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.
GLENDALE – The Canadiens were back on the ice for practice on Sunday after a day off in Phoenix on Saturday.
- All players and both goalies took part in the hour-long skate at Gila River Arena.
- Michel Therrien confirmed that Mike Condon will get the start on Monday night against the Coyotes.
- After missing Friday’s game in Buffalo with a lower body injury, Nathan Beaulieu was back skating with his teammates and was paired with Tom Gilbert for the practice. His spot in the lineup will only be confirmed after Monday’s game day skate.
LINES AND DEFENSE PAIRINGS AT PRACTICEPacioretty- Desharnais- Andrighetto
Weise-Mitchell-De La Rose
BUFFALO -- The Canadiens held an optional practice at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Friday morning ahead of their game against the Sabres. Sixteen players were on the ice, with Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban, Brendan Gallagher, Torrey Mitchell, Tom Gilbert, and Tomas Plekanec opting not to skate.
Nathan Beaulieu joined the team on the ice near the end of practice, after having left Tuesday’s game early after blocking a shot.
|Ben Scrivens will get the start against the Sabres.|
Before leaving Montreal, Michel Therrien confirmed that Ben Scrivens would get the start for a fourth-straight game. The 29-year-old netminder is set to face the Sabres for the seventh time in his career and owns a 2.83 goals-against average and .908 save percentage all-time against Buffalo. This will mark the third time in his career that Scrivens has started four consecutive games.
“Ben is doing well. He’s part of the winning recipe right now. He’s helping us win games and we don’t want to change anything at this point,” said Therrien on his decision to stick with Scrivens between the pipes.
Greg Pateryn will suit up for his 12th game of the campaign on Friday night, returning to the lineup against the Sabres to mark his first game action since January 9. The 25-year-old blue-liner has been a healthy scratch for 14 of the last 15 games and has played just one since January 1, but he’s looking to make a seamless transition back into the fray in Buffalo.
|Greg Pateryn will make his return to action in Buffalo.|
“I’m definitely excited. I’ve been waiting a while. It gets to you, but I think what differentiates some players from others is being able to be mentally strong when you hit a speed bump in the road,” stressed Pateryn. “I wasn’t going to let it slow me down. I’m looking forward to tonight. I’m going to try to get myself into the game early, but stay smart and stay in position. I know how to play an effective game so I’ll stick with my plan.”
While Therrien wouldn’t confirm whether or not Paul Byron would return against Buffalo, citing him as a game-time decision, he did explain what he expects from Pateryn in his first game in over a month.
“We know he might be a little rusty. It’s been a long time,” mentioned Therrien, who will be without the services of Beaulieu in Buffalo. “You have to practice hard and keep a good attitude and he’s managed to do that, but it will still take some time to get his timing back in a game situation. Execution is a lot faster in games than in practices. He’ll have to keep things simple.”
Birthday boy Alex Galchenyuk is hoping to ring in the big 2-2 in style in Buffalo, looking to build on his line’s stellar play of late. Combining for 13 points in the last three games with linemates Tomas Plekanec (3G, 4A) and Brendan Gallagher (2G, 2A), the trio has been the team’s hottest threesome during the current win streak.
“Sometimes you can be playing the same way but you don’t get the bounces. Then when you do get the bounces, people start thinking that you’re playing differently,” said Galchenyuk, who has 12 goals and 32 points in 55 games this season. “[Plekanec] is confident. We’ve all had some tough times over the course of this year, but he definitely stepped up when he needed to. He’s a great leader on this team and he’s playing like it. He’s making plays, he’s playing solid defensively, and he’s doing everything we need him to do. We have to keep going. We’ve had some recent success over the last couple of games, but it’s almost playoffs and we know we can’t make any mistakes. We have to stick together and keep doing what we’ve done to help the team.”
Responding to rumors that circulated earlier in the day that Carey Price wouldn’t be back during the 2015-16 season, Therrien reiterated that there has been no change or update in the All-Star netminder’s status during his rehab process. The reigning Hart, Vezina, Ted Lindsay and Jennings Trophy winner has been sidelined with a lower-body injury since November 27.
“We know there’s going to be speculation – that’s our market. We know what’s going on with Carey Price,” underlined the Habs bench boss. “It’s taken longer than we expected, but the work he’s putting in, the hours he’s putting in, the effort he’s putting in, that’s not just to maintain his beach body. He’s working extremely hard to come back to play.”
Puck drop is slated for 7:00 p.m. ET at First Niagara Center. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet East, RDS, TSN 690 and 98,5 FM.
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
Game Preview: Canadiens vs. Sabres
All hands on deck
Return of a speedster
- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday morning before hitting the road on a three-game road trip that will see them play the Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes and the Colorado Avalanche.
- Lucas Lessio took part in Thursday’s on-ice session after suffering a lower-body injury in his first game with the CH against Philadelphia earlier in the month. Lessio had been skating with athletic therapists over the last couple of days before returning to practice. He will travel with the team on the road trip.
- For his part, Paul Byron will make the trip to Buffalo, too. He’s also been sidelined as of late, having missed the last eight games due to injury. Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that a decision on Byron’s playing status would be made on Friday.
- On the back end, there’s a good chance that Greg Pateryn will be in the lineup on Friday night after serving as a healthy scratch for the last 12 games. Pateryn will likely play given that Nathan Beaulieu was unable to take part in Thursday’s practice after going down against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. Beaulieu is currently listed as day-to-day.
