Following Friday morning’s practice, coach Michel Therien announced that Carey Price will practice alone at the Bell Centre with his equipment on this afternoon. Price is ready to progress to the next stage of his rehab process but will not travel with the team on the upcoming road trip to California.
On Friday morning the Canadiens announced that Nathan Beaulieu will miss 2-3 weeks due to an upper-body injury sustained on February 22 against Nashville.
In 56 games this season, the 23-year-old has registered career-highs in goals (2), assists (15), points (17) and SOG (66).
The rest of the Canadiens hit the ice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard for a full team practice on Friday morning, ahead of Saturday night’s contest against the Maple Leafs. All players were accounted for with the exception of Beaulieu.
In addition, coach Therrien confirmed that the organization will be calling up a forward and a defenseman from the St. John’s IceCaps in response to the latest injury updates on Beaulieu, Jeff Petry and Tom Gilbert.
Jeff Petry will miss the rest of the regular season as he will require surgery for a sports hernia (abdomen).
The 28-year-old defender has missed the Canadiens last seven games since suffering the injury on February 7 against the Hurricanes.
In addition, defenseman Tom Gilbert underwent surgery on his left knee on February 24 in Florida, as performed by Dr. James Andrews. The recovery period is expected to take up to six months.
WASHINGTON -- The Canadiens held an optional practice at the Verizon Center in Washington on Wednesday morning ahead of their 7:00 p.m. game against the Capitals. P.K. Subban, Lars Eller, Tomas Plekanec, and Paul Byron – who signed a three-year contract extension with the team on Tuesday night – were not on the ice for the morning skate.
- Michel Therrien confirmed following the morning skate that Dale Weise will be back in the lineup in place of Lucas Lessio, and that Mike Condon will get the start in goal against the Caps. Weise was absent from Monday’s game against the Predators and Tuesday’s practice do to a flu. Condon’s start is the third in a row for the rookie netminder, who posted a shootout win over the Flyers on Friday and a shootout loss against Nashville on Monday.
- The Habs are facing the NHL’s top team in the Capitals, who sit 10 points clear of the second place Dallas Stars with 92 points in 58 games to date.
“It’s a tall task even with a full lineup. They’re a test for any NHL team that faces them this season. You look at their roster and they barely have any weaknesses. They’re good in goal, they’re solid defensively, and they’re explosive on offense. It will be an excellent test for us tonight,” acknowledged Therrien.
Captain Max Pacioretty echoed his head coach’s analysis.
“Starting from the goaltending out, you look at their lineup and they don’t have many flaws. We’ve got to outwork a team like that to beat them, so it’s a big test for us tonight. They’re not a team we want to trade chances with and play pond hockey. We want to play sound defensively and outwork them,” prescribed Pacioretty.
- In a previous meeting this season, the Canadiens outshot the Capitals 35-19, but eventually lost 3-2 in regulation on T.J. Oshie’s third-period marker. That game still remains fresh in the Habs’ minds more than two months later.
“I do remember that game, because we felt frustrated after it knowing we played so well and their goaltender made so many saves,” admitted Pacioretty, who notably registered nine shots on goal in the Dec. 3 effort. “It’s a reminder that we can skate with this team and we have the right guys to match up with them offensively and defensively if we play the right way for 60 minutes. Looking back at that game gives us confidence heading into tonight.”
- Byron met the media for the first time on Wednesday since inking his new three-year deal with the Canadiens on Tuesday.
“It’s a really happy time for me and my family. I worked really hard these past few years to earn a contract like this and finally head into a summer knowing where I’ll be next year. You can’t really sum it up in words. It’s a great feeling for me,” dished the 26-year-old forward, who has registered 11 points (8 goals, 3 assists) in 40 games so far this season.
It was sweet retribution for a player who was previously claimed off of waivers from the Calgary Flames just prior to the start of the regular season, on October 6, 2015.
