Montreal Canadiens Tickets

Montreal Canadiens Schedule

Canadian Tire Centre - Kanata ON
Madison Square Garden - New York NY
Staples Center - Los Angeles CA
Canadian Tire Centre - Kanata ON
United Center - Chicago IL
Canadian Tire Centre - Kanata ON
Rogers Arena - Vancouver BC
Rogers Place - Edmonton AB
Amalie Arena - Tampa FL
BB&T Center - Sunrise FL
TD Garden - Boston MA
Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia PA
Pepsi Center - Denver CO
Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia PA
Barclays Center - Brooklyn NY
TD Garden - Boston MA
BB&T Center - Sunrise FL
Amalie Arena - Tampa FL
Nationwide Arena - Columbus OH
Air Canada Centre - Toronto ON
PPG Paints Arena - Pittsburgh PA
PPG Paints Arena - Pittsburgh PA
Air Canada Centre - Toronto ON

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Important update available
Fri, 11 Nov 2016 09:00:00 EST

A new version of this mobile app is now available. An update is required on your part to continue receiving the latest team news. This latest update takes advantage of a new feed which allows for a richer multimedia experience, including integrated videos and tweets. The version you are currently using is no longer supported. The updated app also displays your Club 1909 points balance right on the home screen. You will automatically receive 100 points Club 1909 the first time you access your Club 1909 account via version 18.0. The new home screen is also now contextualized into four different modes: pre-game, in-game, post-game, and non-gameday. The way content is displayed will be optimized based on which of the four modes the app is in. With the debut of the ‘Contests’ and ‘Games’ sections, your Club 1909 account can be used to earn points by participating in Five Pick Pool, by making game predictions, or by playing Bingo during games.

Ensemble cast
Fri, 11 Nov 2016 00:32:00 EST

MONTREAL -- The Habs’ game plan against their visitors from Hollywood went as according to script. Entering Thursday’s contest having won two in a row despite being outshot 81-40, this time the Canadiens executed their plays from the moment the cameras started rolling. “It hasn’t been perfect, but we’re trending upwards after tonight,” acknowledged Max Pacioretty postgame. “We have gotten bounces recently and we have relied on Carey too much at times, but all things considered we have the right mindset in this room.” “It’s nice to get out to a lead early. We didn’t want to sit back on our heels and kill penalties at the end, but that’s how the game went,” continued Pacioretty. “I liked the resiliency -- some great saves by Carey [Price] and the rest of the guys stepping up when we had to kill those penalties at the end. I think we played a much better executed game tonight than we have in the last couple.” Case in point, the Habs held the NHL’s fifth-most trigger-happy team to just 24 shots on goal on Thursday, after allowing 43 and 38 on Saturday and Tuesday, respectively. Part of that success can be credited to a new supporting actor on the captain’s line. “It’s great to see the centerman come down low and support the wingers like that. It really made it easy on Shawzy [Andrew Shaw] and I,” dished Pacioretty on his first-time center Phillip Danault. “It allowed us to come out together as a group of five, and the result was a lot more puck possession. It’s a lot easier to work hard when you’re holding the puck like that, and that poise with the puck is what we needed. It started with Phil, but I think everyone took note of it and jumped on board.” And while the Habs were out-hit 58-21, it turns out that was just a matter of getting bang for their puck. “We’re not really aware of the hits until we go see the stat sheet after,” admitted the American sniper. “All it means is that we had the puck a lot.” Montreal made the most of their possession, beating goaltender Peter Budaj -- who entered the game riding a pair of back-to-back shutouts -- three times before adding the empty netter to end the game 4-1. “We knew he was a hot goalie heading into the game, and had a couple of wins recently. It was important to have a good start on him and be ready for this game,” explained Danault, who scored his fourth goal of the season against the Kings, tying a personal best. “It feels good. It was a big team effort, and Carey Price made some huge saves at key times. It was a good win for the boys.” Indeed, Price continues to be outstanding for the Canadiens, setting a new team record on Thursday with his ninth-straight win to start the season, besting Charlie Hodge’s eight in 1960-61. But even the star of the show was impressed by the effort put forth in front of him. “It was our best game collectively in a while, for sure. I thought we utilised our speed well,” underlined Price, who made 23 saves against the Kings. “They’re a big heavy team and they were leaning on us a lot. We just kept our feet moving and maintained a bit of puck possession down low.” And keeping with the Hollywood theme on a night Ben Stiller was in the building, there was even a cliffhanger ending. Having gone 9-0-0 at home to start the season, the Canadiens have now tied a team record set in 1953. That year, the Canadiens went 9-0-0 at the Forum before the Detroit Red Wings prevented the streak from hitting double digits. Stay tuned to find out if more history is waiting to be made when the Red Wings are in town once again for home game No. 10 on Saturday.

Numbers Game - Kings @ Canadiens
Thu, 10 Nov 2016 22:03:00 EST

Here's a numerical look at the best facts, figures, and celebrity sightings from Thursday's game between the Canadiens and Kings at the Bell Centre. 57 -- Number of Habs hall-of-famers who have now been immortalized in the Bell Centre’s ring of honor, following the addition of Rogatien Vachon on Thursday. 2 -- Number of Habs who made their 2016-17 debuts against the Kings, as Joel Hanley and Sven Andrighetto were both in the lineup opposite L.A. after being called up from the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps last Wednesday and Monday, respectively. 140:50 -- Number of minutes Kings netminder Peter Budaj had gone without allowing a goal until Paul Byron got the Habs on the board at 7:48 in the first. The former Canadiens goaltender arrived in Montreal coming off back-to-back shutouts against Calgary and Toronto. 1 -- Number of career points Daniel Carr has registered at the Bell Centre. After racking up 10 points on the road through his first 26 NHL games, the 25-year-old lit the lamp at home for the first time on Thursday. 14 -- Number of games it took Phillip Danault to match his personal best for single-season goals scored. Danault notched his fourth of the campaign on Thursday, 37 games sooner than the four he scored through 51 games with Chicago and Montreal a season ago. 74 -- Number of film credits actor Ben Stiller has racked up over the course of his career. Stiller, who is currently in Montreal shooting the upcoming indie film Brad’s Status, was in attendance for Thursday’s game against the Kings. 1,000 -- Number of NHL games officiated by linesman Steve Barton, who hit the milestone on Thursday.

