Sports Newcomers bring enthusiasm, energy to Canadiens' blue line
Panthers at Canadiens, March 24, 2022: Five things you should know
Here are five things you should know about Thursday’s game between the Canadiens (17-36-10) and Florida Panthers (42-14-6) at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM). Stanley Cup contender: While the Canadiens have the worst record in the NHL, the Panthers are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. The Panthers have scored the most goals in the NHL (254), almost 100 more than the Canadiens (160). The Panthers also have the best goal differential in the NHL (plus-74), while the Canadiens have the worst (minus-78). Jonathan Huberdeau leads the Panthers in scoring with 21-65-86 totals, followed by Aleksander Barkov (26-36-62) and Sam Reinhart (23-37-60).
The Canadiens’ defence going into New Jersey Thursday (7 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM) is far different than the veteran-laden crew that helped the Canadiens reach the Stanley Cup final last season.
Joel Edmundson and Alexander Romanov, who dressed for only four playoff games, are the only healthy holdovers from last year’s playoff lineup, but assistant coach Luke Richardson is excited, especially with the impressive debuts of Justin Barron and Jordan Harris.
Canadiens expected to sign Northeastern captain Jordan Harris
Harris is now expected to sign with the Montreal Canadiens, a two-year entry-level contract that will start this season, allowing him to enter the lineup down the stretch. © Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire Northeastern captain Jordan Harris was drafted in 2018 by the Canadiens. Harris, 21, was picked by the Canadiens in 2018, 71st overall, and could potentially become an unrestricted free agent should he fail to sign with them by Aug. 15. That seemed unlikely even before Kent Hughes became general manager but especially now given his long history with the young defenseman.
“We’ve definitely lost a lot of experience from last year and through the trade deadline this year,” Richardson said Wednesday before the team flew to Newark. “Things change quick in this league, so you have to able to adapt. But especially with (head coach Martin St. Louis’s) philosophy of skating, the new guys have fit in very well. They’re good skaters and they’ve looked real good.”
Barron, a 20-year-oldscored his first NHL goal in Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to Ottawa, but he suffered a leg injury late in the game and will remain in Montreal for treatment.
Harris, a 21-year-old, has displayed his fluid skating style and puck-moving ability and is plus-2 after two NHL games.
In the Habs Room: 'It's always special to beat the good teams'
The Toronto Maple Leafs must be happy they won’t be facing the Canadiens again in the first round of the playoffs. The Canadiens are already officially eliminated from making the playoffs this year, but they beat the Maple Leafs for the second time in three meetings this season Saturday night. The Leafs outshot the Canadiens 51-18, but lost 4-2. The Canadiens lost 2-1 to the Leafs in the season opener in Toronto on Oct. 13 when Dominique Ducharme was head coach and beat the Leafs 5-2 at the Bell Centre with Martin St. Louis as head coach on Feb. 21.
“(The NHL) is not a development league at all, so you want to give young guys a chance, but you’re not going to let them keep playing if they struggle,” said Richardson. “Fortunately, our two guys have played very well and they deserve to be in there.”
Richardson said there is a good balance with veterans Edmundson and David Savard serving as a calming influence.
“They can help the young guys, not just on the ice but on the bench and in the dressing room,” said Richardson. “They can help these guys as much as the coaches.”
who made his NHL debut this season at age 26. He hung around in the minors for three-plus seasons after four years at Western Michigan.
“Coming in as an unknown out of college, he’s come in and done well,” said Richardson. “He came and played in a really tough situation in Florida, Carolina and Tampa around Christmastime when we were short-staffed. He really grabbed that opportunity and the next time he came up, his name was definitely at the top of the list and he earned it.
Canadiens by the numbers: Pitlick delivers offence, but D is a concern
You might not know it from watching them but, heading into Tuesday’s game in Florida, the Canadiens have only won three of their last 10 games. The fight that Montreal has shown against teams far ahead of them in the standings is truly incredible, especially when compared with the first half of the season. While a lot of the focus has rightfully been on the duo of Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield carrying the offensive load, Rem Pitlick has been working his tail off to impress the Canadiens organization. In Sunday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils, Pitlick scored a late tying goal for the second time in two weeks to ensure his team snared a point.
“It’s the same with the two guys who just came in,” added Richardson. “They’re excited and they’re playing with enthusiasm and energy, and you don’t want that to wear off. You don’t them to think I’ve had my chance and now I’m here. They have to earn it every day.”
Barron, who said his first NHL goal and the reception he received from the Bell Centre faithful is something he’ll remember for the rest of his life. But the moment was marred by a late-game collision with Mathieu Joseph that left him limping off the ice.
Paul Byron finished Tuesday’s game, but he suffered an undisclosed injury and also stayed home.
Goaltender Carey Price did board the charter. St. Louis said Price wouldn’t make his long-awaited season debut on this trip, but he will practice with the team.
Canadiens prove to be cannon fodder during 5-1 loss in Columbus .
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Every time the Canadiens play at Nationwide Arena there will be bad memories for Montreal fans of the night they lost 10-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. That game was on Nov. 4, 2016, and Al Montoya was left in goal for the duration as the Blue Jackets set a franchise record for most goals in a game, outshooting Montreal 40-30 with Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien wanting to give Carey Price a full night off in the first game of a back-to-back situation. Montoya might still be having nightmares from that night when the famous cannon at Nationwide Arena that goes off after each Blue Jackets goal was fired 10 times.