- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday morning in preparation for Tuesday night’s tilt against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre.
- John Scott and Ryan Johnston, both of whom were called up on Sunday afternoon from St. John’s, took to the ice alongside the rest of the group. The pair should be in uniform against Florida on Tuesday night. In Scott’s case, Therrien confirmed that he would play one game with the Canadiens.
- Therrien also confirmed that Mike Condon would get the start in goal on Tuesday night. Newcomer Charlie Lindgren, meanwhile, should get the call between the pipes in one of team’s final two games of the regular season, either on Thursday night in Carolina or on Saturday night against Tampa Bay on home turf.
- The Canadiens’ bench boss indicated that P.K. Subban hasn’t been given the green light from team doctors as of yet to return to active duty. He will not be in the lineup on Tuesday night.
- Prior to the start of practice, Lucas Lessio skated with strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard to continue rehabbing his lower-body injury.
- After practice, meanwhile, Mark Barberio suited up and skated with athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine. Barberio is recovering from a concussion suffered in mid-March.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
MONTREAL – The Canadiens made a few roster moves on Sunday evening after arriving home from Florida.
- Michael McCarron has been reassigned to St. John’s and will rejoin the IceCaps. In 20 games with the big club this year, the 6-foot-6 forward has registered one goal and one assist in addition to racking up 37 penalty minutes.
- With Nathan Beaulieu and Brett Lernout both out with injuries suffered on Thursday and Saturday night, respectively, the Canadiens have called up IceCaps blue-liner Ryan Johnston from St. John’s (emergency recall). Johnston has amassed nine assists in 34 games in his first pro season to date.
- With his final non-emergency recall of the season, Habs GM Marc Bergevin has opted to bring heavyweight forward John Scott to Montreal for the first time since the 33-year-old was traded to the Canadiens in January. Scott landed with the Habs along with Victor Bartley as part of a three-way deal that sent Jarred Tinordi to Arizona. The 2016 NHL All-Star Game MVP participated in 11 games with the Coyotes this season before taking part in 27 games with the IceCaps, where he has collected two goals and four points.
SUNRISE – The Canadiens skated at the BB&T Center on Friday morning in preparation for Saturday’s game against the Panthers.
- Jacob De La Rose did not skate with the team in Sunrise (therapy day).
- Nathan Beaulieu was also missing from Friday’s practice after suffering a broken thumb in Tampa on Thursday night. The 23-year-old defenseman will miss the remainder of the season.
- With the injury to Beaulieu, defenseman Brett Lernout was called up from St. John’s on Thursday night (emergency recall). He will join the team in Florida on Friday evening and will be available to play in Saturday’s game against the Panthers. He will wear No. 36 with the Habs.
- Daniel Carr will also suit up on Saturday for the first time since suffering what was at the time expected to have been a season-ending injury on January 25. The 24-year-old forward skated on a line with Mike McCarron and Phillip Danault during Friday’s practice.
- Carey Price met with the media on Friday after his second full practice with the team since suffering a lower-body injury on November 25. There is still no timeline for the All-Star netminder’s comeback between the pipes, but Price confirmed that he’s feeling increasingly comfortable in the crease as he continues working to regain his full range of motion.
- After posting his first career NHL shutout on Thursday night, Mike Condon will get the start against the top team in the division on Saturday night.
Lines at PracticePacioretty-Galchenyuk-Gallagher
- The Canadiens hit the ice at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Thursday morning for a busier-than-usual morning skate, with 26 players on the ice, including Carey Price, who was participating in his first practice with the team since suffering a lower-body injury on November 25.
“I didn’t try to shoot too hard or try to pick too many corners,” admitted Max Pacioretty with a laugh. “I think a lot of guys were scared going down on him and buried it in his pads a lot. It’s good to see him out there. The tempo of practice is different than skating on your own. The mindset of the guys was to get him back into it and let him feel the puck. From what I saw, he looked sharp.”
- While Price took another step in his rehab process on Thursday, Michel Therrien stressed that there’s still no timeline for his All-Star netminder’s eventual return to action – although he’s hopeful fans will get a chance to see Price between the pipes before the end of the regular season.