“That day was pretty disappointing, I thought I had done a lot the past couple of years to show my value to the team. Everything for me happens for a reason. Instead of focusing on the negatives, it’s given me an unbelievable opportunity to play for Montreal,” continued Byron. “It’s worked out for me in my career, it’s a better fit for my family, and it shows that sometimes good things come from bad ones. Now I’ll try to keep working and getting better every day.”
- Wednesday’s game will be broadcast on RDS and Sportsnet East beginning at 7:00 p.m.
- After dropping a 2-1 shootout decision to the Nashville Predators on Monday night, the Canadiens returned to practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning before departing for Washington where they’ll play the Capitals on Wednesday.
- Aside from several players already on the sidelines, three others were also absent on Tuesday: Nathan Beaulieu (lower-body injury), Dale Weise (flu) and Andre Markov (day off from practice) all didn’t hit the ice. Beaulieu, who ran into the Nashville Predators’ goal on Monday night, won’t be traveling to Washington. He will be re-evaluated today.
- Jeff Petry was back on the ice once again on Tuesday alongside his teammates. He has missed the last six games with a lower-body injury. Michel Therrien confirmed that he won’t be making the trip to Washington, either.
- In Beaulieu’s absence, Victor Bartley should make his Canadiens debut on Wednesday night in Washington. Recalled on Monday, Bartley took part in Tuesday’s on-ice session. You’ll recall that Bartley was acquired in the trade that sent Jarred Tinordi to Arizona back in mid-January.
- The Canadiens, meanwhile, have yet to reveal the identity of their starting netminder for Wednesday night’s tilt in DC.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Pacioretty - Plekanec - Gallagher
Galchenyuk - Eller - Andrighetto
Fleischmann - De La Rose - Byron
Lessio - Mitchell - Smith-Pelly
Bartley - Subban
Barberio - Petry
Emelin - Pateryn
- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex on Monday morning in preparation for their tilt against the Nashville Predators at the Bell Centre.
- In his post-practice press conference, head coach Michel Therrien indicated that Tomas Fleischmann will take Lucas Lessio’s spot in the lineup on Monday night. Fleischmann has been a healthy scratch for the last two games. Meanwhile, Mark Barberio returns on the blue line in place of Tom Gilbert who went down with a lower-body injury against Philadelphia on Friday. Gilbert is listed as day-to-day.
- For his part, defenseman Jeff Petry was back on the ice again on Monday skating alongside his teammates. Petry continues to recover from a lower-body injury, having already missed the Canadiens’ last five games.
- Two months have passed since the Canadiens and Predators last met at Bridgestone Arena in the Music City, with Peter Laviolette’s contingent securing a 5-1 victory on Dec. 21. Now, Therrien’s troops find themselves in a must-win situation every single night with the regular season winding down and a playoff spot on the line. Fortunately, the Canadiens continue to play well in the friendly confines of the Bell Centre, having won four straight games in front of the home fans. They need to extend that streak on Monday night. Period.
“We just need to continue to develop the winning attitude we need to be successful. It’s important to get back to that winning culture that we have around here,” said Brendan Gallagher, who was unable to suit up against the Predators back in December due to injury. “Obviously, nobody enjoys losing hockey games. We have to do a lot of good things right to win in this league. Hopefully, we can build off of last game [against the Flyers]. It was a big win for us. Hopefully, we can carry that over.”
If the Canadiens have been sharp at home as of late, the Predators have been equally sharp on the road. They enter Monday night’s tilt riding a seven-game (5-0-2) road point streak, so it will be interesting to see the way the contest ultimately plays out.
“It’s important for us not to let up tonight and play the same way. We’re doing it for each other. That’s what it comes down to,” explained Gallagher. “You have to do your job and you count on the fact that your teammate is going to do the same thing.”
- There is no shortage of belief inside the Canadiens’ locker room these days, even if they currently sit eight points out of a wild card spot with 23 games to go. While some might see the Canadiens as “sellers” with the trade deadline just one week away, the players themselves aren’t about to adopt that philosophy anytime soon.