Game Day: Kings @ Canadiens
Thu, 10 Nov 2016 13:40:00 EST

BROSSARD - The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday morning in preparation for their game against the Los Angeles Kings at the Bell Centre. - Following the on-ice session, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed a pair of lineup changes for Thursday night's tilt. Up front, Sven Andrighetto draws into the lineup in place of David Desharnais, while Joel Hanley will patrol the blue line in place of Greg Pateryn. "We have two young guys who've been waiting for their chance to play. I thought this was an opportunity to do that," offered Therrien. "With respect to Andrighetto, he was playing well [in St. John's]. It's never easy to take a player out of the lineup, as was the case with David. In Hanley's case, what we like from him is that he starts rushes well and passes the puck well, too. I've found that our transition game has been a bit off lately. That's why I wanted to put him in the lineup." - Desharnais will be a healthy scratch after being held without a point since October 20 against Arizona. That's a span of nine straight games. Right now, Therrien believes giving the veteran centerman a chance to watch from afar might just be the best thing for him. "David is aware of his lack of production, but he has to focus on the process necessary to be productive," explained Therrien, who is confident Desharnais will benefit from the experience of sitting Thursday night's game out, tough as it may be. "He shouldn't focus only on picking up points. He has to ask himself what will allow him to pick up points and what will allow him to be creative offensively. That's what I want him to focus on. He's always reacted well after taking a step back." - With Desharnais out, Phillip Danault will be playing center. At practice on Wednesday, Danault took turns rotating on a line with captain Max Pacioretty and Andrew Shaw, so that combination could very well repeat itself against Los Angeles. "I just have to keep using my speed. I can't change my game. If I do, it definitely won't go well. I have to move my feet and stick to the details defensively, which will help us on offense," said Danault, on the subject of staying true to his style of game as he makes the move from left wing to center. "We've done well over the course of the first 13 games of the year, so we have to stay on that track. We have to keep sticking to the details and pick up as many wins as we can." - Andrighetto, meanwhile, is eager to make his regular season debut with the Canadiens after being recalled from the AHL's St. John's IceCaps on Monday where he amassed five goals and 11 points in 10 games. With 56 games of NHL experience under his belt - 44 of which came last season - the 23-year-old Swiss forward is more focused on playing a good overall game than just factoring in on the scoresheet. "I'm not looking at the points. If I play my game every single night, the points will come by itself," mentioned Andrighetto, who put up seven goals and 17 points for the Canadiens during the 2015-16 campaign, and will likely play on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher on Thursday night. "I'm focusing on the little things and doing them right every single night, every single shift. That produces consistency. The points will come with that as well." - Hanley is also relying on the NHL experience he was privy to last season in Montreal to help him produce a solid regular season debut in the big leagues on Thursday night. "I think I can lean on that a little bit. It's just confidence that I can play here," shared Hanley, who collected six assists in 10 outings with the Canadiens in 2015-16, before starting this season with Andrighetto in Newfoundland. "It's not too big of a jump [to play in the NHL]. I'm just excited to go out and compete with the guys." - Prior to Thursday night's game, the Canadiens will honour goaltender Rogie Vachon, who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday. - Carey Price will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. He could go up against former teammate Peter Budaj in goal for the Kings, who has compiled a 7-3-0 record, 1.86 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage in 11 appearances so far this season. The Kings' No. 31 has helped Los Angeles pick up three straight wins, including back-to-back shutouts over Calgary and Toronto. - Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and Sportsnet 360, as well as on TSN 690 and 98.5 fm. Probable lineup against Los Angeles: Byron - Galchenyuk- Radulov Andrighetto - Plekanec - Gallagher Pacioretty - Danault - Shaw Carr - Mitchell - Flynn Emelin - Weber Markov - Petry Beaulieu - Hanley Price Montoya

Game Preview: Kings @ Canadiens
Thu, 10 Nov 2016 10:52:00 EST

LAK (7-6-0) @ MTL (11-1-1) The Canadiens will be looking to make it three in a row when the Los Angeles Kings visit the Bell Centre on Thursday night. On Tuesday, Paul Byron scored the game-winner against Boston with a minute to go in the third, breaking a 2-2 deadlock to help the Habs improve to 11-1-1. Alexander Radulov picked up a pair of assists in the effort while Carey Price made 41 saves to earn his eighth win of the season Price will be back between the pipes on Thursday, and could face his former teammates Peter Budaj at the other end of the ice. Budaj has won seven of the 10 games he’s started this season since being called up from the AHL, and has posted an excellent 1.86 goals against average. He hasn’t allowed a goal in his last two games, coming off 5-0 and 7-0 wins against Calgary and Toronto, respectively. Former Hab Tom Gilbert could also be in the lineup for the Kings, having now served the entirety of his three-game suspension. Sven Andrighetto meanwhile could make his 2016-17 Canadiens debut opposite L.A. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., and will be broadcast on SN360 and RDS.

Montoya stays true to his roots
Wed, 09 Nov 2016 15:50:00 EST

MONTREAL – When Manuel Silva left everything behind in Cuba and boarded a boat bound for the United States, he never could have imagined that one day his grandson would be suiting up for the Montreal Canadiens. Al Montoya – whose full first name is Alvaro – has a family history that isn’t typical in an NHL dressing room. Two years after the Bay of Pigs Invasion – a 1961 US-sponsored operation attempting to overthrow Fidel Castro’s government – Manuel Silva had two choices: stay in Cuba and take part in the revolution, or leave his homeland, his life as a lawyer, and his ranch in search of a better life. “He was a man of many talents. But he sacrificed everything for his family. That’s how he found himself selling strawberries on the side of the road in Miami,” explained the Canadiens’ netminder. Montoya’s mother, Irene, was just 10 years old at the time. For her, Montoya explained, the adventure by boat was something she still recalls as “the coolest day of her life.” “She wasn’t really aware of what was going on politically. My grandfather made life a lot easier for them,” stressed Montoya, who shares his cardiac surgeon father’s last name despite the latter having not been a big part of his son’s life. Manuel Silva, who dropped one of his given names after arriving on American soil, saw his gamble pay off. His wife, Berta, and he found work in Chicago, where they set up a life and raised their children. “All my mother, her brother, and her sister had to worry about was focusing on school. My grandparents took care of the rest. They all worked incredibly hard and my mother became a doctor, her sister became a dentist, and their brother became an architect,” boasted Montoya. The importance of education is a value Irene Silva passed on to her four boys. “Hockey can bring you places, but school is what can bring you the farthest. That’s why for me, a big part of the reason I was playing hockey and focusing on hockey was to help me get an education,” explained the 31-year-old goaltender, who attended the University of Michigan. Montoya’s brother, David, four years his elder, played university football at the United States Naval Academy and now runs his own business in Chicago. Their twin brothers, Carlos, who owns a gym, and Marcos, a dentist, have also had success in their lives. Many of their cousins have followed in Irene’s footsteps and become doctors. Montoya still considers his mother to be a real-life “Superwoman” and he and his brothers make sure to give back whenever they get a chance. “She had help, of course, but she basically raised us by herself. We watched her wake up at 6:00 a.m. every day to go work for 12 hours and then she still somehow managed to make it out to our practices. We said to ourselves, ‘She’s offering us this life so we can just focus on school.’ We saw the sacrifices she made for us every single day. I don’t know what we did to deserve that,” said Montoya. Latin roots Despite growing up in Chicago, Montoya never forgot his roots. His first language is Spanish and he has a soft spot for Cuban food and Latin music. “Cuban food is amazing. My favorite dishes are bistec empanizado, which is like a breaded steak, and ropa vieja. I love beans, plantains, bananas – all the things you’d eat around the holidays,” he shared. Holiday gatherings and family reunions were a constant in the Silva-Montoya household – and they weren’t exactly quiet affairs… “In our culture, we have huge parties. We’re loud, there are always a lot of us, and there’s a lot of love. Actually, I think there were about 20 people in the room the last time I called home to FaceTime!,” he added with a laugh. Montoya has an incredible amount of respect for his mother and his grandparents. As a father now himself to his three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Camila, and his almost-two-year-old son Henry – or Enrique, as he’s affectionately known – Montoya tries to instill those same values he learned from his own role models growing up. “If I could teach them just one thing, it would be ‘respect yourself and respect others.’ Love is the most important thing. Our family is built on a foundation of love and kindness,” explained Montoya. Montoya speaks Spanish with his kids, but he admits he and his mother tend to revert to “Spanglish” when they chat these days. “My daughter has become fluent, so we’re adding French. But now she’ll use Spanish words and try to tell us she’s speaking French, which is really cute,” he added with a laugh. Proud of his heritage and his roots, Montoya has made an effort in his previous NHL homes to become as involved as possible in the Hispanic communities in both New York and Florida. He’d like to do the same in Montreal. “I’m probably the only player in the league who speaks Spanish. I know the kind of role I can play and if I can open some doors to hockey for that community, I’m going to do it. I see it as a real privilege to be here as a minority,” he concluded. Joanie Godin is a writer for