“I arrived at the rink really early this morning and he was already here. It’s great to see Carey practicing with his teammates for the first time,” said Therrien. “Just with his presence, Carey is a leader. He’s a very important part of this team. He’s been working extremely hard with the intention of playing again this year, not to get ready for next year’s training camp. It’s very encouraging to see him out on the ice with the rest of the team.”
- Price split his net with newly-signed NCAA goaltender Charlie Lindgren, who joined the team for the trip to Florida after signing as a free agent out of St. Cloud State University on Wednesday morning. The rookie netminder will spend the rest of the season with the big club.
“It doesn’t feel real. [Carey] is obviously the best goalie in the NHL. Just to be on the ice with him, I want to be a sponge and learn as much as I can from him,” said Lindgren, who has images of Ken Dryden on his St. Cloud mask in honor of his father Bob’s all-time favorite player. “On Saturday night, I was playing college hockey and now I’m up in the NHL. It’s hard to believe, but I’ve worked really hard to be here. I’d love to [play a game] but I definitely have to earn it. There are five games left in the season so we’ll see what happens, but if I get the opportunity I definitely want to make the most of it.”
- While Therrien confirmed that he intends on getting Lindgren into a game this season, the 22-year-old goalie will be tagged with backup duties on Thursday night. Mike Condon will get his second career start against the Lightning, having won the first outing 4-3 in a shootout on December 28.
- Since earning a promotion to his new spot centering the Canadiens’ top line, Alex Galchenyuk has been facing some stiff competition on a nightly basis, lining up against other teams’ most potent offensive weapons and stingiest defensive pairings. Thursday night should be no exception, when he, Max Pacioretty, and Paul Byron will get a chance to go toe-to-toe with All-Star sniper, Steven Stamkos in Tampa.
“He’s one of the top players in the league,” confirmed Galchenyuk, who has scored 13 goals in his last 17 games. “The last few games, I’ve played against the top players and it’s fun to match yourself up against them and see how you do, but I try not to think about that. I’ve made that mistake in the last couple of years coming to games thinking about who I have to play against, but I think the second I think about the players I’m playing against, I’m not playing my game.”
- The Lightning are currently the fourth-best defensivet team in the NHL, with a 2.36 goals-against-per-game average but they also sit seventh in the league with an average of 2.78 goals-for-per-game. While Galchenyuk knows he’ll have his work cut out for him in the defensive zone, he also sees that as an opportunity to create a little offense of his own against the Lightning.
“They’re a great team. They have a lot of skill and they move the puck well and they’re really offensive, so we have to make sure we’re smart and sharp in our own end,” explained the 22-year-old pivot. “They’re an offensive team, but there are weaknesses to that, so we have to capitalize on turnovers and make them pay for those.”
- Therrien confirmed that Stefan Matteau would play in place of Mike Brown against the Lightning and P.K. Subban will miss his 10th game since suffering a neck injury against Buffalo on March 10.
- Ben Scrivens cleared waivers on Thursday and has been assigned to the IceCaps.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Amalie Arena in Tampa. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet East, RDS, TSN 690 and 98,5 FM.
LINES AND DEFENSE PAIRINGS AT PRACTICE
De La Rose-McCarron-Matteau
Words from the room
Game Preview: Canadiens vs. Lightning
Canadiens agree to terms on a two-year contract with free agent Charlie Lindgren
Prospect Report – Playoff Edition
With the regular-season now in the rearview mirror for the Canadiens prospects, here’s a playoff update on each player in our Prospect Report as post-season action continues into April.
Jeremiah Addison: After setting new career highs in goals (27), assists (29) and points (56) in 66 games with the Ottawa 67’s this season, Addison’s hot streak extended into the post-season with a three point night in Game 1 against the Niagara IceDogs. However, Addison and the 67's will need to mount a comeback as they are currently down 2-1 in their opening round series against Niagara. Game 4 is set for March 30, 2016.
Michael McNiven: Despite a 23-save shutout in Game 2 and 36-save performance by McNiven in Game 3’s loss, the Owen Sound Attack trail 2-1 in their first round match-up against the London Knights in the OHL playoffs. Game 4 is set for March 30, 2016.
