Sports Canadiens Game Day: Carey Price in goal, Paul Byron back in the lineup
Canadiens Game Day: Carey Price will be back in goal vs. Jets
Carey Price will be in goal when the Canadiens face the Winnipeg Jets Saturday night at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., SNE, SNW, CITY, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM). Head coach Dominique Ducharme is hoping right-winger Josh Anderson can return to the Canadiens lineup after missing the last three games with a lower-body injury. Anderson will be a game-time decision after skating on a new line with centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi and left-winger Tyler Toffoli Saturday morning in Brossard. Before the injury, Anderson had been playing on a line with Nick Suzuki and Jonathan Drouin. If Anderson plays, Joel Armia will replace him on that line.
Carey Price will be in goal for the Canadiens Saturday night at the Bell Centre against the Toronto Maple Leafs (7 p.m., CBC, SN, CITY, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM) and forward Paul Byron will return to the lineup.
The Canadiens placed Byron on waivers last Sunday and after clearing waivers he was placed on the team’s taxi squad on Monday. Byron has struggled this season with 0-3-3 totals in 14 games. The 31-year-old is in the second season of a four-year, US$13.6-million contract with a $3.4 million salary-cap hit. The Canadiens saved $9,267 in salary-cap space for each day Byron spent on the taxi squad, about $3,000 more per day than they did when Corey Perry was on the taxi squad with his US$750,000 contract.
Stu Cowan: Canadiens need to revive dormant offence
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is hoping a new goalie coach will help Carey Price get back on track. But firing Stéphane Waite and replacing him with Sean Burke won’t help the Canadiens’ struggling offence. The Canadiens scored 44 goals in their first 10 games this season while getting off to a 7-1-2 start. After losing 4-3 in OT to the Winnipeg Jets Thursday night at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens are 3-5-4 in their last 12 games while scoring only 27 goals over that span. They have scored less than three goals in seven of their last 12 games. The Canadiens have scored 10 goals in their first four games with Dominique Ducharme as head coach and have a 1-1-2 record.
, the Canadiens had $1.488 million in salary-cap space on Saturday morning.
Byron will take Perry’s spot in the lineup against the Leafs, skating on the fourth line with Jake Evans and Artturi Lehkonen.
“We make decisions every game with a surplus of players,” coach Claude Julien said during a video conference Saturday morning. “It’s a decision we took to put Paul in the lineup. We have a back-to-back and tomorrow we’ll look at our lineup again and we’ll make another decision.”
The Canadiens will play the Senators Sunday night in Ottawa during a stretch in which they will play five games in eight nights. They will play their final 41 games this season over a 78-day span, starting Saturday night.
“Carey’s in nets tonight, yes,” Julien said. “We’ve looked at the schedule at the beginning of the year, so all that stuff we kind of have an idea of what we want to do. Again, there’s always room for changes or to adapt or to make some changes along the way. But right now we understand the schedule and you guys should understand the reason we got Jake Allen was exactly for that so that we could make sure we’ve got two good goaltenders ready to go on any night.”
What the Puck: Aura of negative energy envelops fragile Canadiens
Is Carey Price trying to get Dominique Ducharme fired? That, by the way, is a joke. The US$10.5-million goalie certainly played a role in getting Claude Julien fired . As former Habs netminder J osé Théodore said in his Journal de Montréal column this week, when National Hockey League coaches get tossed overboard, it’s often because the starting goalie is playing like a minor-leaguer. After Thursday’s pathetic performance by Price in a 6-3 loss to the high-flying Winnipeg Jets, it’s clear Saint Carey is in one of his all-too-frequent funks, pretty well business as usual for the most overrated player in the NHL.
Price has a 5-2-2 record with a 2.64 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage. Allen has a 4-2-0 record with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage.
Expect to see Allen in net Sunday night against the Senators.
This Game Day notebook will be updated after Saturday night’s game.
Votre partant contre les Leafs. ????
