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- After posting a 4-0 shutout victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night in the home opener, the Canadiens were back at practice on Wednesday morning at the Bell Centre.
- Michel Therrien's troops will be back in action on Thursday night when they play host to the Arizona Coyotes, before hitting the road once again on Friday for a tilt in Boston over the weekend.
- Prior to beginning Wednesday's practice session, Canadiens players and staffers took to the ice for the team photo, which included young gun Charlie Lindgren, along with veteran goaltenders Carey Price and Al Montoya.
- For his part, Price took part in practice once again on Wednesday as he continues to recover from a flu virus that forced him to miss the first three games of the regular season. Following practice, Price confirmed that he was feeling better and that he would like to be between the pipes against the Coyotes. That remains to be seen, though. Therrien indicated that the All-World netminder will be re-evaluated again on Thursday.
"Carey had his best day today. He looked really good out there," mentioned Therrien duing his post-practice press conference. "He can't wait to play and I can't wait to see him play."
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Pacioretty- Galchenyuk - Gallagher
Lehkonen - Plekanec - Radulov
Byron - Desharnais - Shaw
Danault - Mitchell - Flynn/Carr
Beaulieu - Weber
Markov - Petry
Emelin - Sergachev
Redmond - Pateryn
- The Canadiens skated at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo on Thursday morning in preparation for their regular season-opening game against the Sabres. All players who made the trip to Buffalo were on the ice for the morning practice.
- Jeff Petry took part in his first practice with his teammates since injuring himself in the final game of the preseason on October 6 against Toronto. The veteran blue-liner won’t be in the lineup against the Sabres, but could suit up on Saturday in Ottawa depending how he feels in his next few practices.
- Carey Price did not accompany the team to Buffalo (flu). Charlie Lindgren was recalled from St. John’s on Wednesday and will back up Al Montoya, who will make his Canadiens debut against the Sabres. With five full NHL seasons and seven more in the AHL and ECHL under his belt, the 31-year-old may be getting his first taste of action as a Hab against the Sabres, but as Michel Therrien pointed out, this is far from Montoya’s first rodeo.
“We’ll have six guys who’ll play their first game with the Montreal Canadiens tonight, but a guy like Montoya has experience; he’s been in this situation before,” mentioned the Habs bench boss of his opening-night starter, who landed in Montreal as a free agent on July 1 after spending the last two seasons with the Florida Panthers. “He had a really good season last year. We wanted to bring in a little bit more experience this summer to support Carey, and I think [that experience] will help him tonight."
- As Therrien pointed out, Montoya is not the only player poised to make his first official appearance in bleu-blanc-rouge in regular season action in Buffalo. In addition to veterans Andrew Shaw, Shea Weber, and Alexander Radulov, who will be sporting the CH for the first time since joining the team this summer, Artturi Lehkonen and Mikhail Sergachev will be making their Habs and NHL debuts on Thursday night, as well.
“This is going to be my first real NHL game and I’m just embracing the moment. I’m trying to live it as much as I can,” stressed the 21-year-old rookie, who will play on a line with Radulov and Tomas Plekanec to kick off the campaign. “The guys said to try to go out there and do your thing. It’s just another game of hockey pretty much. I’ve played a lot of games in my time – and a lot of important games – so it’s not like it will be that different. I’ll just go out there and enjoy it…and get the win.”
- Opening night excitement isn’t limited to just the half-dozen newcomers in the Habs dressing room. The last time Therrien was behind the bench for a game that counted in the standings was on April 7 against the Lightning, and he’s champing at the bit to kick things off.
“I woke up at 5:15 a.m. this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep. It’s the first game of the season,” he shared. “Opening night is always special. There’s only one. You want to make sure everything is ready. I really liked our players’ attitudes during training camp. Training camp helped us be in a position to start this first game with confidence. We’ve been really focused on the little details over these last few weeks.”
Following a difficult campaign that saw the Canadiens finish 13th in the Eastern Conference, the Habs captain is also ready to turn the page and launch a brand new year as of 7:00 p.m. on Thursday night.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. Our summer was way too long,” said Max Pacioretty.”We’re ready to put last year in the past and we can’t really do that until the puck drops for the regular season. We’re on to a new year and it’s time to look forward.”
- The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet 360, RDS, 98,5FM and TSN 690.
Projected lines and defense pairings for the season opener
The Montreal Canadiens announced on Wednesday that goaltender Charlie Lindgren has been called up from the AHL's St-John's IceCaps.
The 22-year-old will join the Habs at practice in Buffalo on Thursday, as Carey Price remains sidelined with the flu.
Lindgren will back-up Al Montoya in goal against the Sabres.
BROSSARD - The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning in preparation for Thursday night's regular-season opener against the Buffalo Sabres in Western New York.
