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Sports Canadiens Notebook: Jake Allen will be in goal for Habs Saturday night

06:08  27 february  2021
06:08  27 february  2021 Source:   montrealgazette.com

In the Habs' Room: 'It's on us,' Canadiens' coach Julien says after shutout

  In the Habs' Room: 'It's on us,' Canadiens' coach Julien says after shutout Teams are learning that, if you can slow the Canadiens’ rush, you have a pretty good chance to beat them. The Edmonton Oilers became the latest team to prove that Thursday night when they shut out the Canadiens 3-0 at the Bell Centre . The Canadiens outshot the Oilers 38-31 but, aside from a Nick Suzuki breakaway in the first period, the Canadiens spent most of the night firing shots from the perimeter. With all due respect to Joel Edmundson, there’s a problem when the defenceman — who’s not known for his scoring prowess — leads the team with six shots on goal.

Claude Julien wouldn’t reveal who his starting goalie would be until the day of a game.

a person holding a sign: Feb 21, 2021; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goalie Jake Allen (34) makes a save in the second period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports © Provided by The Gazette Feb 21, 2021; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goalie Jake Allen (34) makes a save in the second period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

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 .932 save percentage. The Canadiens were shut out in both of Allen’s regulation-time losses.

Canadiens Game Day: Carey Price in goal, Paul Byron back in the lineup

  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.

Ducharme said Price would take some time to work with goalie coach Stéphane Waite.

“We want to be better in front of him,” Ducharme added. “There’s no question about that.”

When asked if playing Price more often might be a way to get the goalie out of his slump, Ducharme said: “Everything is about balance. So we’re taking everything into consideration. If there’s one thing we have is we’ll be playing a lot of games, so he’s going to be playing a lot.”

After Saturday, the Canadiens don’t play again until Tuesday, when the Ottawa Senators will be at the Bell Centre.

Ducharme said Josh Anderson, who was injured late in the first period of Thursday night’s game, is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, but is hoping the big right-winger can play Saturday night.

Canadiens Game Day: Carey Price in goal for Dominique Ducharme's debut

  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.

Check the rear-view mirror

The Canadiens (9-6-4) are in fourth place in the North Division, only two points ahead of the Calgary Flames (9-10-2), while holding two games in hand. The top four teams make the playoffs.

The Flames play the Senators Saturday afternoon in Ottawa (1 p.m., TSN5, SNW, RDS).

The Canadiens are winless in their last four games (0-2-2) and are 2-5-2 in their last nine games. Price is 0-2-1 in his last three games while giving up 14 goals and is 1-4-1 in his last six games.

“I think the first thing is playing better in front of him on the ice,” captain Shea Weber said when asked about Price’s struggles. “But I don’t think we want to make too big of a deal about anything with him. We’ll treat him just like any other teammate. It’s definitely not something that we’re dwelling on and we’re not concerned about it. We’re more concerned about the way we’re playing as a team and helping him out in front of him.

Canadiens Game Day: Dominique Ducharme trying to put his stamp on team

  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.

“We’re not singling him out at all,” Weber added. “It’s a team game and we’re losing as a team right now. We’re not doing enough in front of him to help him and make his job easier right now. Our goal is to clean those things up and we know how good he is and we know what he’s done for this franchise and on and on and on. He’s an unbelievable talent, he’s an unbelievable player, and he’s going to be the difference-maker that we need. We just got to fix the problems in front of him and things will go on.”

First full practice

Ducharme held his first full practice as Canadiens head coach Friday afternoon in Winnipeg.

What was his goal for the practice after only having a morning skate with the team on Thursday?

“Going back on the things that we talked about the first night (in a team meeting Wednesday),” Ducharme said. “A review on that. Practice and making sure that we cover that and then when the game starts tomorrow we’re a lot better on those things so that we can move forward and attack something else.

