POSTED ON Thursday, 01.01.2015 / 4:17 PM

The Canadiens hit the ice for the first time in 2015 at the Prudential Center for a tune up ahead of Friday’s game against the Devils. All players took part in the skate.

There were no changes in the line rushes or defense pairings from Tuesday’s game in Florida.

Mike McCarron, the Canadiens’ first round pick from the 2013 NHL Entry Draft was traded by the London Knights to the Oshawa Generals on Thursday. The 19-year-old forward has 21 goals and 40 points in 25 OHL games so far this season.

Lines and D pairings at practice

Pacioretty-Galchenyuk-Gallagher
Desharnais-Plekanec-Parenteau
Sekac-Eller-Prust
Bournival- Andrighetto/Malhotra-Weise

Markov-Subban
Beaulieu-Gonchar
Emelin-Gilbert
Allen-Weaver

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 31.12.2014 / 6:00 PM

The 2015 World Junior Hockey Championship wrapped up its preliminary round play in Montreal and Toronto on Wednesday, with three Canadiens prospects representing their respective nations on New Year’s Eve. Here’s a look at their performances:

 

Sweden 5 – Switzerland 1 – Air Canada Centre

Canadiens prospects involved:
Sweden: Jacob De La Rose, LW (Selected in the 2nd round, 34th overall in 2013)

Sweden defeated Switzerland during Wednesday’s early game in Toronto to remain perfect atop Group B. Despite ten different skaters picking up at least one point in the 5-1 decision over the Swiss, Canadiens prospect Jacob De La Rose was held off the scoresheet after initially racking up four points in the tournament’s opening three games. De La Rose and the Swedes now face Finland in quarterfinal action on Friday.

 

Canada 5 – U.S.A. 3 – Bell Centre

Canadiens prospects involved:
Canada: Zachary Fucale, G (Selected in the 2nd round, 36th overall in 2013)

Canada and the United States met with first place in Group A on the line at the Bell Centre on Wednesday in the latest edition of the North American rivals’ traditional New Year’s Eve game. Winners of a 5-3 effort, Canada joins Sweden as the tournament’s second undefeated team through preliminary round play. Canadiens prospect Zachary Fucale was limited to a backup role in Montreal as teammate Eric Comrie got the start against the U.S., making 25 saves during a busy afternoon between the pipes. Team Canada head coach Benoit Groulx has split the work between his goaltenders so far, with Fucale and Comrie each starting two games apiece. Canada now meets Denmark in Friday's quarterfinal at the Air Canada Centre.

 

Finland 2 – Germany 0 – Bell Centre

Canadiens prospects involved:
Finland: Artturi Lehkonen, LW (Selected in the 2nd round, 55th overall in 2013)

After a slow start to this year's tournament with a trio of losses to the United States, Slovakia, and Canada, Finland secured its spot in the quarterfinal round with a 2-0 win over Germany in Montreal. Champions a year ago, the Finns blanked Germany for the seventh time in 11 meetings to set up a playoff date against the rival Swedes — runners up in 2014 — on Friday. Finnish captain and Canadiens prospect Artturi Lehkonen, meanwhile, was held off the scoresheet at the Bell Centre, finishing his preliminary round play with one goal — notably against Canada — in four games played.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 30.12.2014 / 11:07 PM

The 2015 World Junior Hockey Championship continued in Montreal and Toronto on Tuesday, with one Canadiens prospects hitting the ice on the fifth day of the annual tournament.

Slovakia 5 – Germany 2 – Bell Centre

Canadiens prospects involved:
Slovakia: Martin Reway (Selected in the 4th round, 116th overall in 2013)

Martin Reway registered a hat-trick to pace Slovakia to an all-important 5-2 victory on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. The Slovaks secured third place in Group A with the win, and earned a berth in the quarter-finals.

(Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)

“It’s a good feeling for us. We believe we can do this,” offered Reway, who also won 66.7 percent of his draws in the face-off circle, picked up four shots on goal and finished the game with a plus-4 differential. “Finishing in third place is good for next year’s rankings. It’s good for the future of Slovakia. We’ve got to make sure that we play the same way in the quarter-finals. I’m pretty happy with the team effort against Germany.”