- Coaching consultant Craig Ramsay joined the rest of the staff for Thursday’s practice session, working on the power play before the official practice got underway at 11 a.m.
- Jacob De La Rose, who was recalled from the AHL's St. John’s IceCaps on Wednesday afternoon, did not take part in Thursday’s practice. He’ll join the team in Buffalo.
- Coming off three straight wins, Ben Scrivens will once again get the start in goal on Friday night. It will mark Scrivens’ eighth start of the season. The 29-year-old netminder has given up just four goals in his last three outings, while posting a .959 save percentage.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gallagher
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Andrighetto
Fleischmann – Eller – DSP
Byron/Lessio – Mitchell – Weise
Subban – Markov
Emelin – Pateryn
Gilbert – Barberio
On Wednesday evening the Canadiens announced that forward Jacob de la Rose has been recalled from the St. John’s IceCaps. In 30 games in the American Hockey League this season, the 20-year-old has amassed four goals and seven assists.
In addition, the Arvika, Sweden native has previously suited up for three games with the Canadiens this season during his most recent stint with the team in January. It is expected that de la Rose will meet his teammates in Buffalo, ahead of Friday night’s match-up against the Sabres.
The recall of de la Rose coincides with the announcement that Brian Flynn is expected to miss six to eight weeks of action after suffering a lower-body injury on February 9 against the Lightning.
- After picking up their third straight victory on Tuesday night, the Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Wednesday afternoon.
- In Byron’s case, it marked the first time he’d skated with teammates – and without the supervision of athletic therapists – since sustaining a lower-body injury in mid-January.
- Michel Therrien’s troops will travel to Buffalo on Thursday afternoon. It will mark their first stop on a three-game road trip that will span six days. They’ll play the Sabres on Friday night, before moving on to Arizona and Colorado.
Following Tuesday's 4-2 win against the Lightning, the team announced that forward Brian Flynn will be out for a period of six to eight weeks.
Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, meanwhile, is day-to-day with a lower body injury.
Both left the game during the same shift in the second period, and neither returned for the third.
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning in preparation for their tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre.
- After being a healthy scratch for the last two games, defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will return to the Canadiens’ lineup on Tuesday night. Jeff Petry, meanwhile, will miss the contest due to a lower-body injury. For Beaulieu, the chance to suit up again after taking in the last two tilts from the press box means a lot.
“Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed with what happened. All I can do is take advantage of the opportunity to play tonight,” said Beaulieu, who is averaging 16:58 of ice time per game so far this season through 51 games played. “I believe in myself and my abilities. I think that’s what matters most. This is another opportunity to get out there. I feel fortunate for that.”
The 23-year-old rearguard is taking things in stride, knowing full-well what Michel Therrien and the rest of the coaching staff expect of him going forward.
“I’ve just got to be better,” admitted Beaulieu, who has two goals and 16 points on the year. “I’ve never lost confidence, though. I’m a young D-man, and sometimes the road doesn’t always go where you want it to go. Things happen. But, there’s definitely a little motivation there because of what happened.”
- Beaulieu will be going about his work alongside Mark Barberio, who was drafted by the Lightning back in 2008 and played 103 games with the organization before joining his hometown team during the offseason.
“[Nathan and I] played together before, a couple of games. We know each other pretty well,” said Barberio, who will be playing his 17th game of the season on Tuesday night. “We move the puck well and move our feet. He’s good at jumping in the zone offensively.”
Needless to say, these matchups with Jon Cooper’s squad mean just a little bit more to Barberio given his connection to his former club.
“It’s always special to play against your old team,” said Barberio, who has one goal and three points with the Canadiens. “Tampa is a really good team. They’ve turned it up as of late. They lost on Monday night, so they’ll try to rebound tonight. It’s going to be a good challenge for us.”
Brendan Gallagher shared similar thoughts on Tuesday morning after the Canadiens wrapped up their on-ice session on the South Shore.
“It’s a big game. Everyone remembers how the season ended last year. For us, the focus will be on ourselves and what we can control,” admitted Gallagher, who was still recovering from surgery to repair two broken fingers when the two teams last met in Tampa on Dec. 28. “We understand the situation that we’re in.”
- That’s something David Desharnais touched upon on Tuesday, too. The Canadiens made a lot of good things happen over the weekend against Edmonton and Carolina, respectively. Now, it’s up to them to continue trending in the right direction against an Atlantic Division rival that always plays them tough.
“We scored five goals in a game [on Saturday]. That did us some good. Our goaltender offered up some really good performances, and we didn’t just give up when we fell behind 1-0 [on Sunday],” said Desharnais, who will go in search of his first goal since Jan. 23 – a span of six games. “These are all little things that we need to build off of, but we’re feeling more and more confident.”
Confidence is always key when you’re trying to stop the likes of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Nemestnikov and Victor Hedman. It’s a challenge a veteran like Desharnais enjoys.
“There’s speed and talent out there. They aren’t very physical games against Tampa, but there’s a lot of intensity and emotion,” explained Desharnais. “We like those types of games.”
- Goaltender Ben Scrivens will be making his third straight start for the Canadiens. The Lightning will counter with Ben Bishop between the pipes.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and Sportsnet East.
Probable lineup vs. Tampa Bay:
Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gallagher
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Weise
Fleischmann – Eller – Andrighetto
Flynn – Mitchell – Smith-Pelly
Markov – Subban
Beaulieu – Barberio
Emelin – Gilbert