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Sports In the Habs' Room: Youngsters make big impression in playoff debut

15:28  02 august  2020
15:28  02 august  2020 Source:   montrealgazette.com

Canadiens loan defenceman Otto Leskinen to Finnish team

  Canadiens loan defenceman Otto Leskinen to Finnish team The Canadiens have agreed to loan defenceman Otto Leskinen to KalPa Kuopio in the Finnish Liiga, for the start of the 2020-21 season. The move will allow Leskinen, 23, to play at a competitive level before reporting for Montreal and Laval training camps for the 2020-21 season. The Montreal camp is expected to start in November. Leskinen made his NHL debut in 2019-20 and played five games with the Canadiens. The left-handed defenceman did not record a point during his stint in the NHL. He had 22 points (two goals, 20 assists) in 57 games with the Laval Rocket in his first season in North America.

Coach Claude Julien says he needs more from Alex Galchenyuk as the Canadiens head into the playoffs , and he saw some good things Saturday night.

Share this Story: In the Habs ' Room : Youngsters ' milestones overshadow strong defensive effort. “I was trying to get it deep for (Max Domi) because he was flying in and he made a great play to get the The goal-scoring heroics of the two youngsters overshadowed a solid defensive effort from the

a group of people riding skis on a snowy surface: Nick Suzuki #14 of the Montreal Canadiens is congratulated by teammate Jesperi Kotkaniemi #15 after Suzuki scored a goal in the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game One of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on Aug. 1, 2020 in Toronto. © Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo Nick Suzuki #14 of the Montreal Canadiens is congratulated by teammate Jesperi Kotkaniemi #15 after Suzuki scored a goal in the second period against the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game One of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on Aug. 1, 2020 in Toronto.

TORONTO – It was a coming out party for youngsters Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi as they made major contributions to the Canadiens’ 3-2 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Saturday night at Scotiabank Arena.

Canadiens had the matchups they wanted in Game 1 win over Penguins

  Canadiens had the matchups they wanted in Game 1 win over Penguins TORONTO — As the Canadiens approached the start of their qualifying round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, coach Claude Julien talked about the difficulty of matching lines because the Penguins had the last line change in the first two games of the best-of-five series. As it turned out, his concerns were for naught. Sidney Crosby spent most of the night playing against the Canadiens’ defensive specialist Phil Danault and young Nick Suzuki. “I was a bit surprised,” said Danault, who was matched against Crosby for 19 faceoffs. “I know they double-shifted him a lot so I guess we were going to face each other.

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The Jets rookie quarterback impressed in his preseason debut , throwing a touchdown pass in a 17-0 win over the Falcons at MetLife Stadium. There was nothing that indicated the game was too big for Darnold and he made plays that rookies usually do not.

The 20 year olds each scored a goal in their NHL playoff debuts as Montreal took a 1-0 lead in the NHL Return to Play tournament’s best-of-five qualifying series.

The Canadiens are decided underdogs in this series but coach Claude Julien said the win was a mark of his team’s confidence.

“The only chance we have is if we play on our toes and not on our heels and go out there and have some confidence and play hard,” said Julien. “We’re putting you out there because we have confidence in you and you have to go out and show you can do it. That’s the message (the young guys are) getting from the coaching staff and but they’re also getting that from their teammates and I think they feel pretty good about where they are in our group.”

For Kotkaniemi, this unexpected appearance in the playoffs is a reset. When the NHL halted play on March 12, he was sidelined by a spleen injury after being sent to the AHL a month earlier. He returned to camp with some added muscle and more jump to his skating  and he earned his spot on the third line.

Kotkaniemi silences critics as Canadiens push Penguins to the brink | HI/O Show

  Kotkaniemi silences critics as Canadiens push Penguins to the brink | HI/O Show On this week’s show, our panelists — Montreal Gazette columnist Pat Hickey, CBC Daybreak Montreal’s Jessica Rusnak and former Canadien Rick Green — along with host Adam Susser talk about the Canadiens-Penguins playoff qualifying series. They also weigh in on these topics: Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi showing their upside. From passenger to pilot for Jonathan Drouin in Game 3 . Canadiens struggle to find a line fit for Max Domi. Related In They also weigh in on these topics:

Canadiens coach Claude Julien said he’s glad there are three days for his team to shake off the rust before they play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the best-of-five qualifying round of the NHL Return to Play tournament.