Canadiens Notebook: Dominique Ducharme keeps working on his new system

  Canadiens Notebook: Dominique Ducharme keeps working on his new system New Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme likes to limit his practices to 30-35 minutes, but he wants them to be intense. About 30 minutes into practice Monday at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, Ducharme blew his whistle, stopped the action and held a mini team meeting on the ice. The Canadiens were working on Ducharme’s new forechecking system and the coach didn’t like what he was seeing. “I said instead of keeping going for three minutes and not doing it the right way I’ll stop, we’ll walk through it and they’ll understand and we’ll leave here better,” Ducharme explained after practice. “You always start with a plan,” Ducharme added.

“Our guys want to win,” the coach added. “Last night there’s a lot of things that I liked in the first part of the game. It was not perfect. We can be much better than we were, even though it was better in the first part, but then we cracked. So we got to work to be able to sustain the kind of play that we want to have every night. So that’s it.”

When asked what the most disappointing part of the game was for him, Ducharme said: “Disappointment … it was the first time we stepped on the ice talking about those things. So from there we’re moving forward.”

Thursday night’s game was the first of 18 in 34 days through the end of March, so there won’t be a lot of practice time for Ducharme to implement the changes he wants to put in place.

When asked how long it will take for him to put in place all the changes he wants to make, Ducharme said: “That’s a good question. It depends. I got to balance the guys over-thinking on the ice, not moving, and not giving enough. So finding the balance there and working through that. So it’s tough to put a timeline exactly to say: All right, we’ve covered everything and we’re going to be full throttle at that time. But one thing I want to make sure of is that when we go to bed tonight we’re going to be a better team than when we got up.”

High expectations

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin made it clear before the start of the season that expectations for the team are high this year after his off-season additions.

Stu Cowan: Canadiens need to revive dormant offence

  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.

Are those expectations maybe weighing on the team now?

“I think the expectations are extremely high this year,” Weber said. “Seeing what we kind of accomplished in the (post-season) bubble there. I know it wasn’t much, but it was a glimmer of hope and to see what our team was coming to. And then with the additions we had through the off-season, I think that everyone expects a lot more and with that comes the added pressure you put on yourself.”

“Pressure … we got to be good controlling what we can control,” Ducharme said. “Our focus is on that. We can talk standings all day. We can talk about how much we want to win the next game. But if we don’t do it the right way, if we don’t take the right path to success, then it won’t happen as often as we want. So we want to build that so at one point we’re becoming consistent in the way we play and do things and then our results are going to be consistent on the positive side.”

The high expectations are part of what cost Julien his job.

“It’s always difficult,” Weber said about Julien getting fired. “It’s a situation that nobody likes to see. It’s a tough business and it is a business. At the end of the day, it comes to results and as players we feel a lot of that falls on us, too. If we’re not getting the job done you look for answers. Obviously, guys get traded as well and that is a big part of the business as well. It’s hard on guys, and guys get sent down. It’s a tough business and nobody likes those hard parts of it. It’s happened now, we can’t dwell on it. Definitely feel as players that we would have liked to do more, but we’ve got to move forward and get better now.”

Canadiens Game Day: Carey Price gets third straight start vs. Canucks

  Canadiens Game Day: Carey Price gets third straight start vs. Canucks Carey Price will be back in goal when the Canadiens play the Canucks Wednesday night in Vancouver (11 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM). This will mark the first time this season that Price will start three consecutive games. Price has allowed only one goal in each of his last three starts and now has a 7-4-4 record with a 2.69 goal-against average and a .903 save percentage. Head coach Dominique Ducharme will switch up his forward lines for the game, putting Brendan Gallagher with Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Tyler Toffoli, while Joel Armia will take Gallagher’s regular spot on a line with Phillip Danault and Tomas Tatar.

Special-teams problems

Special teams are among the things Ducharme needs to fix to get the Canadiens back on track.

Through Thursday’s games, the Canadiens ranked 18th on the power play with a 19.3 per cent success rate and ranked 22nd in penalty-killing at 76.3 per cent.

“The first thing that we need to address on our power play is our mindset, our pace, our intensity,” Ducharme said. “We know every time you go on the power play there’s desperation on the other side. We need to be desperate on our side also. There’s a structure side and things that we need to work on. But the mindset’s got to be better.”

