- 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.
- The Canadiens held a Monday morning practice at the Bell Centre ahead of Tuesday night’s clash against the Florida Panthers.
- Coach Michel Therrien's practice, which is typically held at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, took place at the Bell Centre as the club gathered prior to Monday’s skate to take the traditional team picture.
- Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu was back with his teammates for practice on Monday, for the first time since being moved to the injured reserve on February 26 with a lower-body injury. His status is considered questionable for Tuesday’s contest, as confirmed by coach Therrien.
- All players were accounted for on the Bell Centre ice with the exception of Lars Eller – who missed the previous game with a virus – and Stefan Matteau who is currently sidelined with a lower-body injury of his own.
Lines at practicePacioretty-Galchenyuk-Andrighetto
de la Rose-Danault-Brown-Hudon
- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Saturday morning ahead of their 7:00 p.m. game against the visiting Minnesota Wild.
- Mike Condon will once again get the start in goal for the Habs following a 3-2 win against the Sabres on Thursday. The 25-year-old netminder has earned points in six of his last eight starts, going 4-2-2 over that span.
“When I got here this morning, I texted my parents to tell them I wasn’t playing because I didn’t see my name on the fourth line,” admitted Hudon, who is making his second stint in Montreal this season. “But when Sven [Andrighetto] showed me I was actually playing on the second line, I texted my parents right back! I wasn’t expecting it, but now it’s up to me to prove that I’m capable of being a Top 6 forward. That’s what I intend on doing tonight.”
- Dietz for his part was paired with Victor Bartley on the back end. Despite getting his first NHL call up, there were a lot of familiar faces in the lineup for the 22-year-old rearguard.
“It’s great to have already played with a lot of the guys around here. It makes things a little bit more comfortable, and it kinda helps calm me down,” underlined the Medicine Hat, AB native, who joins a number of fellow IceCaps call ups in Montreal recently. “I’m going to try to be a simple defenseman, make a good first pass, and follow up on the play and create some offense if it’s available. But mostly I’m going to try to be steady.”
- Dietz was called up to fill in for P.K. Subban, who suffered a neck injury against the Sabres on Thursday. Out of the lineup against Minnesota, Subban will miss a first game due to injury in his career.
“He’s had a very healthy career and has been fortunate to not have to miss too many games. Obviously he’s a very important part of this team and eats up important minutes. It’s going to be different, but we’re going to have to have a next man up attitude,” acknowledged captain Max Pacioretty. “We can’t worry about things we can’t control -- we just have to worry about playing hard.”
That sentiment was shared across the dressing room on Saturday.
“It’s going to be different without him in the locker room. We’re going to miss him, but at the end of the day I’m glad he’s okay,” added Alex Galchenyuk, who is currently enjoying a hot streak to the tune of 11 goals in his last eight games. “It was a scary moment but I’m happy he’s going to be back soon.”
- Facing a Minnesota team that currently sits ninth in the West, just two points out of a playoff spot, the Habs will have home ice advantage on their side in Saturday’s important matchup. Having dropped just a single regulation loss at the Bell Centre since the month of February, the Canadiens have enjoyed a 7-1-1 record over that span.
“We’ve definitely had success at home. I think it’s special for a lot of these young guys to come play in the best building in the League for the first time. A lot of guys are playing either their first NHL game or their first game with the Habs at the Bell Centre. It adds a little more energy on the ice, even for the guys who have been here for awhile,” concluded Pacioretty. “We’ve played some good hockey as of late though, so it doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup. With the system we have in place, we have the ability to outwork teams and it puts us in any game and gives us a chance. We found that out the last two games and hopefully we can keep it going.”
- Saturday’s game will be broadcast on Sportsnet and TVA Sports, beginning at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Forward lines and defensive pairings at practice:
De La Rose-McCarron-Mitchell
Following Friday morning’s practice in Brossard, the Canadiens confirmed that forward Charles Hudon and defenseman Darren Dietz have been called up as part of an emergency recall from the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League. The two skaters are expected to join their teammates at Saturday’s morning skate in Brossard, ahead of the Habs match-up against the Wild.
Hudon – who currently leads the IceCaps with 20 goals scored in 56 games – has amassed 43 points in 56 games with St. John’s this year. The 21-year-old forward previously suited up for two games with the Canadiens earlier this season, registering two points in as many nights.
In Dietz’s case, Friday afternoon’s recall marks the first time the blue-liner has been called-up to the NHL in his professional career. A former fifth-round pick by the Habs in 2011, Dietz has collected four goals and added 16 assists in 58 contests with the IceCaps this season.