Forgive the young American ’s exuberance. This was, after all, the biggest victory of his nascent career. Defeat Andreas Seppi of Italy next, and Tiafoe would make his debut in the second week of a Grand Slam. He turns 21 on Sunday and said: “If I’m playing on that day and beat somebody, that’s

As for Suzuki, he is showing why he was regarded as the prize in the deal which sent Max Pacioretty to Vegas two years ago.

He overcame a rocky start Saturday to lead all forwards in ice time and turned in a strong effort on both ends of the ice.

“As a line we had a rough start, we were trapped in the D zone a lot but the coaching staff was really on and talking about being ready and our time would come,” said Suzuki. “Just keep working. We have enough skill on that line to generate a lot of offence,”

Suzuki scored in the second period but his work as a penalty-killer in the third period was the highlight of his night. He joined with Shea Weber and Petry to kill a 5-on-3 Pittsburgh advantage for 1:32. He was pressed into the role because one of the players in the box was Phil Danault, the Canadiens’ best penalty-killing forward.

“We were limited in our faceoff guys and the draw was on the right side and we put him out there because not only did he give us the best chance to win the draw  but he’s smart enough  to handle the 5-on-3,” said Julien who looked like a genius when Suzuki won the draw against Sidney Crosby. “He’s cerebral and he figures things out quickly.”

About Last Night: Habs frustrated the Penguins' best players all series long

  About Last Night: Habs frustrated the Penguins' best players all series long The Montreal Canadiens gifted Sidney Crosby a present for his 33rd birthday: a series loss and subsequent elimination from postseason contention. It was a surprise upset that went against many pundits’ opinions, predictions, and proclamations, as the Penguins were left to waddle home after losing their series to the Canadiens. The same Canadiens who lost four times to the league-worst Detroit Red Wings this season. But that was months ago. This is a different team. A team that definitely took notice of everyone slighting them ahead of the pandemic postseason. “A little bit. Everybody was kind of counting us out.

A number of beautiful historic cities and Brussels itself offer impressive architecture, lively nightlife, first-rate restaurants and numerous other attractions for visitors. The Belgians, living in the north, will often prefer to answer visitors in English rather than French, even if the visitor’s French is good.

While Fleury has played well enough to make the team, his future will depend on how the Canadiens manage their personnel in terms of waivers. The top line of Tomas Tatar, Phil Danault and Brendan Gallagher played for the first time in the preseason and Gallagher said it was just like old times.

“I was pretty confident (because) I had two good defenders with me and it was nice for the coach to use  me in that situation,” said Suzuki.

Gong into the series, the Canadiens knew they needed  big performances from goaltender Carey Price and they got one Saturday. Eighteen of his 39 saves came in the first period.

“Carey was huge throughout that whole first period and gave us a chance to adjust in the second,” said Julien. “He kept us in the whole game.”

Petry ended the game by jumping into the attack and beating Matt Murray high on the blocker side.

“We talk about following the play and supporting the attack.” said Petry. “I just saw the puck pop out and I had the opportunity to jump there.  I took an extra second to pull it in and I got the shot.”

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Carey Price isn't the only Canadien at the top of his game .
TORONTO — The Canadiens are one win away from upsetting the Pittsburgh Penguins in their best-of-five NHL qualifying round series and goaltender Carey Price has been the team’s most valuable player. But he’s not the only reason why the Canadiens lead 2-1 going into Game 4 Friday (4 p.m., SN, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio). The supporting cast has been outstanding — from youngsters Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi to the new Big Three on defence to the often underappreciated Phil Danault. Danault was the key piece in head coach Claude Julien’s decision to shuffle his lines in Wednesday’s 4-3 victory.

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