Rapid Fire - November 9
Wed, 09 Nov 2016 15:20:00 EST

BROSSARD - Following Tuesday night's 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins, the Canadiens were back at practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Wednesday. - All players were present and accounted for at practice, except for Artturi Lehkonen and Zach Redmond, both of whom are sidelined due to injury. The Canadiens will be back in action on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Kings at the Bell Centre. - Head coach Michel Therrien made a few adjustments up front on Tuesday, as Phillip Danault rotated with David Desharnais at center on the Canadiens' third line alongside Max Pacioretty and Andrew Shaw. For his part, Daniel Carr took Danault's spot on the fourth line with Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn. - Therrien featured Sven Andrighetto on the second line with Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher, while the Canadiens' top line of Paul Byron, Alex Galchenyuk and Alexander Radulov remained intact. - During his post-practice press conference, Therrien indicated that he hasn't yet decided if any of the aforementioned line changes will stick for Thursday night's tilt. He did confirm, however, that Carey Price would get the start in goal in the Canadiens' 14th game of the season. - The Canadiens' bench boss upped the intensity level during the latter part of Tuesday's on-ice session by having his troops take part in an assortment of battle drills along the boards and in front of the net. "It was fun. I think we enjoy those as players. I don't think we were smiling because we were a little tired," cracked Gallagher. "Coach let them go for a little while. We got a lot of battles in, and I think we were just catching our breath." Mitchell believes it was a good exercise given the Canadiens' recent string of performances in which they've been outplayed at certain points in games. "We've been leaning on our goalie too much. I don't think we've been playing really good hockey in front of him," admitted Mitchell. "Today was an intense practice day, so it was good for us." - Following practice, Desharnais talked about his recent struggles on offense. The eight-year NHL veteran has been held without a point over the last nine games. Needless to say, he knows he has to start producing points again in order to remain in the lineup on a consistent basis. "I have to be better. I'm responsible for my own actions. The stats have always spoken for themselves, so if I don't have any points, it will definitely be tough to stay in the lineup," said Desharnais, who has two goals and four points in 13 games so far this season. "I need to roll up my sleeves, work harder and force them to put me out there. If I want to play, I need to do more." - Al Montoya addressed the media on Tuesday morning for the first time since his start in Columbus last Friday night. Over the last few days, the 31-year-old netminder has had an opportunity to refocus and put the 10-0 defeat at Nationwide Arena behind him. "When you sign up for this position, you kind of know. Even as a goaltender, you're the last line of defense. Forward makes a mistake, D-man makes a mistake, once the goalie makes a mistake, everyone sees it. I'm here for that. I'm here for the good. I'm here for the bad. I think it only makes me stronger," shared Montoya, who is eagerly anticipating the opportunity to get back between the pipes soon. "I'm excited. I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to getting another shot at it. It was a tough game. I've moved on from that." - Earlier in the day, it was announced that Les Canadiennes de Montreal would play a regular season game at the Bell Centre, on December 10, against the Calgary Inferno. The matinee game will mark the first time the two teams will meet since facing off against each other in the 2016 Clarkson Cup championship at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa last March. "I think it's quite exciting to be playing at the Bell Centre where the Habs are playing. We've had a partnership with the Canadiens, so being able to be there, play there, I think it's going to be really exciting. It's a dream come true for all of us," said Les Canadiennes captain and two-time Olympic gold-medalist Marie-Philip Poulin. "I think it's a big step towards the growth of women's hockey. We're hoping the fans are going to come out and watch. We're hoping little kids come and watch, too. Maybe they'll dream of playing for Les Canadiennes at the Bell Centre. Why not?" Lines and D pairings at practice: Byron - Galchenyuk - Radulov Andrighetto - Plekanec - Gallagher Pacioretty - Danault/Desharnais -Shaw Carr - Mitchell - Flynn Emelin - Weber Markov - Petry Beaulieu - Pateryn

Les Canadiennes to play at the Bell Centre on December 10
Wed, 09 Nov 2016 10:39:00 EST

PRESS RELEASE MONTREAL – For the first time in the organization’s history, Les Canadiennes de Montreal will play a regular season game at the Bell Centre, on December 10, against the Calgary Inferno. The matinee game will mark the first time the two teams will meet since facing off against each other in the 2016 Clarkson Cup championship at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa last March. Les Canadiennes boast five Olympians in their ranks, including captain Marie-Philip Poulin, Caroline Ouellette, Charline Labonté, Lauriane Rougeau, and Julie Chu. Eight Olympians, including two-time Olympic gold medalist, Meaghan Mikkelson, will suit up for the Inferno. “We’re very excited to be able to host Les Canadiennes for the first time in the home of the Montreal Canadiens,” said Canadiens owner, president and CEO, Geoff Molson. “We look forward to giving fans a chance to see some of the best female hockey players in the world live in our building. This is another example of our organizations working together towards our common goal of growing the game at both the professional and grassroots levels in Quebec.” The Canadiens announced a partnership agreement with Les Canadiennes in September 2015 that includes providing both promotional and financial support to the Montreal-based CWHL franchise. In addition to hosting regular skills clinics throughout the year, the Canadiens also launched the team’s inaugural all-girls hockey camp at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard in August. “The season is a landmark for the CWHL as we celebrate our 10th anniversary,” said CWHL commissioner, Brenda Andress. “We are thrilled to partner with the Montreal Canadiens to bring Les Canadiennes and their heritage celebrations to one of the world’s biggest hockey stages as there is no better place in Quebec to celebrate both the women’s game and the incredible legacy of the Montreal team and its players over the past decade." Puck drop is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on December 10. Tickets will be sold for $15 each and will be available for purchase as of Friday, November 11, at 1 p.m. on About the CWHL The CWHL is the premier, professionally-run women's hockey league in the world. It enables elite female hockey players to pursue their dreams of competing at the highest level possible while enhancing the lives of others through exceptional athleticism, entertainment and motivation. The league is centrally funded, with all participating teams in the CWHL receiving equal access to financial support and given the same opportunities to succeed. The CWHL is a not-for-profit organization, with every dollar going towards building a league that is dedicated to raising the profile of women's hockey, providing a place for the best female players in the world to compete and inspiring the next generation of female hockey heroines.

Coming up huge
Wed, 09 Nov 2016 00:44:00 EST

MONTREAL - Paul Byron made his promotion to the Canadiens' top line count in a very, very big way on Tuesday night. The 27-year-old Ottawa native - who was paired with Alex Galchenyuk and Alexander Radulov - notched his second game-winning tally against the Boston Bruins early on this season, putting home a loose puck with just 62 seconds remaining in regulation time to lift the Canadiens to a 3-2 win at the Bell Centre. With the victory, Michel Therrien's troops became just the second team in franchise history to win their first eight home games of the year, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. "It's a lot of fun [playing with them]. They make the game fun. They're so smart. They get creative. They want to make plays. It's not just chip-and-chase hockey," explained Byron, who now boasts three goals and eight points in 13 games during the 2016-17 campaign. "When you're with them, you've just got to make the most of those opportunities and create some offensive chances." And, that's exactly what Byron did. After picking up the secondary assist on Galchenyuk's fifth goal of the year that put the Canadiens up 2-1 just over five minutes into the middle frame, his relentless work all night long was rewarded with the sixth game-deciding tally of his career - four of which have come since he was claimed off waivers by Montreal in October 2015 from the Calgary Flames. Coming up big in these Original Six matchups is particularly special for the former QMJHL standout given his upbringing in close proximity to his current hockey home. "I grew up with the Habs-Bruins rivalry. My dad was a Bruins fan. My older brother was a Leafs fan. I watched a lot of Saturday night Hockey Night in Canada games. Coming to Montreal, I knew how big this rivalry was," shared Byron, who also boasts the game-winning marker in last season's Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts on his resume. "Playing the Bruins, it's a special game. You've got to relish these opportunities. When you play a team like that, it kind of feels like a playoff game." Galchenyuk, meanwhile, had plenty of good things to say about the way Byron went about his business in helping the Canadiens improve to 11-1-1 to sit atop the NHL standings with 23 points in the bank already. "I think he played a great game. He used his speed well on the forecheck and backcheck. He also created a lot of plays, and I've got to give a lot of credit to him. Obviously, that's a big goal. It was huge," praised Galchenyuk, before expanding upon Byron's blazing speed further. "We all know that even if a guy has a step on him, the second he touches the puck, we all call it on the bench: "That's a breakaway, easy." It's nice. He's been using his speed to his advantage." And, Byron is succeeding because of it, so much so that the Canadiens' No. 41 has steadily become a constant threat to the opposition if left unchecked. Even if his opponents think they might have him contained, though, they might be sorely mistaken and end up paying a serious price for it on the scoreboard as a result. "[My speed is] definitely what I think got me to the NHL. Playing for Bob [Hartley] in Calgary, he always used me in all situations, too. And, coming to Montreal, Michel has given me a lot of opportunities to play up and down the lineup. Any chance I get to play with those guys, I try to make the most of it. I know I'm a complete player, so I can play anywhere in the lineup," concluded Byron, clearly confident in his abilities. "I'm a player who works hard, who skates, who tries to pick up pucks for them. I try to seize opportunities. It worked [against Boston]." Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Numbers Game: Bruins @ Canadiens
Tue, 08 Nov 2016 22:11:00 EST