Simon Bourque: Captain Simon Bourque and his Rimouski Oceanic split the first two games in their series against the Charlottetown Islanders in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs, before suffering an 8-2 defeat in Game 3. The 177th pick in the 2015 draft has registered assists in each of the Oceanic’s first three games against Charlottetown. Game 4 is scheduled for March 30, 2016.
Daniel Audette: The Sherbrooke Phoenix forward collected a goal and an assist helping lead his club to a 3-2 victory in Game 1 against Shawinigan. However, after back-to-back losses in Game 2 and Game 3, Sherbrooke now trails the Cataractes 2-1. Game 4 is scheduled for March 30, 2016.
Noah Juulsen: A terrific start to the post-season has given the Habs 2015 first-round draft pick and his Everett Silvertips a 3-0 lead in their first round series against the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL playoffs. Game 4 is scheduled for March 30, 2016.
Matthew Bradley: Bradley and the Medicine Hat Tigers’ season concluded on March 22, after the club lost a single elimination wild-card game against the Edmonton Oil Kings with the eighth seed in the WHL's Eastern Conference up for grabs.
Artturi Lehkonen: The Finnish sensation racked up seven points in his first four playoffs games in the SHL this post-season, culminating in the elimination of fellow Habs prospect Lukas Vejdemo and Djurgardens IF from the SHL playoffs. Lehkonen and Frolunda will move on to face Luleå.
Lukas Vejdemo: The Habs former 3rd round pick's playoff run came to an end thanks to a first round elimination at the hands of Artturi Lehkonen's Frolunda Indians. This year’s post-season was the first professional playoff action that Vejdemo has faced in his career.
Jake Evans: After a superb season where he finished second on the team in scoring, Jake Evans and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were eliminated from the first round of the NCAA Tournament thanks to an overtime loss to the Michigan Wolverines on March 25.
Hayden Hawkey: In similar fashion, Hawkey and Providence College were eliminated from the tournament in double overtime by Minnesota Duluth, in what is now the longest NCAA Northeast Regional game in history.
Colin Sullivan: With regards to the NCHC, Sullivan's campaign was halted thanks to the University of Minnesota Duluth, who eliminated Sullivan’s Miami University with a season-ending 3-1 loss in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Playoffs.
Nikolas Koberstein: Meanwhile, in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, Koberstein's rookie campaign with the University of Alaska Fairbanks came to a close after as the Nooks dropped their Western Collegiate Hockey Association quarterfinal playoff game to the Michigan Tech Huskies.
- Following their 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, the Canadiens didn't practice on Wednesday morning before boarding a charter flight to Tampa where they'll play the Lightning on Thursday night. Twenty-six players made the trip, including five injured players - Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher, Brian Flynn, Daniel Carr and P.K. Subban.
- Goaltender Charlie Lindgren, who the Canadiens signed to a two-year contract on Wednesday morning, also accompanied the team to Florida. He passed all of his medical tests and his equipment was approved by league officials, too. Lindgren will sport No. 35.
- To make room for Lindgren on the roster, Ben Scrivens will be placed on waivers at noon and will not accompany the team to the Sunshine State.
- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Detroit Red Wings at the Bell Centre. It will mark the second meeting between the two teams in less than a week. Last Thursday night, Michel Therrien’s troops dropped a 4-3 decision at Joe Louis Arena after going down 4-0 through 40 minutes of play.
- P.K. Subban took part in Tuesday morning’s on-ice session. It was confirmed on Monday, however, that the Canadiens’ No. 76 wouldn’t be suiting up against Detroit. Subban will be missing his ninth consecutive game as a result of a non-serious neck injury.
|Jacob De La Rose returns to the Canadiens' lineup on Tuesday night.|
- As per usual, several injured players hit the ice before practice got underway. Brendan Gallagher, Lucas Lessio and Brian Flynn skated a little earlier than the rest of the group. Gallagher and Lessio then continued working out with their teammates and sported white “no contact” jerseys.
