BROSSARD - The Canadiens got back to work in Brossard, electing to hold an optional practice at the Bell Sports Complex. The skate comes just a day after the Habs scored three unanswered goals in an attempted third period comeback that would fall just short against the Detroit Red Wings.
Players who took advantage of the optional skate included Mike Condon, Ben Scrivens, Greg Pateryn, Mike Brown, Jacob de la Rose, Nathan Beaulieu, Michael McCarron, Sven Andrighetto, Darren Dietz, David Desharnais, Joel Hanley and P.K. Subban.
The boys had some fun at practice on Good Friday, bringing both nets to one end of the rink for some high intensity three-on-three drills using the width of the ice.
Following the optional skate, coach Therrien confirmed that Mike Condon will get the nod between the pipes on Saturday night against the Rangers.
In addition, the coach announced that Mike Brown and Stefan Matteau are both available to suit up on Saturday night against New York after both forwards had to head to the dressing room with suspected ailments in Thursday night’s contest against the Red Wings. Meanwhile, Lucas Lessio will require more time to return to the lineup. Therrien also mentioned that Sven Andrighetto could potentially be available Saturday.
Lastly, P.K. Subban continues to practice with his teammates while he waits for the doctor’s green light to return to the lineup.
- The Canadiens skated at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday morning ahead of their 7:30 p.m. tilt against the Detroit Red Wings.
- Ben Scrivens will get his first start in goal on Thursday since March 19 in Ottawa. The 29-year-old netminder has faced a combined 87 shots in his last two outings, making 80 saves over a win and a loss against the Sabres and Senators respectively.
- De La Rose will be replaced in the lineup by David Desharnais, who returns to action from a lower body injury which had sidelined the forward since February 15 in Arizona.
“It’s nice to finally be back and be able to help my teammates,” underlined the 29-year-old forward who has missed the team’s last 17 games. “I’m a bit nervous, for sure, coming back from a long absence like this. As a player, you always want to play and help your teammates win.”
“I’m excited to be back at center, and I want to help the ‘big guy’ over there play well,” cracked Desharnais on the topic of his new six-foot-six linemate. “And he can help me too by taking the draws on his strong side. We’re going to work together to help each other out tonight.”
McCarron meanwhile is eager to take advantage of the veteran presence.
“He’s a veteran guy who’s been in the league quite a long time, and he’s known for being a great player,” dished the 21-year-old. “He can find you and get the puck to you and I’m super excited to be playing with him tonight. It should be a fun time, and a great opportunity for me to prove myself and play with different players.”
- A pair of Habs will enjoy a homecoming of sorts in Detroit when Michigan natives McCarron and Greg Pateryn skate onto the Joe Louis Arena ice prior to puck drop on Thursday.
McCarron will be facing his hometown team for the first time, and expects a huge newly converted Habs contingent on-site for the occasion.
“Upwards of 40 to 50 of my friends and family are coming tonight. I actually turned my phone my off, because I didn’t want to respond to all the text messages and that stuff. My parents are taking care of all the tickets and I’m just focusing on the game and the task at hand,” revealed the Grosse Pointe native. “For as long as I can remember I came to games here with my grandparents and parents. The Red Wings were always my team, so I’m super excited to be playing here at the Joe tonight.”
Pateryn for his part returns to Detroit for the second time this season, but admits the experience is still one he circles on his calendar.
“Being from here and growing up here, I’ve watched a lot games in this rink and watched this team play my whole life, so it’s always a special moment to come back and play in front of the crowd here and against the Red Wings,” acknowledged the Sterling Heights native, who will likewise have some friendly faces in the crowd. “My parents were the only ones in town, so they’ll be coming to the game. I’m trying to not make too big a deal about coming back -- I’m trying to stay humble about it -- but if people come to the game to see me, then that’s exciting.”
- Detroit currently sits nine points ahead of the Habs in the standings, tied with Philadelphia for the East’s final wildcard spot with nine games left to play.
It was no secret on Thursday that the Canadiens intend to make the Red Wings work should they like to keep their 24-year playoff streak intact.
“If we can play spoiler that’s what we want to do. Obviously there are no personal grudges, but we we all have something to prove in this room -- whether you’re a young guy or an older guy trying to stick around,” admitted captain Max Pacioretty. “Everybody in this room has something to prove, and if we can get a couple of wins here, it’ll be a pretty good feeling down the stretch.”