MONTREAL - Here's a numerical look at Tuesday night's game between the Canadiens and Bruins at the Bell Centre. 18 – Number of major titles World Golf Hall-of-Famer Jack Nicklaus claimed over the course of his illustrious career, tops on the all-time list among male golfers. The now 76-year-old Ohio native, who was in attendance at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night, read out the starting lineup in the Canadiens’ dressing room prior to the game against the Boston Bruins. 14 – Number of saves Carey Price made during the first period alone on Tuesday night as the Bruins pressed for the game’s opening goal. The All-World netminder was stellar early on, though, as per usual, denying Claude Julien’s contingent during a scoreless first period. 4 – Number of power play goals Shea Weber has amassed so far this season, which has him tied for the league lead in that department. Weber lit the lamp with a wicked slap shot from the top of the circle that left Bruins goaltender Zane McIntyre helpless as the Canadiens took the 1-0 lead just under four minutes into the second period. 17 – Spot Tomas Plekanec now occupies on his own on the Canadiens’ all-time playmakers list after picking up the secondary assist on Weber’s power play marker. The 341st helper of Plekanec’s career helped him surpass Dickie Moore in that department as he continues to climb in the Canadiens’ record books. 20 – Number of seconds that elapsed between the time Bruins defenseman Colin Miller tied things up 1-1 at the 4:48 mark of the second period and Alex Galchenyuk responded to put the Canadiens up 2-1 by converting a feed from Alexander Radulov and going upstairs on the backhand on McIntyre at 5:08. 77 – Percentage of the Canadiens’ games so far this season in which Galchenyuk has registered his name on the scoresheet, keeping his strong start going with his fifth goal of the year on Tuesday night. Galchenyuk has only been held without a point in three of 13 games dating back to the season opener on October 13. 8 – Number of shots Jeff Petry managed to block on Tuesday night against the Bruins, setting a new career-high for himself in that department dating back to his NHL debut in 2010-11. He surpassed his previous record of seven. -

Game Day: Bruins @ Canadiens
Tue, 08 Nov 2016 13:56:00 EST

BROSSARD - The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning in preparation for their game against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre. - It will mark the second meeting between the two teams this season. Back on October 22, the Canadiens downed the Bruins 4-2 at TD Garden in Boston. - All players were present and accounted for during the on-ice session, expect for Artturi Lehkonen and Zach Redmond, of course, both of whom are currently sidelined due to injury. - After taking a therapy day on Monday, captain Max Pacioretty was back on the ice skating alongside his teammates. Sven Andrighetto was out there as well following his call-up from the AHL's St. John's IceCaps on Monday afternoon. The Swiss forward will not be uniform, though, against Boston. "I can't control when I get a chance to play, but I'll be ready whenever they need me in the lineup, whether it's in two days or next week. I don't know when, but I'll be ready," said Andrighetto. - Daniel Carr will, however, make his return to the Canadiens' lineup on Tuesday night. The 25-year-old Sherwood Park, AB native, who recently returned to Montreal from a stint with the IceCaps, hasn't played with the big club since the second game of the regular season on October 15 in Ottawa. "I think it's big. I'm excited to get back in there and get back playing," said Carr, who registered two goals and one assist in three outings with head coach Sylvain Lefebvre's contingent. "But, I think it's just play my game, go to the net, go to the hard areas, be hard to play against. Those are things that made me good." The Union College grad says the assignment to St. John's was helpful after he took in six straight games from the press box before joining the Canadiens' AHL affiliate. "I think that was good. Worked the rust off a little bit. I hadn't played in two weeks," admitted Carr, who will be playing his 26th career NHL game on Tuesday night. "It's part of the game. It's never easy. I'm just excited to get back in there." Head coach Michel Therrien has high expectations for Carr this time around. "When you know that a player is on his game, that he's doing well, that he's capable of completing plays and preventing them, that's what we want to see. Maybe we weren't seeing that at the start of the year," said Therrien, who hasn't yet revealed what line Carr would be featured on against Boston, although he was lining up with David Desharnais and Andrew Shaw at the morning skate. "We want him to complete plays, read the game well, and be in good position to prevent plays, too. Those really are the things that we're focusing on." - Meanwhile, it looks like Paul Byron will get a shot at playing on the Canadiens' top line on Tuesday night alongside Alex Galchenyuk and Alexander Radulov. It's a move Therrien is excited about given Byron's skill set. "He's a very reliable guy. I like his speed and his work ethic. He's also good on the forecheck. He has exceptional speed," praised Therrien. "He can play different roles and go up against the best players because of his speed." - The Bruins are coming into Canadiens territory hot right now with four wins in their last five games. Claude Julien's club always presents a formidable challenge with top guns Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak leading the charge, among others. With that in mind, Pacioretty is adamant that good execution will once again prove to be a difference-maker on Tuesday night. "I guess that's the real election for us. Boston is always a fun game and always a great rivalry. We know we have to be, probably a little bit better, maybe make a few more plays," explained Pacioretty, who ranks third on the Canadiens' roster with 27 points in 32 career games against Boston. "I think early in the game, if we're going to make those plays, we have to execute a bit better. I think when we wear teams down with our skating and our forecheck, it makes it easier to make those plays." Pacioretty also expanded upon another key to victory that the Canadiens would surely like to dominate. "I think also that special teams are an important piece to a game like this," mentioned Pacioretty. "We know we have to clean up a few areas on special teams. We worked on it today, so hopefully we come out with some confidence on special teams." - Carey Price will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. Price is looking to remain undefeated on the year. He boasts a 7-0-0 record, 1.58 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage so far this season. - Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet East and RDS, as well as on TSN 690 and 98.5 fm. Probable lineup against Boston: Byron - Galchenyuk - Radulov Pacioretty - Plekanec - Gallagher Carr - Desharnais - Shaw Danault - Mitchell - Flynn Emelin - Weber Markov - Petry Beaulieu - Pateryn Price Montoya

Game Preview: Bruins @ Canadiens
Tue, 08 Nov 2016 10:36:00 EST

BOS (6-5-0) @ MTL (10-1-1) The Canadiens host the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. It’s a second meeting between the two teams this season; the Canadiens won the first 4-2 in Boston on October 22, thanks to a shorthanded goal from Paul Byron in the final frame. Artturi Lehkonen won’t be in uniform on Tuesday, nor for the rest of the week, having been placed on the injured reserve list on Monday. The 21-year-old left Saturday’s game with an upper body injury. Daniel Carr should be back in the lineup in place of the Finnish forward. Max Pacioretty meanwhile should also be in uniform after taking a treatment day at practice to start the week. Carey Price is likely to get the start in goal, and remains perfect this season with a 7-0-0 record. At the other end of the ice, the Habs will face a Bruins team which arrived in Montreal early Tuesday morning, coming off a 4-0 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday. With his eighth goal of the season against the Sabres, David Pastrnak joined Artem Anisimov, Patrick Laine and Sidney Crosby among the league’s top goalscorers. Tuukka Rask made 32 saves for his second shutout of the season, and 32nd of his career. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on SN and RDS.