Reway hadn’t lit the lamp in Slovakia’s three previous outings during the preliminary round, so he was pleased to find the back of the net for his country in a critical tilt.

“I’m just trying to do what I can for the team, whether it’s in the defensive zone or the offensive zone. I’m just trying to be a good leader. It’s my third World Juniors. I’ve got to keep taking care of things,” stressed Reway, whose squad outshot Germany by a 35-30 margin on Tuesday night. “I’m happy that we won. Hopefully, we can keep playing like this.”

The Slovaks also got goals from Robert Lantosi and Matus Sukel, while netminder Denis Godla was strong once again between the pipes.

Slovakia is looking to improve on a pair of eighth-place finishes it posted at the World Junior Hockey Championship over the last two years.

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POSTED ON Monday, 29.12.2014 / 7:46 PM

The 2015 World Junior Hockey Championship continued in Montreal and Toronto on Monday, with four Canadiens prospects hitting the ice on the fourth day of the annual tournament. Here’s a look at their respective performances:




U.S.A. 3 – Slovakia 0 – Bell Centre

Canadiens prospects involved:
Slovakia: Martin Reway, LW (Selected in the 4th round, 116th overall in 2013)

Slovakia suffered its second loss of the tournament in a 2-0 decision opposite the United States on Monday afternoon. Like his teammates, Slovakia captain Martin Reway was kept off the scoresheet against the Americans, but nevertheless finished his day a plus-1 with three shots on goal.

Slovakia plays its final preliminary round game on Tuesday against Germany.




Sweden 3 – Russia 2 – Air Canada Centre

Canadiens prospects involved:
Sweden: Jacob De La Rose, LW (Selected in the 2nd round, 34th overall in 2013)

Sweden overcame an early third period deficit on Monday afternoon to defeat Russia 3-2 in Toronto. Jacob De La Rose, who entered the game ranked as the tournament's second leading scorer, was held pointless, finishing the game with a minus-1 differential.

The Swedes now enjoy a day off before wrapping up their preliminary round play on December 31 against Switzerland.



Canada 4 – Finland 1 – Bell Centre

Canadiens prospects involved:
Canada: Zachary Fucale, G (Selected in the 2nd round, 36th overall in 2013)
Finland: Artturi Lehkonen, LW (Selected in the 2nd round, 55th overall in 2013)

Canada remains unbeaten after besting Finland 4-1 to wrap up Monday's action. After enjoying a night off against Germany on Saturday, Zachary Fucale was back in goal opposite Finland, stopping 27 of 28 shots, while Artturi Lehkonen's sole marker was Canada's first goal allowed of the tournament.

"It was bound to happen at some point. We made a couple of mistakes here and there, and I've got some things I need to work on. We'll adjust, look ahead, and prepare for the next game," admitted Fucale, who nevertheless picked up his second win in as many outings since the start of the tournament. "We were expecting a close game, and they were very competitive until the end. We executed our game plan well. We're very happy with our performance and now we're going to get ready for the United States."

Lehkonen's goal came near the end of the second period, sparking an inspired effort from the visitors in the final 20 minutes, before ultimately falling to the host nation.

"We got a lot of hope from that goal. We were really positive and we believed at that point that we could beat these guys," explained the Finnish captain. "But then a couple penalties made things pretty clinical for them, and we should have done the same while we were on the power play. When we don’t score on the power play, it’s really hard to win."

Both Canada and Finland wrap up their preliminary round play on Wednesday, taking on the United States and Germany at the Bell Centre, at 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. respectively.

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POSTED ON Monday, 29.12.2014 / 12:37 PM

- The Canadiens hit the ice at PNC Arena on Monday morning ahead of their first tilt back from the Christmas break, against the Hurricanes. All players participated in the game day skate.

- As confirmed by Michel Therrien on Sunday, Carey Price will get his 30th start of the season, becoming the fifth netminder in the league to crack the 30 games played mark in 2014-15. He could also become the third goaltender in the NHL to hit the 20-win plateau this season with a victory over Carolina.