“I don’t like the term ‘seller’ or ‘buyer.’ The season hasn’t gone as planned, but we have one hell of a team here. We’ve got a really good core group. Seasons don’t always go the way you want them to. I like how there’s no panic and we’re not trying to do anything crazy that could hurt us in the future,” said Nathan Beaulieu, who has two goals and 17 points in 55 games during the 2015-16 campaign. “Everyone believes in each other. We’ve had that mentality since Day 1. There’s still some time to rebound on it.”
Gallagher is taking a similar approach in that regard.
“We obviously understand that the odds are against us, but we still have that belief as a collective. That’s the most important thing,” said Gallagher. “We know where we are, but we can’t look too far ahead of ourselves. Nobody’s giving up in here. Certainly, we know it’s going to be tough, but if anyone’s capable of doing it, we feel like we are.”
- Michel Therrien likes what he’s been seeing from Jacob De La Rose over the last couple of games. Installed at center on the Canadiens’ third line, the 20-year-old Swede has demonstrated a host of good attributes in his new role.
“He’s skating well and playing a good physical game. I really like what I’m seeing. We’re not putting any pressure on him from an offensive standpoint. That will come with time and confidence,” praised Therrien. “He’s reading and understanding the play well, too. He’s doing a lot of the little things that any coach would appreciate. We have a vision about where we want Jacob to be. Right now, he’s in a good spot as a third line centerman.”
De La Rose simply appreciates the opportunity to showcase his progress.
“When you feel good, you play with confidence. You play better, too. I feel good right now. I’ve just got to keep playing the right way,” explained De La Rose, who will play his seventh game of the season with the CH on Monday night. “I’m getting some opportunities to play on the PK. It’s been a good experience for me. I’ve just got to take this chance that they’re giving to me here and try to stay in the lineup and help the team win.”
- Mike Condon will get the start in goal for the Canadiens, while Pekka Rinne should get the call between the pipes for Nashville.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet East and RDS.
Words From The Room: Feb. 22
Game Preview: Canadiens vs. Predators
Come on down, folks
- After a day off on Saturday, Michel Therrien’s troops skated at the Bell Centre on Sunday morning in conjunction with the Provigo Canadiens Fan Practice. Thousands upon thousands of fans turned out to see their favourite players hit the ice in preparation for Monday night’s tilt against the Nashville Predators.
- Defenseman Tom Gilbert, who suffered a lower-body injury during Friday night’s contest against the Philadelphia Flyers, did not take part in Sunday’s on-ice session.
- Jeff Petry, meanwhile, continues his recovery efforts from a lower-body injury. He skated alongside his teammates once again on Sunday. Petry has missed the last five games. Last Friday, Therrien indicated that the Canadiens’ No. 26 wasn’t ready to return to active duty just yet.
Forward lines at practice:
Galchenyuk - Plekanec - Gallagher
Pacioretty - Eller - Weise
Fleischmann - De La Rose - Byron
Andrighetto - Mitchell - Smith-Pelly
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday morning ahead of their tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre.
- Defenseman Jeff Petry, who missed the last four games due to a lower-body injury, took part in Friday’s morning skate. Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed, however, that Petry still isn’t ready to return to active duty just yet. He explained that the Canadiens’ athletic therapists just wanted to gauge his progress on the ice.
- The Canadiens confirmed that forward David Desharnais suffered a broken foot against the Arizona Coyotes on the team’s most recent road trip. He will be sidelined for the next three weeks.
- Therrien will not be featuring any lineup changes up front or on the back end against the Flyers, aside from making a switch in goal. That means that Tomas Fleischmann will miss a second straight game, while Mark Barberio will also be a healthy scratch on D.