- The Canadiens returned to the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard following their dramatic 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Following practice the team is set to depart for Detroit where a matchup against the Red Wings awaits them on Thursday night.
- After suiting up in non-contact jerseys at Tuesday’s practice, both P.K. Subban and David Desharnais were full participants in Wednesday’s practice, swapping their light-blue jerseys for full-contact ones.
- In addition, Sven Andrighetto made his return to practice after missing the last two games with an upper-body injury. The young winger could potentially make his return to the lineup in Detroit.
- Following practice coach Therrien confirmed that Ben Scrivens will be between the pipes against the Red Wings.
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Anaheim Ducks at the Bell Centre.
- Prior to the start of the on-ice session, Brendan Gallagher, Daniel Carr and Brian Flynn suited up in full equipment and skated with athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine. Following practice, Carr and Flynn even returned to the ice to take shots on Carey Price and assist in his rehab work.
- During Sunday night’s game against the Calgary Flames, head coach Michel Therrien elected to put Phillip Danault on the wing. On Tuesday, Danault was skating on a line with Michael McCarron and Stefan Matteau.
“I sat down with Phillip before the last game and I told him why I wanted to see him on the wing,” explained Therrien, who watched Danault pick up an assist on Michael McCarron’s first career NHL goal on Sunday. “A forward who can play different positions is a big asset for us. I think it was his first game on the wing, and he did well.”
For his part, Danault embraced the opportunity to try out something different.
“I didn’t expect to be playing wing when I got to Montreal, but at the same time, the more versatile you are, the more value you have as a player. That’s important for any team,” explained the Canadiens’ No. 24, who was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks on February 26. “I was still taking faceoffs, but to be able to play on the wing is good for my development.”
“We’re hoping to see certain players back over the course of the week,” said Therrien. “P.K. had a high-intensity workout with Pierre Allard. He looked good on the ice. In the end, it’s always the player – in conjunction with the doctors – who decides when they’re ready to return. He won’t play tonight, and I can’t guarantee that he’ll be back in the next game, either.”
- Despite their position in the standings, the Canadiens still have nine games left on their regular season schedule. For some players, especially the youngsters, the remaining contests represent an excellent opportunity to strut their stuff ahead of training camp next year. The veterans, meanwhile, also want to offer up solid performances, too.
“People think we come to the rink, collect our paycheque and go home and spend our money, but that’s not the case at all,” said captain Max Pacioretty. “We want to win. We want to be happy. We want to have good vibes at the rink. That’s definitely not the case. I wish people could see what goes on behind closed doors, the amount of work, the amount of stress, pressure. We want this in this room, even more so than people think. It’s not going to change with what’s being said about our team. That’s not the truth.”
- Bruce Boudreau’s contingent certainly represents a good challenge for the Canadiens on Tuesday night. Anaheim is currently in the midst of a five-game road trip that will see them make their way to Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton after tonight.
“This is a very good team we’re playing against tonight. It’s going to be a good test for us,” said Nathan Beaulieu, referencing Anaheim’s ranking as the top defensive squad in the league. “Obviously, our team looks a little different from the beginning of the year, but it’s just another opportunity. It’ll be a good challenge for us.”
The Canadiens will have to play a disciplined brand of hockey against Anaheim. Not only do they boast the best power play in the NHL, clicking 24.3 % of the time, but they also boast the league’s top penalty killing units, denying the opposition 87.3 % of the time, too.
- Mike Condon will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. It will be his 45th start of the season.
On Sunday afternoon the Canadiens announced that defenseman Joel Hanley has been called up from the St. John’s IceCaps as part of an emergency recall for Sunday night’s contest against the Calgary Flames. The move comes on the heels of the news that blue-liner Victor Bartley will be out day-to-day after suffering a lower-body injury.
In 61 games with the IceCaps this season, the Keswick, Ontario native has registered five goals and added eight assists. The former UMass-Amherst University (Hockey East) product - who is expected to make his NHL debut on Sunday night at the Bell Centre - signed a one-year, two way contract with the Canadiens back in January 2015.
- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Saturday morning in preparation for their game against the Senators. Following the contest, Michel Therrien’s troops will return home to Montreal for a matchup against the Calgary Flames on Sunday night at the Bell Centre.
- After the on-ice session, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Stefan Matteau would be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night. Matteau will play in place of Jacob De La Rose.