Your starter for tonight against Toronto.— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL)
Praise for Byron
Lehkonen also spoke with the media on video conference Saturday morning and had high praise for Byron, who is an alternate captain on the team.
“He’s a really good leader for our team,” Lehkonen said. “He brings a lot of speed to the table. We just got to play, use our speed that our line has and work through that. … Paulie’s a great player. He knows that he’s just had a tough stretch now and not getting the first goal. But it’s going to come. He works hit butt off and he really helps out the team that way. It’s just a matter of time when it comes.
Canadiens Game Day: Dominique Ducharme trying to put his stamp on team
Dominique Ducharme was thrown into the deep end without a life jacket as new head coach of the Canadiens. Ducharme didn’t even have a chance to hold one full practice before his first game behind the bench, Thursday night’s 6-3 loss to the Jets in Winnipeg, one day after taking over from Claude Julien It would have made much more sense for GM Marc Bergevin to have made the coaching move early last week when the Canadiens had a six-day break in the schedule and Ducharme would have had time to make the changes he wants to put in place.
“In the locker room he’s a great leader for us,” Lehkonen added. “He works his butt off every day he comes to work. As a younger guy, like most of the guys, it’s good to see that kind of example on the team. He’s just an overall great guy.”
Pour souligner le Mois de l'histoire des Noirs, Nick Suzuki portera des patins à l’effigie de Willie O’Ree durant l'échauffement, ce soir.
In celebration of Black History Month,— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) will wear special Willie O'Ree-themed skates during warmups tonight.
This will be the fourth of 10 games this season between the Canadiens and Maple Leafs.
The Leafs won the season opener 5-4 in overtime on Jan. 13 in Toronto and won again 4-2 at the Bell Centre on Feb. 10. The Canadiens won 2-1 in Toronto last Saturday.
The Leafs (13-3-2) are in first place in the North Division, eight points ahead of the Canadiens (9-4-2), who are in fourth place but hold three games in hand on Toronto.
The Canadiens outhit the Leafs 46-16 last Saturday night in Toronto.
Stu Cowan: Expect Canadiens to bounce back in rematch with Senators
Good teams lose some games and bad teams win some games — that’s just the way it is in pro sports. The 1976-77 Canadiens were probably the best team in NHL history, outscoring the opposition 387-171 during the regular season before going on to win the second of four straight Stanley Cups. They still lost eight games that season, posting a 60-8-12 record. The expansion 1974-75 Washington Capitals were probably the worst team in NHL history, getting outscored 446-181 during the regular season, losing four games by 10 goals or more and enduring a 17-game losing streak. They still managed to win eight games, posting an 8-67-5 record.
“It felt like there were more hits and things were getting a little more rough than the first time we played against them,” the Canadiens’ Tyler Toffoli said Saturday morning. “I think this is the fourth time we’re going to play against them and we have five more or whatever it is. So (the intensity’s) getting there. Everybody looks at the standings. Everything’s so close, so we need the two points here tonight.”
The Canadiens have done a good job of containing the Leafs’ dynamic duo of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner during their first three games against Toronto. Matthews had no goals and three assists during the first three games, while Marner had one goal and one assist.
Matthews leads the NHL with 16 goals and ranks fifth in the NHL scoring race with 16-9-25 totals. Marner ranks third in NHL scoring with 8-19-27 totals, trailing the Edmonton Oilers’ dynamic duo of Connor McDavid (9-23-32) and Leon Draisaitl (10-18-28).
À tantôt! ????
See you soon!— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) |
Great start for Toffoli
Tyler Toffoli has 10 goals in his first 15 games with the Canadiens, tied for third in the NHL behind Matthews (16) and the Vancouver Canucks Brock Boeser (12).
The Canadiens signed Toffoli to a four-year, US$17-million contract as a free agent during the off-season after he spent eight seasons with the Los Angeles Kings before being dealt to the Vancouver Canucks at last year’s NHL trade deadline.
