s contingent less than a week ago in Calgary, the Canadiens know full well what kind of game their opponents will offer up on Sunday night. When the two teams squared off last Tuesday, the Flames utilized their speed to force the Habs into taking penalties that might have ultimately cost them two points. Fortunately, their penalty kill and Carey Price stood tall in the win.
“Calgary came out pretty hard in their own building. They’re a fast team. They work hard. We’ve just got to have that effort for us. I think we’ve just got to concentrate on our game and not worry about what they’re going to bring,” offered Mike Weaver, who sits second on the team with 22 blocked shots on the season. “They’ve got a great power play. We’ve got to take less penalties. We need to execute and control both our blue line and their blue line. I think that’s key for us. When we don’t do that and we don’t get the puck out and deep, that’s what really hurts us.”
While Price was the determining factor in the win in Southern Alberta, Weaver is adamant that relying solely on the Olympic gold-medalist to secure victories isn’t something the Canadiens want to make a habit of doing.
“We want to win the game as a whole. We don’t want to rely on Carey only to give us a chance,” stressed Weaver, who watched Price turn aside 37 shots in regulation time at the Scotiabank Saddledome, before stymying the Flames in the shootout. “We need to execute out there and do the little things that we’re supposed to be doing. We’ve almost relied on our goalies too much. It says a lot about the character of our team, about not ever giving up, which is great to have. But, you only want to use that every so often. You don’t want to use it every time.”
- The Canadiens’ power play hasn’t been clicking all season long, but Sunday night presents another good opportunity to turn things around with the man advantage. While the Habs rank 26th in the league when up a man, the Flames rank 26th in the NHL in short-handed situations.
“We talked about Calgary’s struggles a little bit. I don’t think we have to change too much, only a few small details. We have to go to the net and get rebounds,” stressed Brendan Gallagher, who boasts three goals and five points in 11 games. “There are some players that score 20 goals a season on the power play. They do that because they follow the game plan. Our coaches are doing excellent work. They know exactly what we have to do on the power play. We’ve got to listen to them.”
Returning to the friendly confines of the Bell Centre for the first time since October 25th might also give the Canadiens the extra jump they need to capitalize on any power play opportunities that may come their way.
“All of the games are different, but it always helps when we get to play in front of our fans,” praised Gallagher, who will be looking to register his first career point against Calgary. “We’re going to use their enthusiasm to help us win.”
- Michel Therrien juggled his forward lines at practice on Saturday, and he could be featuring those same lines on Sunday night against the Flames.
“When the team isn’t scoring over a long period of time, most of the time the coach is going to try to make changes to try to create new energy. We all know from the past that things can change quickly. They have a way of doing so,” confided Eller, who was paired with Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and Tomas Plekanec on Saturday. “Things rarely stay the same for too long. Hopefully, we can create some chemistry and build off some new energy.”
The other lines featured on Saturday saw Dale Weise alongside Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais, and Brendan Gallagher with Alex Galchenyuk and Rene Bourque. The line of Travis Moen, Manny Malhotra and Brandon Prust remained intact.
- Carey Price will get the start in goal against the Flames. The Anahim Lake, BC native holds a 3-4-0 record, a 2.68 goals-against average, and a .909 save percentage in seven career games against Calgary. Jonas Hiller will be between the pipes for the Flames.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The game can be seen on RDS and City Montreal.
- The Canadiens were back in Brossard on Saturday morning for the first time since returning to Montreal on Friday from the team’s annual western Canadian road trip. Coming off six days on the road, there were no players absent from the brief morning skate.
- Hitting the ice 20 minutes before the 11:00 a.m. practice was scheduled to start, a number of players worked on the power play with assistant coach Daniel Lacroix. Following 11 games this season, the Habs are 26th overall with the man advantage, posting a 9.38 PP%.
- Alexei Emelin practiced with his teammates in Brossard on Saturday after taking a hit to the head from Alexandre Burrows on Thursday in Vancouver. Burrows, meanwhile, was issued a three-game suspension on Thursday.