“First of all, I want to have a good game and help the team win. It’s a good chance for me to prove that I’m good enough to stay in the lineup,” said De La Rose, who will be playing his 21st game of the season with the Canadiens. “I’m trying to pick up as much experience as I can every day and to learn from the older guys here. It’s the same every day for me. I get more experience and I keep on developing myself.”
- The Red Wings find themselves right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff race, sitting tied with the Philadelphia Flyers with 87 points for the second wild card spot, two points back of the New York Islanders. The Flyers, however, have one game in hand, and given that they’re idle tonight, picking up points is of primordial importance for Jeff Blashill’s contingent on Tuesday night. The Canadiens know this and have to be prepared for Detroit to come out flying.
“When we played in Detroit, it was a tough second period for us, but I thought we bounced back and almost tied the game. That’s how we have to play from the start. We’ve got to come out and dictate the game, not let them do it,” said Alex Galchenyuk, who picked up an assist last Thursday night in Michigan to register his 50th point of the season. “It’s going to be a hard game tonight. They will show up ready to go because things are so close in the playoff race. They’re battling for it, so we have to show up and be ready to play.”
For his part, Galchenyuk is just three goals shy of reaching the 30-goal mark for the first time in his young NHL career. He isn’t about to let the prospect of hitting that plateau cloud his thinking right now, though.
“Honestly, I don’t really think about it. Without thinking about numbers obviously when you come to the rink, you want to contribute. People talk about it and it’s hard to ignore,” said Galchenyuk. “But no, I don’t focus on the 30-goal mark.”
- Following the morning skate, Brendan Gallagher confirmed that he’d be accompanying the team to Florida on Wednesday afternoon. The Canadiens’ No. 11 has missed the last 10 games with a lower-body injury suffered on March 5 against the Winnipeg Jets. While his playing status has yet to be determined, it’s safe to say Gallagher is eagerly anticipating a return to active duty sooner rather than later.
“I’ll be on the trip. I’ll hope to play on it. There are a lot of people who’ll make that decision. But, I’m feeling good. I feel like I can come back here pretty quickly and help the team. That’s all I want to do,” said Gallagher, who also missed significant playing time earlier in the year after suffering a pair of broken fingers while trying to block a shot. “Even though we’re not in the situation we want to be in, the games still matter. There’s still something on the line. We’re all competitive guys. You don’t go into any game with the expectation of anything less than getting a win. I just miss the feeling of getting on the ice and competing.”
Being sidelined isn’t something Gallagher is used to since joining the NHL ranks back in 2012-13. In fact, over the last two years, the Edmonton native has missed just one regular season game before the injury bug affected him during the 2015-16 campaign.
“It’s something I’ve always prided myself on, staying healthy and playing a hard-style game, but at the same time not getting hurt. It’s tough this year the way it’s happened. I haven’t been able to help the team as much as I would have liked,” shared Gallagher, who has 18 goals and 35 points in 49 games this season. “Certainly, it’s something that I haven’t been all that happy to deal with, but it’s something to learn from for me. I certainly hope it doesn’t happen again.”
- Mike Condon will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. It will mark his 47th start of the season. The Red Wings, meanwhile, will counter with Petr Mrazek between the pipes.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet East and RDS.
Game Preview: Canadiens vs. Red Wings
Putting in the work
Mike Condon is the Montreal Canadiens candidate for the Bill Masterton Trophy in 2015-16
- The Canadiens held a full practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday, ahead of hosting the Red Wings at the Bell Centre on Tuesday.
- Daniel Carr, who had been sidelined with a lower body injury since January 25, was back at practice in a no-contact jersey.
“I felt good. I’ve been skating for a little over a week now, so it was good to get out there with the guys and get some drills and reps in,” acknowledged the 24-year-old. “That’s my goal, [to return before the end of the season]. It just depends on the timing. Hopefully it works out but it’s a day-to-day thing.”
- Lucas Lessio was the only non-injured player not at practice.
- During his post-practice press conference, Michel Therrien hinted that P.K. Subban and Brendan Gallagher may return to action before the end of the season, and that Carey Price is also still working to be back.