- After breaking his fibula on September 23 against the Sabres, Jordan Staal will make his season debut on Monday night against the Habs and is expected to play on a line with his brother, Eric, and Nathan Gerbe.

“They’re two big bodies, good skaters and they’ve got good shots,” explained Dale Weise on the challenge of facing a double-Staal line. “That’ll be a tough line to handle. You just need to try to take away their time and space as best you can.”

- With the potential of reclaiming their spot atop the division with a win in Carolina, the Habs know how important two points are any time of the year, but they also aren’t putting too much emphasis on the standings heading into their 36th game of the season,

“We take a peek at the board, but the key is to focus on ourselves,” confirmed Lars Eller, whose team is currently riding a two game win streak. “You don’t want to fall into the pit of looking at where other teams are. We want to be on top of our division and I think we belong up there. But at the same time, every night is a battle. We know Carolina is at the bottom of the standings, but it’s not going to be an easy game tonight.”

- With just 32 man games lost to injury this season, the Canadiens have been the healthiest team in the NHL to date, giving Therrien plenty of options when it comes to icing his game time lineup. After rotating Michael Bournival and Sven Andrighetto through reps on the fourth line with Manny Malhotra and Dale Weise, the coach confirmed that Andrighetto would get the call to suit up against Carolina.

“It depends on the game, but a guy like Andrighetto or a guy like Weise can help. If you’re trailing, you can move Andrighetto to a more offensive line. If you’re leading, you can use a guy like Weise in a more defensive role,” explained Therrien, whose other healthy scratches include Bryan Allen and Mike Weaver. “That’s how I look at my choices when it comes to that line.”

Projected Lines and D pairings

Pacioretty-Galchenyuk-Gallagher
Desharnais-Plekanec-Parenteau
Sekac-Eller-Prust
Andrighetto/Bournival-Malhotra-Weise

Markov-Subban
Beaulieu-Gonchar
Emelin-Gilbert
Allen-Weaver

SEE ALSO: 
Words from the room
Game Preview: Canadiens @ Hurricanes
Sergei and the Kid
Notebook: December 27
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POSTED ON Sunday, 28.12.2014 / 1:01 PM

The Canadiens practiced at Raleigh Center Ice in North Carolina on Sunday morning. Bryan Allen joined the team in Raleigh on Saturday night and was paired with Mike Weaver for the practice.

Michel Therrien confirmed that Carey Price will get the start against the Hurricanes on Monday night. Price will look to build on his career 11-5-2 record against Carolina, which includes a 2.27 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.

While he wouldn’t confirm when, Therrien also mentioned that Dustin Tokarski will see action during the team’s four-game road trip.

Therrien did not change his lines from Saturday’s practice, suggesting that David Desharnais and P-A Parenteau will flank Tomas Plekanec against the Hurricanes.

Lines and defense pairings at practice

Desharnais-Plekanec-Parenteau
Pacioretty-Galchenyuk-Gallagher
Sekac-Eller-Prust
Bournival/Andrighetto-Malhotra-Weise

Markov-Subban
Gonchar-Beaulieu
Emelin-GIlbert
Weaver-Allen
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POSTED ON Saturday, 27.12.2014 / 3:47 PM

After a three-day break from the rink, the Canadiens were back on the ice on Saturday afternoon in Raleigh, NC, for a tune-up ahead of Monday’ game against the Hurricanes. Bryan Allen was the only Hab not on the ice at PNC Arena; he will join the team later on Saturday evening.