Sven Andrighetto recalled from the St. John’s IceCaps
Mon, 07 Nov 2016 17:05:00 EST

MONTREAL – The Canadiens recalled forward Sven Andrighetto on Monday afternoon from the St. John’s IceCaps. He’ll be at practice on Tuesday in Brossard. In six AHL games this season, the Canadiens’ third-round selection in 2013 scored five goals and picked up six assists for a total of 11 points. Andrighetto has played 56 career NHL games, registering nine goals and 20 points along the way.

No cause for concern
Mon, 07 Nov 2016 17:00:00 EST

BROSSARD - The Canadiens haven't been playing perfect hockey as of late, but they've still been finding ways to win and picking up valuable points in the standings. Last Friday night's loss in Columbus aside, of course, Michel Therrien's contingent is off to a remarkable 10-1-1 start to begin the year, which has them sitting atop the league, one point clear of the New York Rangers entering Monday night's action. While some victories haven't come as easily as others, like their last three - the 2-1 win over Toronto on October 29, the 3-0 win over Vancouver on November 2, or their most recent win on Saturday night over the Philadelphia Flyers - there really isn't any sense of concern in the Canadiens' locker room right now given what they've managed to accomplish already. "I think it's important for us to be honest with ourselves. There have been times this year when we've certainly won games and maybe we were fortunate to get the result," admitted Brendan Gallagher, referencing the aforementioned wins, in particular, during which the Canadiens were outshot by a 118-69 margin combined. "It's one of those things where we've got to look at our play. We're a pretty confident bunch. We believe in ourselves. We feel good about our group. It's a matter of just continuing to build. I thought last game [against the Flyers] was a step in the right direction. It's something that we can build on. Overall, we felt pretty good about that game. It was a result we were happy to get." On Monday, the Canadiens got back to work at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard to begin preparing for Tuesday night's matchup against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre. The focus at practice was on trying to fine-tune several areas of their game that have let them down in recent outings, particularly on the defensive side of the puck. "It's strictly scoring chances. We have a lot of confidence in both our goalies that those shots from the outside, that they're going to save them. Scoring chances and high-end shots from good players is what's going to kill you, so the biggest thing is just eliminating scoring chances," stressed Nathan Beaulieu, who ranks second on the Canadiens with a plus-9 differential so far this season. "Over the last couple of games, we haven't been ourselves. We haven't been as sharp. I don't think it's something to worry about right now, but our last two [games] before our last game, we really struggled defensively. That's probably part of the reason, but nothing to be too concerned about right now." Getting into penalty trouble - and then paying the price for it - is also something the Canadiens would like to improve upon come Tuesday night. After surrendering four power play goals to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Flyers managed to score twice with the man advantage during the third period on Saturday night to make things close. "Our discipline [needs to improve]. That's something easy to correct. On special teams, we have to tighten up defensively. It starts with a good forecheck, being good in the defensive zone and good positioning. There are some small things to improve. Shots on goal are going to go down, too," said Therrien, whose club currently ranks 20th on the penalty kill, operating at an 80 percent clip. "We're [one of] the most penalized teams in the league, so we give up power play opportunities. But, that doesn't mean that I'm worried." During his post-practice press conference, the Canadiens' bench boss made a point of sharing something that did worry him, though, and it's something that is far bigger than the game of hockey itself. "What's worrying to me is little Simon, who came into the dressing room on Saturday. After watching the game, he had to go to the hospital and get treatment on Sunday and on Monday, too. That's what worries me," shared Therrien, who had young Leucan member Simon Gauvin introduce the starting lineup directly to his team prior to Saturday night's contest in conjunction with the league-wide Hockey Fights Cancer program. "When you lead a hockey team and you have one loss after 12 games, am I worried? No, I'm happy. I'm very, very happy. We found a way to win a game that wasn't easy. We played the night before and the guys made the necessary plays to win. Do we have things to work on? Yes. We're not saying that everything is perfect. There isn't a club in the league that's perfect. There are 29 other clubs in the league who have things to work on. We're just at the beginning of November. But, I think we've had a pretty good start to the season," added Therrien, coming off his 250th career win with the CH. Needless to say, there really isn't any arguing with that. Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Rapid Fire - November 7
Mon, 07 Nov 2016 13:32:00 EST

BROSSARD - After a day off on Sunday, the Canadiens were back at practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday. - Michel Therrien's troops will be back in action on Tuesday night when they play host to the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre. - Artturi Lehkonen did not take part in Monday's on-ice session due to an upper-body injury. The Canadiens announced that the Finnish forward will be placed on injured reserve, and a call-up will be made later on in the day. Lehkonen will be out for at least one week, according to Therrien. - Captain Max Pacioretty, meanwhile, did not skate on Monday either. He was given a therapy day. - With Lehkonen on the sidelines, Daniel Carr skated on two forward lines at practice, rotating between a line with Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher and another one with Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn. Lines and D pairings at practice: Danault - Galchenyuk - Radulov Carr - Plekanec - Gallagher Byron - Desharnais - Shaw Carr - Mitchell - Flynn Emelin - Weber Markov - Petry Beaulieu - Pateryn Price Montoya

Fighting back
Sun, 06 Nov 2016 00:44:00 EDT

MONTREAL -- The Habs didn't need to look far for inspiration on Saturday night; it accompanied them onto the ice to start the game. As part of the NHL's Hockey Fights Cancer program, the Canadiens dedicated Saturday's game to children members of Leucan, inviting six young fans -- Laurent, Alex, Charles, Benjamin, Matis and Kaleb -- to come out of the tunnel with the Habs' starting lineup in time for the anthems. "It put things into perspective, especially with what happened last night. We lost 10-0, and as bad as that is, these kids are fighting a much bigger challenge," underlined Brendan Gallagher, who was part of the starting lineup along with Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty, Alexei Emelin, Shea Weber and Carey Price. "To see these kids with smiles on their faces gave us a boost. It was pretty exciting to have them out there with us. My little guy was just taking it all in and enjoying it -- I made him wave to the crowd a couple of times and he had some fun." Indeed, it was an emotional moment to open what would soon become a high-scoring affair. "If anyone told you they didn't get the chills before the game, they'd be lying," added Greg Pateryn, who nullified the Flyers' only lead of the game with a first-period equalizer. "It's unfortunate what [these kids] have to go through, and it put a little extra spark into us tonight." That spark came early and often, as five different skaters put the puck past Michal Neuvirth, including Andrei Markov, who opened the scoring just 66 seconds into the game. And how's this for a little heart-warming history? In a role usually reserved for coaches or captains, another young Leucan member, Simon, became the first child to reveal the starting six to the players in the dressing room. "It was very emotional to watch Simon announce the starting lineup to the guys. He's a fighter and a winner," shared head coach Michel Therrien, who picked up his 250th win with the Canadiens on Saturday. "He's going to fight through this, and that's kind of the message he had for our players. Every time I meet a young fan like Simon, it gets to me. J.J. [Daigneault] and I spoke about it later, and it wasn't easy for either of us." For a Hab who hasn't had it easy on the ice lately, Tomas Plekanec picked the perfect moment to score his first of the season -- shorthanded no less. "It was a strong moment for all of us," admitted the 34-year-old, whose father passed away from cancer. "It was a boost for us, and I'm happy we gave those kids a win." As for the night's first star, Saturday's win also came with a special dedication. "Our former goaltending coach with the Victoriaville Tigres, Dan Fréchette, passed away a couple of months ago, and he was a really good person," said Phillip Danault, who scored his third goal of the season in the effort. "I played for him tonight."