- Forward lines at practice:
BROSSARD - The Canadiens held an optional morning skate on Saturday morning at the Bell Sports Complex ahead of tonight’s contest against the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre. All players – with the exception of Mike Brown who took a maintenance day - decided to take advantage of the optional practice in Brossard.
“I just needed a maintenance day. I’ll be ready for tonight. I think initially I didn’t know what happened. I think it looked a lot worse than it actually was. I did the necessary treatment and I fee l good now,” expressed Brown, whose addition to the Canadiens lineup has instilled the club with a newfound level of toughness and physicality. “I was excited to come here at first. Everybody has been great to me here; the staff, management, the players. It’s been a fun ride here. I play the same style no matter where I go. I am still going to play that physical energy role. I’m glad I’ve been able to fit in here so far.”
In a rather bizarre twist, when the Habs first claimed the hard-hitting veteran off waivers from the San Jose Sharks on February 29, all Brown had to do was walk across the hall at SAP Center in San Jose where the Canadiens were practicing for their matchup against the Sharks that very night.
“I’ve only been here a short time so it’s tough, but we have other veterans and leaders in this room. I’m more of a lead by example type of guy. I just have to leave a good example for the young guys to follow with a good work ethic,” explained Brown, who recently laced up his skates for his 400th career NHL game. “It’s always fun to play at the Bell Centre. I found that out when I came in here as an opponent but I’m on the other side now and I have the Bell Centre fans on my side. Always fun to play there.”
- Having missed the last game with an upper-body injury, Sven Andrighetto will be back in the lineup on Saturday night. Andrighetto will replace Lucas Lessio, who is not available for tonight’s game after sustaining an injury against the Red Wings on Thursday night.
“It wasn’t a serious injury. Just an upper-body injury, but I feel great now and I’m ready to go tonight. I don’t know exactly where in the lineup I’ll be, but we’ll see tonight,” noted Andrighetto, who was forced to sit out the Habs last game after absorbing a couple big hits from Ottawa Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf back on March 19. “You obviously have to keep your head up out there. Dion [Phaneuf] is a big guy and I learned my lesson. He’s one of those guys that likes to step up and make those big hits. He jumps up unexpectedly but you have to be aware of him on the ice. Like I said, I learned my lesson on that one. For us we want to win every game that we play. We are professionals and we want to win every night. We’re all very competitive in this room.”
- Though he will not suit up against the Rangers, P. K. Subban skated with his teammates and remained on the ice to put in some extra work alongside Carey Price and Jacob De La Rose. With Subban still out of the lineup, blue-liners like Nathan Beaulieu will have to band together to shut down Eric Staal and the Rangers high-tempo offense.
“He just adds another threat. They were already good before they added Staal. He’s obviously one of the most dynamic power-forwards in the League and he’s proved that over the last ten years. He just makes their team a lot better,” professed Beaulieu, who has already established new career highs in goals, assists and points during the 2015-16 campaign. “For the guys who haven’t played the Rangers before, tonight will be fun to go up against all of their star players.”
- Mike Condon will be back in goal to face the Rangers. Saturday night marks the first time that the rookie starts a game against the Rangers in his career. Though the young netminder did make a brief relief appearance in favor of Carey Price, stopping all 11 shots he faced in a 5-1 win for the Habs.
Greg Pateryn, one of the blue-liners tasked with making Condon’s night easier knows Saturday night will be an important test for the Canadiens.
“Every remaining game is a test of character and we have to go out every night and battle. You can look at tonight’s game as a tough matchup or you can look at it as a good challenge and opportunity for us to show what we have in this room. Every time you step on the ice you have to put your best foot forward. I think we were on our heels a bit against Detroit and they took advantage of that,” added the Sterling Heights, Michigan native who skated 19:39 in Thursday night’s 4-3 loss to his hometown Detroit Red Wings. “The Rangers play an exceptionally fast game and they have a lot of good players but at the same it’s an opportunity to show you can play against the players on the top team. Absolutely tonight is an easy game to get pumped up for.”
The game will be broadcasted on TVA Sports, NHLN-US and SN. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Bell Centre.
Quotes from the room
In the spotlight
The Numbers Game: March 24, 2016
Time for battle
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.