“We want to give all of our young players chances to show us what they’re capable of doing,” said Therrien, whose squad will play their 72nd game of the regular season on Saturday night. “When it’s all over, we want to have some answers. Stefan needs to play with the intensity players have to have in order to be successful.”
- In their most recent outing, the Canadiens were involved in an emotionally charged affair against the Sabres in which penalty minutes aplenty were handed out as both teams tried to impose themselves physically. A similar scenario could easily repeat itself on Saturday night given the recent history between the Canadiens and Senators, particularly during postseason play.
“It’s up there [among our rivalries]. I think now it’s the most physical. The last two playoff series we played against each other were very physical. It’s very entertaining hockey, and I think that carried over to the regular season and even in pre-season. I can remember some heated battles as well,” shared captain Max Pacioretty, who will look to stretch his current points streak to seven games on Saturday night. “It’s always fun for us to come here and play against a team that doesn’t like us and we don’t like them. These are the types of games that we enjoy playing, especially on Saturday night.”
Rookie Michael McCarron will get his first taste of the rivalry that seems to be intensifying with every meeting whether in Ottawa or Montreal.
“It’s a big rivalry between these two teams. It’s going to be my first experience with it and I’m super excited,” shared McCarron, who will surely be counted upon to throw his weight around on Saturday night, especially if things get out of hand at any point in time. “I like playing in heated battles. It’ll be a good game tonight.”
And, it’s no secret what the Canadiens will have to do in order to give themselves a chance to best the Senators on their home turf.
“There was some good character in that Buffalo game. Guys stuck up for each other. We need to play with that team mentality,” stressed Pacioretty. “Hopefully, that will carry over to tonight.”
- Like McCarron, Darren Dietz is one of many young guns being featured in the lineup these days. With fellow rearguard Mark Barberio on the sidelines, Dietz returns to active duty after coming back up from St. John's as an emergency recall on Thursday.
“He’s a young defenseman who’s following the right steps. We want him to move the puck well, play solid in one-on-one situations and just play the right way,” explained Therrien, who has featured the 22-year-old Medicine Hat, AB native in two games so far this season. “At the Junior level, he was able to bring some offensive production, too, so we have to give him some chances to chip in on offense at the professional level as well.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet and TVA Sports.
Words From The Room - Mar. 19
Game Preview: Canadiens vs. Senators
A wish come true
Follow the leader
- After a day off on Thursday, the Canadiens returned to practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday morning before taking the train to Ottawa for their tilt against the Senators on Saturday night.
- Prior to the start of practice, the Canadiens confirmed that defenseman Mark Barberio would be sidelined indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms. He suffered the injury during Wednesday night’s contest in Buffalo, and was forced to leave the game after logging just 8:01 of ice time.
- Meanwhile, defenseman P.K. Subban was back on the ice on Friday morning, working out with strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard. Subban continues to recover from a non-serious neck injury sustained on March 10. While the Canadiens’ No. 76 looked sharp during the on-ice session, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that he would not be available to play over the weekend.
- In his post-practice press conference, Therrien also confirmed that Ben Scrivens would get the start in goal on Saturday night against Ottawa, while Mike Condon would be between the pipes on Sunday night when the Calgary Flames visit the Bell Centre.
- For his part, David Desharnais continued his rehab work, too. He skated with athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine on Brossard’s primary ice rink around 12 p.m.
- Earlier in the day, Carey Price also hit the ice with goaltending coach Stephane Waite and special guest – seven-year-old, Nathan Chouinard. The young netminder was a guest of both Price and Waite, who were touched by his story featured on the news in Sherbrooke, QC. Chouinard continues to pursue his hockey dreams while battling ectrodactyly.
The Canadiens announce that defenseman Darren Dietz has been called up from the St. John's IceCaps as part of an emergency recall.
Dietz, who was reassigned to the IceCaps ahead of the Canadiens matchup against the Buffalo Sabres on March 16, makes his way back to the Habs after Mark Barberio suffered an injury in Wednesday night's contest and was forced to leave after playing just eight minutes.
On Wednesday afternoon the Montreal Canadiens announced that defenseman Darren Dietz has been assigned to St. John’s IceCaps of the AHL, after joining the Habs on March 11th as part of an emergency recall.