When asked about the penalty-killing, Ducharme said: “Better application of duties. Doing our job better. Obviously, on the PK you’re already one man short. At times we’ve been really, really good, and at times we struggle. Mostly assignments were missed. We want our guys to be accountable on that. Obviously, there’s always adjustments, but when we do things right our structure is good.”

Fresh start for Tatar

The coaching change provided a fresh start for Tomas Tatar, who had been a healthy scratch for one game under Julien and was also taken off his regular line with Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher.

Ducharme reunited the line for his first game as head coach and Tatar responded by scoring his fifth goal of the season on the power play.

“It’s a fresh start for everyone, even for me who maybe didn’t have the best start,” said Tatar, who has 5-5-10 totals in 18 games. “Some things are changing and I want to help to get the team winning again.

“Obviously, I’m very happy to play with them,” Tatar added about being reunited with Danault and Gallagher. “We had so much success last year. I think our numbers were one of the highest in the NHL. We’re just so used to each other. We, as a line, have to be better. We want to work together and help the team to win more games.”

Lacklustre performance by the Habs in 2-1 loss to the Flames

  Lacklustre performance by the Habs in 2-1 loss to the Flames The schedule caught up to the Canadiens Thursday as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome. Jacob Markstrom beat the Canadiens for the second time this season, but this time it was a lot easier than the game on Jan. 30 when he had to make 37 saves for the shutout win. This time around, the Canadiens were playing their second game in less than 24 hours and they managed only 18 shots. They were looking at their third shutout loss before Corey Perry deflected a Shea Weber shot midway through the third period. Backup goaltender Jake Allen allowed only two goals on 29 shots, which gave his team a chance to win.

It was surprising that Julien would make Tatar a healthy scratch for one game and also bench him for the final eight minutes of the third period and the entire overtime of another game during a period when the Canadiens were struggling to score goals. Tatar led the Canadiens in scoring last season with 22-39-61 totals and has had six straight 20-goal seasons.

“It wasn’t pretty, for sure,” Tatar said about sitting out. “During the regular season I’ve never been in that position. But I was still cheering for the guys to do the best result. But when you see it was a tough time to score and you were benched or you weren’t playing, it was tough. But it was a decision I could have a hard time to understand it. But I had to take it and be a pro about it and I was trying to work hard to prove I wanted to help the team and we were better with me in the lineup.”

When asked if the coaching change was a positive for him, Tatar said: “I had two good years with Claude. I can’t thank him enough. He gave me an opportunity to play. This season was a little rough, but it’s coaching. Stuff happens. I’m kind of excited for a new fresh start and for myself, too. I would put it this way: I’m very excited Dom got the opportunity and hopefully we can squeeze the most out of it.”

The lines

Here’s how the forward lines and defence pairings looked at practice Friday:

Tatar – Danault – Gallagher

Drouin – Suzuki – Toffoli

Lehkonen – Kotkaniemi – Armia

Byron – Evans – Frolik

Perry

Chiarot – Weber

Edmundson – Petry

Kulak – Romanov

Mete

Related

What’s next?

The Canadiens and Jets will play again Saturday night in Winnipeg (10 p.m., CBC, SN, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio).

Next week, the Canadiens will play three straight games at the Bell Centre. The Ottawa Senators will be the visitors on Tuesday (7 p.m., TSN2, TSN5, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM), followed by two games against the Jets on Thursday (7 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM) and Saturday (7 p.m., SNE, SNW, CITY, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).

The Canadiens have a 3-5-0 record at the Bell Centre this season.

scowan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/StuCowan1

Lacklustre performance by the Habs in 2-1 loss to the Flames .
The schedule caught up to the Canadiens Thursday as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome. Jacob Markstrom beat the Canadiens for the second time this season, but this time it was a lot easier than the game on Jan. 30 when he had to make 37 saves for the shutout win. This time around, the Canadiens were playing their second game in less than 24 hours and they managed only 18 shots. They were looking at their third shutout loss before Corey Perry deflected a Shea Weber shot midway through the third period. Backup goaltender Jake Allen allowed only two goals on 29 shots, which gave his team a chance to win.

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