Sports Canadiens put in solid effort in Winnipeg, but fall in OT
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.
Dominique Ducharme is still looking for his first win as an NHL head coach, but the Canadiens have to be encouraged by their play Saturday night as they took the Jets to overtime before dropping a 2-1 decision at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg.
It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Canadiens, but they went 0-1-3 on their four-game road trip to salvage three points from the overtime and shootout losses. With the defeat, the Canadiens fell four points behind the third-place Jets in the Canadian division.
Stu Cowan: Players forced Canadiens GM's hand in firing of Julien
This is the third column I have written in the last two weeks about the Canadiens firing Claude Julien, but the first to be published. When the Canadiens cancelled a scheduled practice two Mondays ago and announced that GM Marc Bergevin would speak with the media at noon, I was pretty sure Julien was gone, so I had the column written that morning and ready to hit publish when the news broke. I was wrong. It seemed like the perfect time to make a coaching change because the struggling Canadiens had a six-day break in the schedule and it would have given the new coach time to work on changes he might want to make to the system, or the lines, during what would be like a mini-training
Paul Stastny was credited with the game-winner at the 36-second mark of the overtime.
Jake Allen had good support from the defence, which limited the Jets to 21 shots, but Montreal had difficulty scoring. They fired 41 shots, but Connor Hellebuyck showed why he won the Vézina Trophy last season with a solid performance.
Montreal ran into some familiar problems in the second period. The Canadiens, who are the most penalized team in the NHL, gave the Jets three opportunities with the man advantage and Winnipeg took a 1-0 led on a power-play goal by Nikolaj Ehlers
Andrew Copp won the faceoff against Jake Evans in the Canadiens’ zone and the puck came back to Ehlers who beat Allen with a quick wrister from the high slot. Allen was screened by rookie defenceman Alexander Romanov and didn’t move on the shot. It was the 11th goal of the season for Ehlers, who played for Ducharme with the Halifax Mooseheads.
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.
Nick Suzuki got that one back later in the period after he and Joel Armia worked to control the puck in the corner. Suzuki was below the goal line when he found an opening between Hellebuyck and the post.
The Canadiens displayed lots of energy from the start as they outshot the Jets 14-7 in the first period but neither team was able to score. Romanov had the best opportunity when he ripped a one-timer off the crossbar on the second shift of the game.
With Carey Price trying to find his game, Allen played well enough that he should get another start Tuesday when the Canadiens return home to play the Ottawa Senators.On Friday, Ducharme said Price would take some time to work with goalie coach Stéphane Waite, but he didn’t put all the blame for the Canadiens’ recent slide on the goaltender. “We want to be better in front of him,” Ducharme said. “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.”
The Canadiens return to the Bell Centre for three games. The face the Ottawa Senators Tuesday and then resume their rivalry with the Jets on Thursday and Saturday.
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.
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.