Numbers Game - Flyers @ Canadiens
Sat, 05 Nov 2016 21:33:00 EDT

MONTREAL -- Here are some of the most interesting facts and figures surrounding Saturday’s game against the Flyers. 60 -- Number of young members of Leucan and their parents who were invited to Saturday’s game by corporate suite holders in support of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative. For the past 35 years, Leucan has dedicated itself to helping cancer-stricken children and their families believe in a brighter future. 66 -- Number of seconds it took Andrei Markov to find the back of the net on Saturday, after the Canadiens were blanked in Columbus on Friday. The goal, scored at 1:06 in the opening frame, was Markov’s first of the season. 3 -- Number of Habs who lit the lamp for the first time this season on Saturday, as Greg Pateryn and Tomas Plekanec joined Markov in that category during the first and third periods, respectively. 39 -- Number of seconds it took Pateryn to score the first-period equalizer after Shayne Gostisbehere gave the Flyers a short-lived 2-1 lead at 8:30. 1 -- Number of games in which Carey Price has allowed a first-period goal this season. It happened for the first time on Saturday, during Price’s seventh start of the campaign. 250 -- Number of wins Michel Therrien has racked up as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, reaching the milestone on Saturday night.

Game Preview: Flyers @ Canadiens
Sat, 05 Nov 2016 10:50:00 EDT

PHI (6-5-1) @ MTL (9-1-1) The Canadiens will look to get back to their winning ways on Saturday night at the Bell Centre. On Friday, the Habs suffered their first regulation loss of the season, dropping a 10-0 decision in Columbus. It was the first time since December 2, 1995 that the Canadiens had allowed 10 goals in a game. Carey Price will be back between the pipes on Saturday for the second game of this weekend’s back-to-back set, as Al Montoya got the start on Friday. In his previous outing, Price shutout the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 on Wednesday. He was also solid in the Habs’ first meeting with the Flyers this season, making 31 saves in a 3-1 win on October 24. Alexander Radulov for his part, scored a goal and picked up two assists in the effort. The Canadiens did not practice on Saturday after arriving in Montreal early in the morning. No lineup changes have been announced against the Flyers as of yet. At the other end of the ice, the Habs face a Philly team which has won three in a row, including come-from-behind wins in its last two. The Flyers, however, have not won in Montreal since April 15, 2013, going 0-3-2 since then. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., and will be broadcast on CITY and TVA Sports.

Not your typical Friday night
Sat, 05 Nov 2016 00:03:00 EDT

COLUMBUS – The Canadiens simply couldn’t generate much of anything on Friday night, and they paid a hefty price for it on the scoreboard as a result. For the first time in nearly 24 years, a Canadiens squad surrendered 10 goals to the opposition in a single game, as Michel Therrien’s troops dropped a 10-0 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. The loss snapped the Canadiens’ winning streak at eight straight games and marked the first time all year that they’d suffered a defeat in regulation time. John Tortorella’s contingent scored three goals in the first period and five goals in the second period, before adding another two goals to their tally in the final frame. Columbus’ top-ranked power play lit the lamp on four occasions, as 16 Blue Jackets players chipped in to register their names on the scoresheet. Al Montoya, meanwhile, surrendered all 10 goals on 40 total shots against. “It’s frustrating. We’ve done a lot of good things lately. It hasn’t been perfect. I think the reason why we’ve won so many games is because we stuck together and played for one another. We left Monty out to dry,” admitted captain Max Pacioretty, visibly dissatisfied with the result in the Canadiens’ 11th outing of the season. “That’s what’s frustrating, because we pride ourselves on being such a close group. To leave our goalie out to dry like that is very frustrating.” Brendan Gallagher shared that sense of frustration in the aftermath of the Canadiens’ second sub-par performance in a row. Back on Wednesday night, though, they found a way to best the Vancouver Canucks despite being outshot by a 2-to-1 margin and giving the puck away repeatedly. This time, however, a comeback from such a serious deficit early on wasn’t going to be erased and ultimately overcome. “I think everyone was ready to compete. I just don’t think we’re playing as smart as we need to be. We’re tough to play against because we make the right decisions with the puck. We fed the transition game right into their hands. We made a lot of mistakes early and everyone in here feels bad for Monty. He’s an unbelievable teammate. No one wanted to leave him out to dry like that. Unfortunately, we did,” admitted Gallagher, before putting Friday night’s loss into perspective given the adversity the Canadiens battled through as a group during the 2015-16 campaign. “I don’t think you’re going to forget one like that. I think we got taught a lesson here. We’ve been talking all year about learning from last years’ experience. This is one of the lessons we went through. I’m fully confident we’re much more mentally tough this year than we were last year, but it’s something that we’ve got to go through. We had it coming here. Last game, we were sloppy. We got away with it. We didn’t on this night,” added Gallagher. For his part, Therrien believes a tough defeat like that was on the horizon given the way his squad had performed as of late. While they might have been piling up wins, the game against Vancouver offered up signs that some fine-tuning was in order. “We saw it coming. Like in baseball, we saw it coming like a big curveball. When you keep doing bad things, eventually you’re going to get burned. We saw it coming with the way we played last game [against Vancouver],” said Therrien, who isn’t at all used to seeing groups of players under his watch being downed like that. “It’s tough. I don’t think I’ve experienced something like this before. There isn’t anything positive to take away from tonight’s game.” That goes without saying, of course. Fortunately, the Canadiens will have the chance to bury the loss come Saturday night when they play host to the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre. To say it’s a game they’d like to absolutely dominate from start to finish would be a very serious understatement. “That’s definitely the outcome that we deserved. But, the good news is that we turn around and play again at home,” said Pacioretty. “It’s tough to shake it off when you get scored on that many times. But, we’ll see what type of group we have when we lace them up [against the Flyers].”

Numbers Game: Canadiens @ Blue Jackets
Fri, 04 Nov 2016 21:30:00 EDT

COLUMBUS – Here's a numerical look at Friday night's game between the Canadiens and Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. 53 - Head coach Michel Therrien celebrated his 53rd birthday on Friday in Columbus by leading his troops against the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. 6 - Number of goals goaltender Al Montoya allowed in his first four outings of the season combined for the Canadiens, before the Blue Jackets found the back of the net on 10 occasions on Friday night to secure their third straight victory. 4 - Number of power play goals the Blue Jackets registered on Friday night, as the league's top-ranked club with the man advantage proved their worth in that particular aspect of the game once again. 5 - The Blue Jackets lit the lamp five times during the second period alone on Friday night, with three of those goals coming on the power play. 6 - Number of times defenseman Alexei Emelin has registered at least three hits in a single game so far this season, as the Canadiens' No. 74 continued to throw his weight around against the Blue Jackets in an effort to get his team going on Friday night. 8,727 - The last time the Canadiens gave up 10 goals in a game before Friday night's loss in Columbus was back on December 13, 1992 - a span of 8,727 days - when they were downed 10-5 by the Rangers in New York. -