- Prior to the start of practice, defenseman Jeff Petry hit the ice with athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine as he continues to recover from his injury. The Michigan native has already been ruled out for Thursday night's tilt.
- After being placed on waivers by the Canadiens on Monday afternoon, goaltender Mike Condon was claimed by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.
- Following Tuesday's on-ice session, general manager Marc Bergevin met with members of the media to share his thoughts on his hockey club ahead of the start of the 2016-17 campaign.
He began, though, by offering up a huge nod to the Canadiens' fan base for their incredible support throughout the preseason, one that immediately touched the players and made them feel right at home.
"I'd like to thank our fans. They're the best fans and they showed that again. They showed it in the way they've supported our players, including Shea Weber, Andrew Shaw, [Alexander] Radulov, and even the new kids," shared Bergevin. "Even with them, among the players, it really hit home knowing that our fans are really behind them. It feels great."
With respect to the identity of the Canadiens, Bergevin believes this group is well-equipped to handle the inevitable ups and downs that occur during a long and physically taxing season.
"What we went through last year, we fell down, face-first. We have to get up. We weren't able to get up last year. I'm hoping and I believe this year we're better suited because of what we went through last year," said Bergevin, referencing the new additions the Canadiens will be featuring in their lineup come Thursday night. "Adding Shea [Weber], Shawzy [Andrew Shaw], a healthy Carey Price, Max with more experience as a captain, I think all of that will make a difference."
Meanwhile, Bergevin says young guns Artturi Lehkonen and Mikhail Sergachev both caught his eye during training camp and earned their respective roster spots to start the year. He's looking forward to seeing what they can do at the NHL level.
"The first time I shook his [Artturi Lehkonen] hand, he's not the biggest guy, but he shook a hand like he's 6-foot-4. So, you know he's a hockey player. Away from the puck in his own end, the way he protects pucks, the way he puts pucks in good areas, the way he goes to the net, he's always around traffic," praised Bergevin, before sharing his thoughts on the 18-year-old Russian rearguard, too. "The upside is huge. Defensemen take longer. That's correct. But, he was already ahead of the curve by the time he got here. We'll watch him closely, but it's fun to have a young defenseman like that with a lot of potential."
Lines and D pairings at practice:
After picking up a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night in Quebec City, the Canadiens were back at practice on Wednesday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.
Michel Therrien's troops will be back in action on Thursday night when they play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre. It will mark the final preseason contest for the Canadiens before they get the regular season underway on October 13th in Buffalo.
Carey Price and Shea Weber will both be in the lineup on Thursday night. It will mark Price's first start in a Canadiens uniform in over 10 months, along with Weber's debut as well. Weber will be paired with Nathan Beaulieu against Toronto.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
BROSSARD – The Canadiens hit the ice in Brossard on Tuesday morning before heading to Quebec City for a 7:00 p.m. game against the Boston Bruins
- Carey Price and Shea Weber joined their teammates for practice for the first time since capturing World Cup honors on Thursday night in Toronto. While neither Price nor Weber will be in the lineup against Boston, captain Max Pacioretty was happy to finally see the whole squad reunited on Canadiens ice, even if just for a practice.
“We all saw his display of work at the World Cup,” mentioned Pacioretty on his All-World netminder, who could be in uniform along with Weber on Thursday against the Leafs. “It’s nice to have him back and it will be even better when we’ll have him back in the lineup and he’s ready to go.”
- Plenty of veterans will be making the trek down highway 20 on Tuesday afternoon, however, including Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin, who will both be taking part in their first preseason games since returning from the World Cup as members of Team Russia’s blue line corps.
“I’m excited. We’re finally getting back together and we’re ready to go,” confirmed Markov, who will kick off his 16th NHL season – all with Montreal – as the team’s elder statesman at 37 years of age. “[The World Cup] was pretty intense but at the same time it was good preparation for the season. Right now I’m concentrating on a new season and I’m looking forward to it.”
- David Desharnais is also looking forward to Tuesday’s game, which will be a homecoming affair for the Laurier-Station, QC native, who was centering Artturi Lehkonen and Daniel Carr during the morning skate.
“I love going back to Quebec. Going home always brings back great memories, even more so because we’re playing the Bruins. It’s always intense. It’s good to have a few emotional games like this during training camp and these ones are always good rivalry games,” shared Desharnais, who has eight goals and 22 points in 28 career games against Boston. “We also have a few new guys here this year, so it’ll be good to get off to a good start together so we’re ready when the season begins. Being able to have everyone together for one or two games will be good for us.”
- One of the few young guns making the trip to the Videotron Centre is Michael McCarron, who was relieved to see his name left off the list of players released from camp on Monday. He’ll be skating on a line with Phillip Danault and Brian Flynn against Boston as he continues to make his case to remain with the big club on a full-time basis.