Lines and defense pairings at practice

Pacioretty-Galchenyuk-Gallagher
Desharnais-Plekanec-Parenteau
Sekac-Eller-Prust
Bournival/Andrighetto-Malhotra-Weise

Markov-Subban
Gonchar-Beaulieu
Emelin-Gilbert
Weaver
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POSTED ON Saturday, 27.12.2014 / 3:40 PM

The 2015 World Junior Hockey Championship continued in Montreal and Toronto on Saturday. Three Canadiens prospects hit the ice on the second day of the annual tournament. Here’s a look at their respective performances:

Sweden 5 – Denmark 1 – Air Canada Centre

Canadiens prospects invovled:
Sweden: Jacob De La Rose, C (Selected in the 2nd round, 34th overall in 2013)

Jacob De La Rose (Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Jacob De La Rose paced Team Sweden to a 5-1 win over Denmark on Saturday afternoon in Toronto, scoring a goal and adding two assists, in addition to being named the Player of the Game for his country. The Swedish captain lit the lamp for a second straight game after scoring against the Czech Republic on Friday. De La Rose, who is currently a member of the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs, also finished the game with a plus-3 differential and two shots on goal.




Slovakia 2 – Finland 1 – Bell Centre

Canadiens prospects invovled:
Slovakia: Martin Reway, LW (Selected in the 4th round, 116th overall in 2013)
Finland: Artturi Lehkonen, LW (Selected in the 2nd Round, 55th overall in 2013)

Martin Reway (Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)

The Slovaks produced the first upset of the tournament on Saturday, besting the defending champions from Finland 2-1 at the Bell Centre. Martin Reway picked up his first two points of the championship, registering assists on Slovakia’s goals, both of which came on the power play.

“I told the guys before the game – ‘It can’t be worse than Friday night [an 8-0 loss to Team Canada], we have to start from scratch and give 100 percent.’,” mentioned Reway. “That’s what we did and we’re happy with the win.” 

Slovakia’s netminder, Denis Godla, turned in a brilliant performance with 37 saves.

Artturi Lehkonen and the Finns simply couldn’t solve Godla throughout the tilt. 

“We had chances to pick up the win, but we weren’t completely ready for this game. You have to be 100 percent ready every time you go out there because every team is good. You can’t wait for the win to come to you,” offered Lehkonen. “We were just missing that finishing touch, that desire to put the puck in the net.”

Lehkonen finished the game with four shots on goal and two penalty minutes, while Reway chipped in with two shots on goal.

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POSTED ON Friday, 26.12.2014 / 6:40 PM

The 2015 World Junior Hockey Championship got underway on Friday in Montreal and Toronto. Four Canadiens prospects hit the ice on the opening day of the annual tournament. Here’s a look at their respective performances:

USA 2 – Finland 1 (SO) – Bell Centre

Canadiens prospects invovled
:
Finland: Artturi Lehkonen, LW (Selected in the 2nd Round, 55th overall in 2013)

Artturi Lehkonen was the first Habs prospect to hit the ice at the Bell Centre for the World Junior Hockey Championship this year. The Americans downed the Finns 2-1 in a shootout.

Artturi Lehkonen (Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)

Lehkonen, the Finnish captain, formed a line with Aleksi Mustonen and Kasperi Kapanen. The left-winger played an important role on special teams, both on the power play and on the penalty kill. While he didn’t put up points in regulation time, Lehkonen was the only player to beat American netminder Thatcher Demko in the shootout.

“It definitely means a lot to play at the Bell Centre,” offered Lehkonen following the tilt. “I always imagine what it will be like playing here one day. That’s my goal, so it’s very important to me. It’s a good place to show what I’m capable of.”

The Finns registered 29 shots on goal, while the Americans fired 38 shots in goaltender Ville Husso’s direction. Husso, a 2014 draft pick of the St. Louis Blues, was stellar in goal for Finland.

Sweden 5 Czech Republic 2 Air Canada Centre

Canadiens prospects invovled
:

Sweden: Jacob De La Rose, C (Selected in the 2nd round, 34th overall in 2013)

In Toronto, Canadiens prospect Jacob De La Rose made an immediate impact for his native Sweden in a 5-2 victory over the Czech Republic. The Swedish captain scored the final goal of the game on a beautiful backhander, and also won 46.15 percent of his draws in the face-off circle.