Game Day: Canadiens @ Blue Jackets
Fri, 04 Nov 2016 13:25:00 EDT

COLUMBUS - The Canadiens held an optional skate on Friday morning at Nationwide Arena in Columbus in preparation for their tilt against the Blue Jackets at 7 p.m. EST. - Al Montoya will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. That will be the only lineup change from Wednesday night’s 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks when Carey Price posted a 42-save shutout effort at the Bell Centre. The win officially gave the Habs their best start to a season in franchise history through 10 games (collecting 19 out of a possible 20 points). - Forward Daniel Carr and defenseman Joel Hanley, who were called up from the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps earlier in the week, will both be healthy scratches against the Blue Jackets. - Michel Therrien’s troops will be going in search of their ninth consecutive victory on Friday night – and look to remain the NHL’s only undefeated team in regulation time in the process. They’ll be doing so against a Blue Jackets squad that is 4-1-1 in its last six games, outscoring the opposition by a 16-10 margin during that span. - Strong special teams play has been key for John Tortorella’s club early on this season, particularly on the power play. Columbus has converted on 35 percent of its opportunities with the man advantage, which has them sitting atop the league in that department. With that in mind, the Canadiens are well aware that playing a disciplined brand of hockey will be of the utmost importance on Friday night, even if they rank third overall while down a man, operating at a 90 percent efficiency rating in those types of situations. “First of all, [we have to] stay out of the box. Obviously, that helps a lot. We went through a lot of video clips this morning and they do a real good job of getting a lot of pucks to the net, and they have traffic there,” said Brian Flynn. “We’ll have to do a good job on faceoffs [when short-handed] and get it out right away, and try not to let them set up as much as possible.” - While the Canadiens are rolling, it’s safe to say they aren’t taking the Blue Jackets for granted – even if they do rank 11 places below them in the Eastern Conference standings entering Friday night’s action. As solid as Columbus is up front, they’re equally talented on the back end with the likes of Seth Jones, Jack Johnson and Zach Werenski patrolling the blue line. For his part, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has caught fire between the pipes, posting a 1.50 goals-against average and a .954 save percentage in his last six games. “They have a young group of defensemen, but they play really well. They’re very mobile and they move the puck around quickly and get involved a lot offensively,” said Therrien, on the subject of a Blue Jackets club that is surging right now. “Their goaltender has been phenomenal since the start of the year. Tonight will be a real challenge.” Like his bench boss, Phillip Danault fully expects the Blue Jackets to bring everything they’ve got on Friday night in an effort to try to take down the NHL’s top club. “They’re a team that’s really intense, just like all of the other teams in the NHL,” said Danault. “They have really good players and good leaders. I’m expecting a really intense game tonight.” - The contest will be broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, as well as on TSN 690 and 98.5 fm. Probable lineup against Columbus: Radulov-Galchenyuk-Gallagher Pacioretty-Desharnais-Shaw Lehkonen-Plekanec-Byron Danault-Mitchell-Flynn Emelin-Weber Markov-Petry Beaulieu-Pateryn Montoya Price

Game Preview: Canadiens @ Blue Jackets
Fri, 04 Nov 2016 10:44:00 EDT

MTL (9-0-1) @ CBJ (4-3-1) The Canadiens will look to keep their historic start alive on Friday in Columbus. On Wednesday, the Habs set a team record by recording a 19th point in the standings after just 10 games, shutting out the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 at the Bell Centre. Carey Price made 42 saves in the win, his sixth of the season. It will be Price's counterpart Al Montoya between the pipes on Friday however, as the Canadiens get set to play two games in two nights, hosting the Philadelphia Flyers in Montreal on Saturday. In his last start on October 26, Montoya made 26 saves in a 3-2 win against the New York Islanders. Through four games this season, the 31-year-old netminder has put up an impressive 1.47 goals against average and 0.955 save percentage. At the other end of the ice, the Habs will face a Blue Jackets team which has won its last two games, including Tuesday's overtime thriller after tying things up with 16 seconds to go in the third. Captain Nick Foligno leads John Tortorella's men with nine points (2G-7A) in eight games, while Zach Werenski (2B-6A) and Alexander Wennberg (1B-7A) are tied for second with eight points each. Sergei Bobrovsky will make a ninth-straight start in goal for Columbus. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., and will be broadcast on SNE and RDS.

Notebook - November 3
Thu, 03 Nov 2016 14:48:00 EDT

BROSSARD -- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex on Thursday morning before flying to Columbus ahead of Friday's game against the Blue Jackets. Andrew Shaw was the only player absent from the morning skate, although head coach Michel Therrien confirmed following practice that the 25-year-old would be making the trip to Ohio. In Shaw's absence, Daniel Carr -- called up from St. John's along with Joel Hanley on Wednesday night -- completed a line with Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais. WAKE-UP CALL For a team which has now won eight in a row -- and has yet to drop a decision in regulation time -- Wednesday's game against Vancouver still served as a warning of sorts to Therrien's men. "It's nice to arrive in the morning and have the two points there, but we know it's time to get back to work at practice. We have to make sure that when the play is there we make it, and we have to start playing that way against Columbus [on Friday]," underlined Habs captain Max Pacioretty. While you wouldn't know it by the scoreline, the Canadiens surrendered 42 shots to the Canucks -- at one point trailing 24-3 in that category. "We worked on our execution this morning to make sure we're ready to work right from the start of the game tomorrow in Columbus," continued Therrien. "We know the Blue Jackets are a hardworking team, and they have a tough building to win in." DIVIDE AND CONQUER With the Habs playing a second set of back-to-back games in as many weeks beginning Friday, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that he would stick to his winning formula of splitting the work between the pipes. Al Montoya will thus get the start on Friday, his first since last Wednesday in Brooklyn. "I'm focused, because this team is on a roll. Last night wasn't our best game -- Pricer [Carey Price] really bailed us out -- but I'm looking forward to getting back in there and helping this team get a win," underlined the 31-year-old netminder, who has gone 3-0-1 to start the year in Montreal. "For me it starts in practice, that's where I get my confidence. It's been a good week, so I'll take one more day to get ready, then start focusing on this game tomorrow." In his four starts this season, Montoya has registered an impressive 1.47 goals against average and 0.955 save percentage, but isn't dwelling on past successes. "It's all the same. I put it all behind me and then prepare for the next one as if it's my last one. BATTLEGROUND STATE A key battleground state in Tuesday's upcoming American presidential election, Ohio was also the site of an epic battle for baseball's ultimate prize on Wednesday night. In World Series action, the Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in extra innings of Game 7 to end a 108-year championship drought. To put the historic win into perspective, the Habs won 24 Stanley Cups over that same span. "It's fantastic, I mean there's not really much else you can say," continued Montoya -- a Chicago native -- who nevertheless did not confirm whether he would be sporting his Cubs gear in Indians territory, in nearby Columbus. "It's something you get to share with a whole group of people, and the city deserves it." Forward lines and defensive pairings at practice: Radulov-Galchenyuk-Gallagher Pacioretty-Desharnais-Carr Lehkonen-Plekanec-Byron Danault-Mitchell-Flynn Emelin-Weber Markov-Petry Beaulieu-Pateryn Hanley