“It’s a real treat to be out here with these guys. I’m learning so much. This camp has been going well for me so far and I just need to continue to go down the right path,” confirmed McCarron, who was drafted in the first round by Montreal in 2013. “I put in a lot of work this past year and this is where I wanted to be at the end of camp. It’s not over yet and I know I still have to beat out somebody for his job and that’s going to be tough. I have to stay focused and continue to play my style of game.”
- Paul Byron missed Tuesday’s practice due to a virus and will be replaced in the lineup by Flynn. Andrew Shaw will also return to action after serving the final game of his three-game suspension on Sunday night. Al Montoya will get the start between the pipes for Montreal.
Lines and defense pairings at practicePacioretty- Galchenyuk-Gallagher
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday morning in preparation for their preseason tilt against the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre at 7:30 p.m.
- It will mark the first preseason outing for both Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec after returning from the World Cup of Hockey. The pair will be featured on a line with Brendan Gallagher, reuniting a trio that enjoyed plenty of success in the latter stages of the 2015-16 campaign. Nathan Beaulieu and Greg Pateryn will be the veteran duo on defense, while Mike Condon and Charlie Lindgren will be the goaltenders in uniform. Condon will get the start in goal.
- Veteran Senators players making the trip to Montreal include Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris, Derick Brassard, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mike Hoffman. Chris Driedger will get the start in goal, while Matt O'Connor will play the second half of the game.
- For his part, Andrew Shaw had a disciplinary hearing with the league on Thursday afternoon regarding his hit on Washington Capitals defenseman Connor Hobbs in the Canadiens' most recent preseason outing on Tuesday in Montreal. He was suspended for three preseason games. Charles Hudon will take his place in the lineup against Ottawa and likely play on the third line with David Desharnais and Daniel Carr.
- Alexander Radulov did not take part in practice on Thursday. He is sidelined with the flu.
- Following the morning skate, Russian rearguards Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin took part in their first training camp practice session as members of Group B since returning from the World Cup of Hockey.
- Young gun Mikhail Sergachev will get his first opportunity to patrol the Canadiens’ blue line on Thursday night after spending some time on the sidelines with an upper-body injury sustained at the 2016 Rookie Tournament in London, ON.
“I’m kind of nervous and excited. It’s my first game at the Bell Centre and it’s going to be awesome. I’ll be concentrating on my play in the D-zone and around the net by being strong, hard and tough,” shared the 18-year-old defenseman, who will be paired with Mark Barberio on the back end against the Senators. “Waiting to play my first game was hard. I couldn’t wait to get back on the ice and I kept asking doctors when I could go. But, I couldn’t.”
Pacioretty is eager to see what the 6-foot-3 and 223-pound OHL standout can bring to the table. He firmly believes that Sergachev has a very bright future ahead of him in the organization.
“He’s a big boy. You could tell right away that he knows how to bring it. I spent some time with him before I left for the World Cup and even since I came back, and he’s a guy that gets it,” praised Pacioretty, who has clearly been impressed by Sergachev’s skills early on. “I’ve only seen him in practice and actually in a scrimmage in the summer, but he’s a really, really good player and I’m excited to see how he looks tonight.”
Like Pacioretty, Barberio insists Sergachev is already displaying a level of maturity far beyond his years personality-wise and in his play, too.
“He already talks on the ice. He isn’t afraid to say – “I got him. I got him.” Small things like that. Typically, young guys who come to camp are usually quieter. It’s a good sign,” mentioned Barberio with a smile. “He already conducts himself like a pro. Just in practice, you could see that he has a really good point shot.”
- Plekanec, meanwhile, is hungry to hit the ice as well. Coming off six World Cup of Hockey appearances as captain for his native Czech Republic – including three preliminary-round and three tournament games – the 33-year-old forward is more ready than ever to get back in the swing of things with his NHL club.
“It’s not a downer [to be playing preseason games after playing in games that counted at the World Cup]. In preseason games there are a lot of young guys who skate well and that are fast,” shared Plekanec. “Obviously, it will be a little different, but these are still fast games and you need those games to get ready for the season.”
- Thursday night's game will be broadcast on TSN5 and RDS on TV.
Lines and D pairings at the morning skate:
- After picking up their first preseason victory on Tuesday night - a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals - the Canadiens were back at practice on Wednesday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.
- Group A hit the ice first, and Group B followed around 12 p.m.
- Mikhail Sergachev, who suffered an upper-body injury during the Canadiens' final game of the 2016 Rookie Tournament in London, ON, was back at practice alongside the rest of his Group A teammates. The Canadiens' most recent first-round selection had received the green light to practice with contact on Tuesday.