“I really liked the way we played against the Avalanche. I thought we were aggressive, we skated well and moved the puck well, too. I liked the fact that the young players we called up all responded well. [Jacob] De La Rose had a good game at center on the third line. He was responsible. Lucas [Lessio] did the same thing on the fourth line. He used his speed and was strong on the forecheck,” explained Therrien. “There was good balance on all of our lines, even the one with Lars [Eller], Max [Pacioretty] and Sven [Andrighetto]. I liked the chemistry we showed, so we’re going to keep things the same.”
That also means that Lucas Lessio will be in the lineup against Philadelphia. You’ll recall that Lessio missed six games after taking a hit to the knee from Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas several weeks ago. Gudas was ejected from the game.
- P.K. Subban has clearly put Wednesday night’s loss to Colorado in the rearview mirror, particularly when it comes to the way things played out in the latter stages of the third period when his giveaway in Avalanche territory resulted in a rush that led to the game-winning goal.
Subban addressed the situation once again on Friday morning, emphasizing that his intentions on the ice are always geared towards helping the Canadiens best their opponents.
“My focus is on being the best player that I can be every night. When I was drafted in 2007, I remember telling Bob Gainey that I was going to do everything in my power to help this team win,” explained Subban. “That’s all I do every time I step on the ice, put on that jersey and I stand there for the national anthem. My focus is on helping my team win and doing everything I can to do it.”
For his part, captain Max Pacioretty expressed his unwavering support for the Canadiens’ No. 76 once again on Friday.
“I support P.K 100 percent. Everyone in this room supports all the players and the coaches. To try and say there’s a rift because of this is completely unfair and untrue,” said Pacioretty. “But, I understand the situation that we’re in and drawing up conclusions as to what people think the problem is. That isn’t the problem at all. P.K. is one of the best defensemen in the league and he has been for years. Mike has shown that he’s an unbelievable coach with the success that we’ve had and the success he’s had in the past as well. People are just here to do their jobs. There are no hard feelings between anybody.”
- Therrien’s troops will undoubtedly have to pay close attention to upstart Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who has been on a roll since January 19. He’s picked up points in each of his last 13 games, which is an all-time record for a rookie defenseman in the NHL ranks. He’s registered four goals and 16 points during that span. Gostisbehere leads all Flyers defenseman with 32 points in 38 games this season.
- Mike Condon will get the start in goal against Dave Hakstol’s contingent on Friday night. It will mark his 34th start of the year. Condon will be starting against Philadelphia for the second time this season. Back on February 2, the 25-year-old made 32 stops in a 4-2 loss in the City of Brotherly Love.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet East and RDS.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gallagher
Pacioretty – Eller – Andrighetto
Byron – De La Rose – Weise
Lessio – Mitchell – DSP
DENVER – The Canadiens landed in Denver on Tuesday afternoon and went right back to work upon arrival in Colorado, practicing at the Big Bear Ice Arena for just under an hour in preparation for Wednesday’s game against the Avalanche.
- David Desharnais was the only player not on the ice for practice. He is listed as day-to-day after suffering a lower body injury in Arizona.
- Lucas Lessio was reactivated from the injured reserve list after recovering from his lower body injury suffered
- It was a tough day at the office for the Canadiens, who started the practice with heavy skating before running line drills and full-ice one-on-one and two-on-two battles. While the up-tempo drills could serve a dual purpose to help the players adapt to the thinner air at high altitude in Denver, Michel Therrien confirmed that acclimating to the mountain air wasn’t the main objective of his practice plan.
“It’s a one-on-one drill where we use the whole ice and then progress to two-on-two. It’s a bit like a boxer; there’s nowhere to hide. It’s an old drill we brought back today to send a little message that we need to be better one-on-one,” explained the Habs bench boss.
Therrien also confirmed that Ben Scrivens will get the call on Wednesday night. It will mark his ninth start since joining the Habs
LINES AND DEFENSE PAIRINGS AT PRACTICEGalchenyuk-Plekanec-Gallagher
Byron-De La Rose-Weise
GLENDALE – The Canadiens skated at Gila River Arena on Monday morning ahead of their game against the Coyotes. All players were on the ice for practice.
