Sports Canadiens at Winnipeg Jets: Five things you should know
Canadiens Game Day: Carey Price in goal, Paul Byron back in the lineup
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.
Here are five things you should know about the Canadiens-Jets game at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg on Thursday (8 p.m., TSN2, TSN3, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM):
The matchup: This will bebehind the bench as the Canadiens’ head coach and he takes over a team that has lost five of its last six games, although Montreal did salvage a couple of points in overtime and shootout losses to the last-place Ottawa Senators this week. This will be the first meeting this season between the Canadiens and the Jets, who hold the No. 3 spot in the Canadian division with 23 points, one point ahead of Montreal.
Canadiens Game Day: Carey Price in goal for Dominique Ducharme's debut
Carey Price will be in goal Thursday night against the Jets in Winnipeg when Dominique Ducharme makes his debut as head coach of the Canadiens (8 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM). Price has a 5-3-3 record with a 2.95 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage. He is 1-3-1 in his last five starts. Backup goalie Jake Allen has a 4-2-1 record with a 2.14 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage. The Canadiens were shut out in both of Allen’s regulation-time losses. Ducharme was named interim head coach on Wednesday after GM Marc Bergevin fired Claude Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller.
Do we have a goaltender controversy? It will be interesting to see who gets the start in goal for the Canadiens.and his US$10.5-million cap hit started the season as No. 1, but Jake Allen, who was brought in to ease Price’s workload, has been a better netminder. Price made several spectacular saves in Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to Ottawa, but also let in a softie from Brady Tkachuk that tied the game and he let in two goals on three shots in the shootout. He has a 5-3-3 record and has some of the worst numbers of his career — a 2.95 goals-against average and an .893 save percentage.
Reunion time for Drouin: Ducharme and Jonathan Drouin have some history and it will be interesting to see what effect the coaching change has on Drouin’s performance and whether Ducharme can persuade him to shoot more. Drouin played for Ducharme as a junior with the Halifax Mooseheads and they were together for a Memorial Cup win in 2013, although the star of that team was Nathan MacKinnon, who is starring for the Colorado Avalanche. Drouin had a good start with a goal and 10 assists in 13 games, but he went four games without a point before scoring his second goal of the season on Tuesday.
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 .
Some bright spots: Newcomeris living up to his reputation as a sniper and he scored his team-leading 12th goal on Tuesday. Auston Matthews (18) and Connor McDavid (13) are the only players who have scored more goals this season. And Shea Weber used his booming shot to score twice, but it would have been nice if he had been able to score on the power play. The Canadiens went 0-for-3 Tuesday and are 0-for-10 in their last six games. Montreal has one power-play goal in its last 22 opportunities.
The other guys: Mark Scheifele leads the Jets’ offence with 10 goals and 26 points. Nikolaj Ehlers, who played for Ducharme in Halifax, also has 10 goals along with 19 points, while Blake Wheeler has 17 points, including five goals. The Jets pulled off a blockbuster trade when they sent Patrik Laine to Columbus for Pierre-Luc Dubois. Quarantine and a minor injury hampered Dubois’ integration into his new team, but he has two goals — including the overtime winner against Vancouver Sunday — and an assist in three games. The goaltending is in capable hands with Connor Hellebuyck, who won the Vézina Trophy last season.
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.
About Last Night: Montreal really, really needed that win over Winnipeg .
In a results-driven business, you need them to go your way. Montreal, finally, got a result to go their way Saturday night. A 7-1 home win at the expense of a loaded Winnipeg Jets team. It temporarily stops the bleeding of a poor run as of late, where the Canadiens won once in seven games. Captain Shea Weber felt the team was playing well after Thursday night’s OT loss to Winnipeg, in which mistakes doomed them . While his team did lose, they did try to mount a comeback. In fact, since the team put Dominique Ducharme in place as interim head coach, the team has had some more jump in their step.