By the numbers: Canadiens' identity a riddle wrapped in an enigma
Who are the Montreal Canadiens? In the wake of the axe falling on head coach Claude Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller on Wednesday, it might be a little while longer before we find a solid answer. With a newly minted interim head coach tag, Dominique Ducharme has an opportunity to resuscitate a season that has gone from a promising 7-1-2 start to a dreadful 2-4-2 slide heading into Saturday’s game against the Jets in Winnipeg (10 p.m., SN, SN360, CBC, TVA Sports, TSN690 Radio, 98.5 FM). The start of the season for the Canadiens was always a bit of a mirage. No team is going to average 4.
“I think just trying to come into the season and almost kind of prove what I can do,” Toffoli said about his great start to the season. “Being out in L.A. to start my career you don’t really get a whole lot of attention. So coming here I just wanted to prove that I’m a good hockey player and I feel like I’ve had a good start and I just got to keep going here.”
Toffoli is now playing on a line with Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher.
“He’s really good on draws, so being able to start with possession of the puck Is obviously what is good for the team and good for myself being able to have possession and make the plays and do all the little things that help you score goals and create more momentum,” Toffoli said about Danault, who has 0-6-6 totals this season while winning 52.7 per cent of his faceoffs. “He’s really good at that. He’s really fast. He’s kind of similar to Gally, just really good on the puck and strong on the puck. So that’s what he’s really good at.”
Complete team rosters for tonight's game between— Stu Cowan (@StuCowan1) and at the Bell Centre :
Frolik returned to taxi squad
The Canadiens recalled Michael Frolik from the AHL’s Laval Rocket on Saturday and placed him back on the team’s taxi squad.
The 33-year-old forward, who signed a one-year, US$750,000 contract with the Canadiens as a free agent during the off-season, has yet to play a game with the team this season. He was pointless in two games he played with the Rocket this week.
“He’s a player that hadn’t played in over a year,” Julien said about Frolik, who finished last season with the Buffalo Sabres. “I think the most important thing was to get him playing again and that’s what we did. As far as what we’re going to do moving forward, there’s more than just putting him back in the lineup. As you know, there’s a salary cap and everything else that comes along with it. So those are decisions that we’ll have to make here along the way.”
What the Puck: Canadiens' Carey Price back to his inconsistent ways
And so begins the inevitable Canadiens goaltending controversy. Carey Price let in two goals in 18 seconds in the last minute of the first period on Thursday — both shots eminently stoppable — and it was game over against the worst team in the National Hockey League. The Ottawa Senators’ third goal was a deflection, which usually gives the goalie a pass, but pretty well everyone except the most addled Kool-Aid drinkers said that Price should’ve stopped at least two of those shots.
A look at the NHL North Division standings ahead of tonight's game between— Stu Cowan (@StuCowan1) and at the Bell Centre :
Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at the Canadiens’ morning skate Saturday in Brossard:
The Canadiens will travel to Ottawa by bus after Saturday night’s game and play the Senators Sunday night (7 p.m., SN, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).
The Canadiens will play the Senators again Tuesday night in Ottawa (7 p.m., TSN2, TSN5, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM). After that, the Canadiens head to Winnipeg for two games against the Jets on Thursday (8 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM) and Saturday (10 p.m., CBC, SN, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio).
The Jets are the only team in the North Division the Canadiens have yet to face this season.
Canadiens Notebook: Jake Allen will be in goal for Habs Saturday night .
Claude Julien wouldn’t reveal who his starting goalie would be until the day of a game. Dominique Ducharme is not Claude Julien. The new Canadiens head coach announced Friday that Jake Allen will start in goal Saturday night in Winnipeg against the Jets (10 p.m., CBC, SN, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM). Ducharme went with Carey Price in goal for his NHL head-coaching debut Thursday night in Winnipeg and the goalie allowed five goals on 29 shots in a 6-3 loss to the Jets (the sixth goal was an empty-netter). Price now has a 5-4-3 record with a 3.13 goals-against average and a .888 save percentage. Allen has a 4-2-1 record with a 2.14 goals-against average and a .