- Michel Therrien confirmed that Nathan Beaulieu will be back in action on Monday after missing Friday’s game with a lower body injury. The 23-year-old blue-liner left Tuesday’s game early after blocking a shot against the Lightning, but will suit up against the Coyotes alongside Tom Gilbert.
- Jacob De La Rose will get his first taste of NHL action since being called up from St. John’s on February 10. It will mark the 20-year-old forward’s fourth game of the season with the Habs and his first since January 26.
“I wanted to give Jacob a chance to play. I didn’t have a particular reason to take [Devante] Smith-Pelly out of the lineup,” explained Therrien of his decision to replace the gritty winger with De La Rose on the fourth line. “I spoke to [Devante] this morning about it. I wanted to give the kid a chance. I want the young guys to gain as much experience as possible.
“Jacob is a great skater. He really reads the play well defensively and he’s got a good stick to cut off plays,” continued the Habs bench boss. “We always want guys to create as much offensively as possible, and it’s the same for him, but you have to remember he’s a young player. He could have been playing in Junior last year, but instead he was here, playing NHL playoff games with us.”
Having spent the entire first half of the campaign in the AHL gaining some seasoning, De La Rose had four goals and 11 points in 30 games with the IceCaps earlier this year after missing significant time recovering from an upper body injury. He’s looking to make an immediate impact now that he’s back in an NHL lineup.
“First of all, the most important thing is that the team gets back to winning games. That’s all I care about. If I can help the team win, I’ll do the best I can,” said De La Rose, who will skate on a line with Torrey Mitchell and Dale Weise against Arizona. “We’re three hard-working guys so we need to be hard to play against and get pucks deep. I know what type of player I am. I know I’m not here to score a hat trick every game. For us on the fourth line, we need to be hard to play against and if we can help the team with some offense, too, that’s good.”
- After sitting out 12 consecutive games – and 44 since the start of the season – as a healthy scratch, Greg Pateryn played his 12th game of the campaign on Friday night in Buffalo, impressing his coach enough in his 13:48 of action to merit an encore on Monday in Arizona.
“Every game is important for me. At this point in my career, they’re even more important so you have to approach every game the same way,” confirmed the 25-year-old rearguard. “Every day, you’re hoping to improve and with every game you play you need to make sure you’re taking a step forward and not taking a step back, because as soon as you do you know there’s someone else waiting to take your spot. You have to improve every day whether you’re playing or not.”
Therrien confirmed on Sunday that Mike Condon would be between the pipes against the Coyotes. It will mark the rookie netminder’s second career start against Arizona after facing them on November 19 in Montreal.
Puck drop is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on RDS, Sportsnet East, TSN 690 and 98,5 FM.
PROBABLE LINES AND DEFENSE PAIRINGS FOR MONDAY’S GAMEGalchenyuk-Plekanec-Gallagher
De La Rose-Mitchell-Weise
Words from the room
Game Preview: Canadiens @ Coyotes
Practice notebook: Phoenix
On Monday, the AHL announced that St. John’s IceCaps goaltender Zachary Fucale had been selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Feb. 14.
The 20-year-old Rosemere, QC native won each of his three starts last week while stopping 107 of 111 shots against – good for a 1.32 goals-against average and a .964 save percentage.
Fucale’s efforts helped pace Sylvain Lefebvre’s squad to its first three-game winning streak of the season. He began the week by earning the first shutout of his professional career, a 39-save performance in the IceCaps’ 4-0 win over Syracuse on Tuesday. He came back the next night and made 36 stops as St. John’s defeated the Crunch in overtime, 4-3. And on Saturday night, Fucale shut down the league-leading Toronto Marlies, making 32 saves in a 3-1 victory.
Fucale boasts a 13-11-3 record, along with a 3.05 GAA and a .906 save percentage in 30 appearances for St. John’s this season.