After practice, head coach Michel Therrien indicated that Sergachev would likely play on Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre.
Lines and D pairings at practice - Group A:
Yuri Alexandrov - Josiah Didier
- After dropping a 3-2 decision to the New Jersey Devils in their preseason opener on Monday night, Michel Therrien's troops skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning in preparation for their tilt against the Washington Capitals at 7:30 p.m. EST.
- Veterans in uniform on Tuesday night include Alexander Radulov, Andrew Shaw, Torrey Mitchell, Brian Flynn and Paul Byron up front, along with regulars Greg Pateryn and Nathan Beaulieu on the back end. Al Montoya will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. He will split the goaltending duties with Zachary Fucale.
- The Capitals, meanwhile, will be coming to town with the likes of forwards Jay Beagle, Marcus Johansson, Brett Connolly and Christian Thomas, and defensemen Karl Alzner, Taylor Chorney and Darren Dietz. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek and Drew MacIntyre will also be making the trip.
- The opportunity to make his preseason debut with the Canadiens has Radulov smiling bright. In short, the 30-year-old forward has been looking forward to the opportunity to strut his stuff in front of his new fan base for months, so he's pleased that the time has finally arrived.
"It's nice to have a chance to jump in and play. It's been a long, long summer. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully, we're going to win and make our fans happy," said Radulov, who will be featured on a line with Shaw and Brian Flynn. "I've just got to show up and play hard every shift I'm out there with my line and help to make them better in all aspects - in the defensive zone, in the neutral zone, and on offense, too. We've got to score. We've got to play well, set the tone, and make sure we have a good one."
Like Radulov, Shaw is eager to get his first start in a Canadiens uniform under his belt after being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks at the NHL Entry Draft in late June.
"The atmosphere in the Bell Centre, it's just unbelievable. To have the whole city behind you, cheering for you, it's really fun to play in front of," said Shaw, who has plenty of nice things to say about his fellow Canadiens newcomer and linemate against Washington.
"[Radulov's] competitive. He works hard. He loves playing the game. All of those things together, it's a good skill set to have. You watch him with the puck, he's so patient and he makes great plays. He's going to be a fun guy to have on our team," praised Shaw, clearly a firm believer that Radulov will be an important contributor to the success of the Canadiens all season long.
- Captain Max Pacioretty spoke to members of the media before jumping on the ice with the rest of Team B following Tuesday's morning skate.
Although disappointed by Team USA's struggles at the World Cup of Hockey, Pacioretty believes it was a beneficial experience for him heading into his ninth NHL season.
"It definitely puts you into shape a little bit better. The speed is there. Obviously, you feel the bumps and bruises a little more when you play that early and that fast. But, it should be a good starter here for what's to come at regular camp," said Pacioretty, who will likely be in the lineup for Thursday night's tilt against the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre.
"I learned a lot. I played against a lot of the best players in the world. I would have liked to contribute a little bit more, but I think it got me ready for the season," added Pacioretty, who will go in search of his fourth consecutive 30-goal campaign in 2016-17. "No need to reset, just build off the foundation that was built at the World Cup."
With that in mind, the 27-year-old New Canaan, CT native couldn't be happier to be back in Montreal.
"It's a very good energy [with the group], and it's the first thing everyone's told me even since I was gone," confided Pacioretty with a smile. "I was getting texts from my teammates that said - 'It's a new year. It's a fresh feeling. Everyone is so fired up. The vibes are great.' It's really exciting."
"It's really the first game of my season, so I've got to be ready. Everything I learned in the gym over the summer, I have to put it into use on the ice," explained Hudon, who was the St. John's IceCaps' second-leading point-getter last season with 53 points in 67 games. "I need to work hard and keep doing what I've done well since the beginning of camp."
Suiting up for three games with the big club in 2015-16 has Hudon feeling at ease at training camp right now. While he knows full-well that the Canadiens' brass is paying close attention to every move prospects make on the ice, he isn't letting it throw him off his game.
"I feel more comfortable on the ice. I'm a lot less nervous," admitted Hudon. "I know I'm being looked at, but I feel a lot less watched. I'm more in my bubble than in the past. Yes, management is watching us during practice, but I'm gripping my stick a lot less tightly. That's what I've noticed the most."
- Following the morning skate, the Canadiens confirmed that young gun Mikhail Sergachev had been given the green light to return to practice after sustaining an upper-body injury at the 2016 Rookie Tournament in London, ON.
Probable lineup against Washington:
Shaw - Flynn - Radulov
Byron - Mitchell - Danault
Matteau - McCarron - Hudon
Gregoire - Friberg - MacMillan
Beaulieu - Pateryn
Samuelsson - Johnston
Parisi - Lernout