“It’s a good decision on the NHL’s part,” noted head coach Michel Therrien. “You never want to see guys take hits to the head. Our players’ safety is very important.”
- Therrien practiced with the same lines he ended Thursday’s game with in Vancouver, but did not confirm whether they would be used again on Sunday against Calgary.
“We made a decision during our last game to give our team a spark on offense, and it worked, so we hope to see that continue,” hinted the Habs’ bench boss.
OFFENSIVE LINES AND DEFENSIVE PAIRINGS AT PRACTICE:
- The Canadiens skated at Rogers Arena on Thursday morning ahead of their tilt against the Vancouver Canucks. It’s the final game of a three-game road trip. Michel Therrien’s troops will return to Montreal on Friday, and will be back in action on Sunday night against the Calgary Flames at the Bell Centre.
- Head coach Michel Therrien indicated that a decision concerning any lineup changes for Thursday night's game has not been made as of yet.
- Dale Weise is one of several Canadiens players who donned a Canucks jersey in recent years. In Weise’s case, Thursday night’s game marks the Winnipeg native’s first tilt at Rogers Arena since being dealt to Montreal last February. The 26-year-old forward, who spent two-plus seasons plying his trade in the Lower Mainland, can’t wait to suit up in his old barn and play in front of a fan base that always made him feel at home.
“I loved my timed here. I’ve got a lot of good friends that are still on the team. I respect the players in that locker room so much, from the Sedins to everybody else I’ve met here. They’re just amazing people. It’s a great organization,” praised Weise, who has two assists in seven games thus far this season. “They gave me a real chance to play in the NHL and get my foot in the door. That’s all you can ask for as a player. I’ve got nothing but respect for this city and the fans. I loved it here.”
One person Weise didn’t necessarily enjoy working with during his time in Vancouver was former Canucks head coach John Tortorella. Utilized sparingly while the temperamental bench boss was in charge, Weise admits that while his desire to best his former team on Thursday night is already quite high, it would be even greater if Tortorella was still running the show.
“It would be a lot higher. Absolutely,” offered Weise. “Obviously, it’s a new coach and a new organization. I’ve got no hard feelings. I love the guys on that team. They’re a great group of guys. Other than this game, I wish the absolute best for every single guy there. I’m extremely motivated to play and to get the win.”
|RAW: Manny Malhotra|
- Former Canucks forward Manny Malhotra shared similar sentiments on Thursday morning. Unlike Weise, however, the 34-year-old centerman already made his return to Vancouver last season as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes. While the tilt might not necessarily be a significant occasion for the Mississauga native, it’s safe to say Malhotra very much appreciated his time in the city.
“I think last year was a little bit more of that nostalgic feeling, whereas this year I’ve kind of moved on,” admitted Malhotra, who is still looking for his first point as a member of the Canadiens. “Obviously, I’ll never forget the good times we had here. I had a lot of good friends over there on that team. The staff is incredible. But once the drops, it’s just another game.”
- Like the Canadiens, the Canucks are off to an excellent start to the 2014-15 campaign, having won six of their first nine games. Willie Desjardins’ contingent boasts a few new faces in the locker room, including Radim Vrbata, who is playing alongside Henrik and Daniel Sedin. With a combined total of 33 points between them thus far this season, Michel Therrien knows that his troops will have to keep a close eye on those forwards in particular all game long.
“It’s always a challenge. Every time we go up against the Sedin line, they’ve always been one of the best trios in the NHL. It won’t be any different this time around,” stressed Therrien. “We’ll have to stick to our structure, and play a disciplined brand of hockey especially when they’re out there. With the parity that exists in the NHL these days, every game is big. This game is no exception.”
- Fans should expect a stellar goaltending duel on Thursday night as Carey Price and Ryan Miller will do battle between the pipes. Price, a native of Anahim Lake, BC, has come out on top in four of his last five outings in Vancouver.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 10 p.m. EST.