Canada 8 – Slovakia – 0 Bell Centre

Canadiens prospects invovled:

Canada: Zachary Fucale, G (Selected in the 2nd round, 36th overall in 2013)
Slovakia: Martin Reway, LW (Selected in the 4th round, 116th overall in 2013)

Zachary Fucale (Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Zachary Fucale wasn’t too busy on Friday night. The 19-year-old Rosemere native stopped 12 shots to register his first shutout in front of the Bell Centre faithful in an 8-0 victory over Slovakia. Team Canada amassed 34 shots on goal during their first game of the tournament, giving the Slovaks all they could handle and then some.

It was great to play in front of our fans in Canada,” offered Fucale. “The crowd gave us a lot of energy. We felt the enthusiasm from the start. It was good for us.”


For his part, captain Martin Reway was named the Player of the Game for Slovakia.

It wasn’t easy. We didn’t want to lose, but they have a very good team this year and they’re playing at home,” explained Reway. It’s kind of difficult for us. We have to forget this and come back in our next game.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 23.12.2014 / 1:35 PM

- The Canadiens held a morning practice on Tuesday at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY a couple of hours before facing the Islanders in the team’s final game before the Christmas break.

- Coming off a 79-point, 26th-place, 2013-14 season, the Islanders are one of the NHL’s early surprises so far this year, currently ranked second in the East with 46 points – two more than the Canadiens. Tuesday marks the first of three games between the two teams this season after the Canadiens won the season series over the Isles 2-1 a year ago.

“I’m not surprised by their success. They’ve been rebuilding over the last couple of years now with quality players like John Tavares and Kyle Okposo,” admitted P.-A. Parenteau, who played two seasons in Uniondale between 2010-2012. “They’ve also added an excellent goalie in Jaroslav Halak which makes a huge difference, as well as two excellent defensemen right before the start of training camp. They’re a good team and we’ll need to be ready tonight.”

Coming off a veteran shopping spree over the summer to bolster a young core, the Islanders have seen the team's offseason moves pay off.

“They have so much talent that you knew it was only a matter of time they'd have success,” agreed Max Pacioretty, who registered one goal in three games against the Islanders a season ago. “Now they’ve got a great couple of goalies with some help on the back end and I think that’s really jump started their team and a big reason behind their success this year. They know how to put pucks in the back of the net and I think that starts with a good defense. They’re playing more in the offensive zone, and the best way to do that is with good defense and having your D-men join the rush.”

- Following Tuesday’s game, the Canadiens will enjoy a short three-day break before reporting to Brossard on Saturday. With rest just hours away, the team was nevertheless focused on heading into the holidays with momentum in tow.

“Although our record is good at the moment, we want to finish strong before Christmas and have clear heads over the holidays. The best way for us to do that is with a win,” acknowledged David Desharnais, who has scored four points over the last four games. “It’s hard to not think ahead after being at home for two weeks and then playing this game right before Christmas, but it’s part of our job and we’ll focus on doing our best during our three hours on the ice tonight.”

With just eight wins on the road this season, a win in Long Island could go a long way in ensuring a happy holiday season for the Habs.

“Obviously it’s the last game before the break so it would be nice to finish with a bit of confidence and momentum from a road win,” explained Pacioretty. “We know it’s a different ballgame when we’re at home versus when we’re on the road, and we have to find a way to have success on the road. This will be a great start and hopefully we can get off on the right foot.”

- Carey Price will be back in goal on Tuesday, making his 29th start of the season and tenth in a row since December 1. In 15 career outings opposite the Islanders, Price has registered a 7-3-0-3 record with a 2.74 GAA. On the other end of the ice, Chad Johnson will get his tenth start of the season for the Islanders and second career start against the Habs -- his first coming a year ago with the Bruins.

“I’m surprised that it’s not Halak tonight, but I don’t see that as an advantage for us. You can’t see things that way with everything that can happen during a hockey game,” added Parenteau. “I played with Chad a bit in the minors and I know he’s a good goalie that we can’t take lightly.”

- Following the morning skate, Michel Therrien confirmed that no changes will be made to the roster, meaning that Mike Weaver, Michael Bournival and Bryan Allen will once again be the evening’s scratches.

- A 7:00 p.m. puck drop is scheduled on Tuesday in Long Island.

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