The 22-year-old blue-liner, who skated a career-high 21:00 minutes in Tuesday night’s matchup against Florida, suited up for two contests with the Canadiens where he registered four penalty minutes. The Medicine Hat, Alberta native returns to St. John’s where he has tallied four goals and 12 assists in 58 games so far this season.
- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre.
- Before the skate got underway, several injured players continued their rehab work on Brossard’s primary ice rink. Brian Flynn and Daniel Carr – both of whom sported tracksuits – skated with head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend. Then, David Desharnais donned all of his equipment and worked out with athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine.
- Following the on-ice session, forward Charles Hudon was re-assigned to the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps. Hudon played one game during his most recent call-up, logging 14:26 of ice time.
“Technically, he was with us on an emergency recall basis,” explained head coach Michel Therrien. “When a player is ready to return, you have to send a guy down. We would have liked to keep him with us longer, but we liked what we saw.”
- With respect to the players who missed the Canadiens’ most recent outing over the weekend against Minnesota, Lars Eller (flu), Nathan Beaulieu (lower-body injury) and Stefan Matteau (lower-body injury) all skated with the rest of their teammates on Tuesday morning. Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed, however, that both Eller and Beaulieu wouldn’t be suiting up against Florida. They will be making the trip to Buffalo following the game, though, but there’s no guarantee that either will see game action against the Sabres on Wednesday night.
- For his part, Matteau will be back in the lineup against the Panthers, and he’ll be going up against a familiar face on the opposing team having spent some time around Jaromir Jagr while plying his trade in the New Jersey Devils organization.
“He’s a source of inspiration for all young players. He’s played for such a long time and been so dominant over the years. I had the chance to skate with him a little bit in New Jersey and I often heard people talk about him when I was a kid,” said Matteau, who watched his father, Stephane, play more than a few games against Jagr during his playing career that spanned 848 games. “I don’t think he could really give me any tips to play against him. He’s a smart guy on the ice, probably smarter than everybody else.”
- While the Panthers find themselves right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff race, the Canadiens are on the outside looking in. Gerard Gallant’s squad sits third in the Atlantic Division with 85 points on the year, right alongside the Tampa Bay Lightning. With 13 games to go, there’s nothing the Canadiens would like more than to put a small dent in any momentum their playoff-bound opponents are feeding off of right now.
“It’s obviously going to be a good test. They’ve been a good team since the start of the year. They’ve obviously got a lot of talent on their team. It’s a good chance for us to kind of play spoiler a bit,” said defenseman Mark Barberio, who scored the Canadiens’ lone goal against Minnesota over the weekend at the Bell Centre. “We’ve played some good teams lately. Minnesota’s been battling for a spot. Dallas is one of the top teams in the league. It’s another good challenge for us.”
|Stefan Matteau is one of many Habs players eager to go up against Jaromir Jagr on Tuesday night.|
It’s also another chance for some of the Canadiens’ young guns to showcase their skills against one of the league’s top groups.
“Obviously, circumstances have changed a little bit. If you look around our room, we’re a very young team right now. Looking at that, it’s a good opportunity for our young guys to prove themselves,” explained Barberio. “You want to prove yourself against the best team. Florida right now is battling near the top of the division, so it’s a great chance and a great opportunity.”
- The Canadiens are a team stacked with youngsters, as are the Panthers, though. Five of Florida’s seven top scorers are currently under the age of 25.
“Florida is a team with a lot of young and talented players. The struggles they had for a while helped them draft some really good guys,” mentioned Therrien in his post-practice press conference on Tuesday, referencing the likes of Aaron Ekblad, Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov, among others. “They’re surrounded by good veterans. And, Gerard is doing excellent work with them right now.”
- Michael McCarron is a newcomer to the NHL ranks, but it hasn’t taken him long to feel confident in his abilities. That’s because he’s been given the opportunity to see ice time in a host of different scenarios, all of which include a measure of responsibility that isn’t always afforded to youngsters with limited experience at hockey’s highest level.
“I think [the coaching staff] is putting me in a lot of situations. They trust me enough to put me on the power play and to take defensive zone faceoffs, the little things like that,” said McCarron, who has averaged 11:31 of ice time through 10 games so far this year, and won just under 52 percent of his draws along the way. “I think they’re slowly believing in me and trusting me. At the same time, I’ve got to make them trust me. It’s a process. I’ve just got to keep going.”
- Mike Condon will get the start in goal for the Canadiens.