Got the job done
Thu, 03 Nov 2016 00:48:00 EDT

MONTREAL - The Canadiens made history on Wednesday night, but they certainly didn't do it the easy way. Despite being outshot by a 42-21 margin and coughing up the puck 19 times, Michel Therrien's contingent still found managed to secure a 3-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks at the Bell Centre on the strength of goals by Nathan Beaulieu, Torrey Mitchell and Alexander Radulov - and another remarkable shutout performance by Carey Price, of course. The Canadiens' eighth consecutive win upped their record to league-best 9-0-1 (19 points) on the year, which represents the best start to a regular season in franchise history through 10 games. That surpassed the mark of 18 points that was originally set in 1943-44 and matched last season as well. It also marked the fourth time in franchise history that a Canadiens team went undefeated in regulation time through the first 10 games of the year, a feat that was previously accomplished in 1943-44, 1972-73 and again in 1981-82. Following Wednesday night's win, though, setting a brand new franchise record and matching another was the last thing Therrien's troops were focused on after being completely outplayed through the first half of the game. "We didn't execute and then we found ourselves chasing it. We wanted to make more plays. It's something that we've worked on, but when the opportunity came, we weren't executing well. When we tried to hit the middle, it seemed like pucks were bouncing off sticks and it definitely was far from a perfect game," said captain Max Pacioretty, referencing the Canadiens' struggles to generate much of anything before Beaulieu snapped a 52-game goalless drought at 12:22 of the middle frame, which ultimately proved to be the game-winner. "You take it, you move on and you try to get better. We've been talking for a couple of days now about wanting to get better - and until the end of the game, for the most part, it was a poor effort and very, very poor execution. We have to play much, much better than that," added Pacioretty, clearly disappointed with the Canadiens' overall performance against Vancouver. Without a doubt, the bright spot on Wednesday night was Price's effort between the pipes. The All-World netminder registered the 37th shutout of his career - which also happened to be his 11th straight regular-season victory on Bell Centre ice dating back to April 2, 2015. "Pricey was obviously Pricey, which is awesome. But, we definitely got away with one. We just weren't sharp. It's going to happen over the course of the year," mentioned Beaulieu. "It was definitely a wake-up call. I guess it's the best kind of wake-up call to get. We ended up getting the W. It was a tough game for us. We were good in the third, but other than that, we relied on Carey the whole night." The line of Mitchell, Phillip Danault and Brian Flynn also came up big in the latter stages of the second period to generate a highlight-reel goal that put the Canadiens up 2-0. Mitchell's team-leading fifth tally of the year with 49 seconds remaining in the middle frame gave his squad some breathing room after they admittedly came out flat early on. "That's been our most consistent line since the start of the season," praised Therrien, who watched as all three forwards capped a perfect passing play in style. "They scored a big goal in the second period. They were rewarded for their hard work." Up next for the Canadiens is a date with the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night in Ohio, before returning home to battle the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night at the Bell Centre in their second set of back-to-back games this season. While things continue to click up and down the lineup and both Price and Al Montoya are in fine form in goal, Therrien fully expects his club to come out of the gate a lot stronger than they did on a night when they collectively etched their names in the record books, but failed to play up to their potential. "It's an exceptional accomplishment [to reach that mark], but it wasn't really a subject of conversation with our group, to be honest. The majority of the guys were aware of it, but it wasn't our goal," concluded Therrien. "We're off to a good start, but we have to continue to perform and play solid hockey." Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Numbers Game: Canucks @ Canadiens
Wed, 02 Nov 2016 22:10:00 EDT

MONTREAL - Here's a numerical look at Wednesday night's game between the Canadiens and Canucks at the Bell Centre. 19 – Number of points the Canadiens have amassed through the first 10 games of the regular season with a victory on Wednesday night over the Vancouver Canucks, setting a new franchise mark for the highest point total any Canadiens squad has amassed in team history after 10 outings. Last year, Michel Therrien’s troops collected 18 points through 10 games, matching the mark set in 1943-44. 4 – With a win on Wednesday night, the 2016-17 edition of the Canadiens also became the fourth squad in team history to go undefeated in regulation time through the first 10 games of the season. The feat was previously accomplished by Canadiens teams in 1943-44, 1972-73 and 1981-82. 853 – Number of games centerman Tomas Plekanec has suited up for with the Canadiens, including Wednesday night’s tilt against Vancouver, which moves him into a tie for 16th spot with Hall-of-Famer Jacques Lemaire on the team’s all-time games played list. 52 – Number of consecutive games in which defenseman Nathan Beaulieu was held without a goal before he broke things open with his first goal of the season at the 12:22 mark of the second period on Wednesday night. The Canadiens’ No. 28 had previously lit the lamp on November 20, 2015 in a 5-3 win over the New York Islanders at Barclays Center. 2 – Number of games – out of the 10 the Canadiens have played so far this season – in which Alex Galchenyuk has failed to register his name on the scoresheet, as the American sniper picked up the secondary assist on Beaulieu’s tally on Wednesday night. It was Galchenyuk’s sixth helper of the season. He later added his seventh assist on Alexander Radulov's empty-netter in the third period. 5 – Number of goals Torrey Mitchell has scored since the start of the year, which has him leading the squad in that department. Mitchell completed a remarkable three-way passing play involving Brian Flynn and Phillip Danault before he beat Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller to give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead. 31 – Number of saves Carey Price made through 40 minutes of play on Wednesday night as the Canadiens’ netminder kept his team in the game when Vancouver was dominating in shots in both the first and second frames. 11 – Number of consecutive regular-season home victories Price has posted on Bell Centre ice, including Wednesday night’s win over the Canucks. The last time the All-World netminder failed to earn a victory in Montreal was back on April 2, 2015 in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals. -

Game Day: Canucks @ Canadiens
Wed, 02 Nov 2016 13:37:00 EDT

BROSSARD - The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Wednesday morning in preparation for their game against the Vancouver Canucks at the Bell Centre. - Carey Price will get the start in goal for the Canadiens on Wednesday night, while the Canucks will counter with Ryan Miller. Price boasts a 6-2-2 record in 11 career appearances against Vancouver, along with a 2.47 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. - Michel Therrien's troops will go in search of their eighth straight win and look to remain the only undefeated team in regulation time so far this season. For their part, the Canucks will be trying to snap a five-game winless streak that includes four straight defeats as they begin an extended six-game road swing. With the Canucks' struggles in mind, the Canadiens know full well that their opponents on Wednesday night will be doing everything they possibly can to get back on track at their expense. You'll recall that last October 27 it was head coach Willie Desjardins' contingent that handed the Habs their first loss of the 2015-16 season after they began the year with a perfect 9-0-0 record. That game took place at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, though, and resulted in a 5-1 defeat. "They have the skill and the ability to score goals. Every team goes through those ups and downs, but I think the way you get out of it is to shoot pucks and get pucks to the net and bodies to the net. We have to be prepared for that, to expect that they're going to throw everything at the net and have bodies there," shared Jeff Petry, who will go up against the Canucks for the 24th time in his career. "We'll have to do a good job of clearing out the front of the net and letting [Carey] Price see the puck." Petry says captain Henrik Sedin and his brother, Daniel, in particular, are always cause for concern when going up against the Canucks. They present a constant threat to their opponents on any given night. "You've got to know where they are on the ice. They have the ability to kind of know where each other are with their backs turned. They like to make that play where it's rimmed in and just a little bump pass to the other one in the middle," explained Petry, on the subject of the Sedin twins' offensive prowess on this side of the pond dating back to their respective NHL debuts in 2001-01. "We have to prepared for that and know that they have the ability to find each other. We have to play them tight." - While the Canadiens find themselves sitting atop the NHL standings right now, they aren't about to get complacent or take anything for granted in early November. At Wednesday's morning skate, members of the coaching staff put the players through drills focusing on everything from breakouts to line changes in an effort to keep them sharp heading into the 10th game of the year. "We're not comfortable and we know that there's a lot of work to be done to improve our game and be where we want to be. You see us working on it daily. Today, pre-game skate, working on changes. We're paying attention to all the little details and just trying to make sure we improve every day," said captain Max Pacioretty, acknowledging that there are still areas of the Canadiens' overall game that require some fine-tuning. "We're not perfect. We know that. We've just got to have the right mindset, though, that when something does pop up, that we try and tackle it right away and make sure that it doesn't linger. We didn't like our full 60 minutes against Toronto [last Saturday night]. There were some lapses in areas that we want to improve and we're looking to do so tonight," added Pacioretty, who leads all players on the Canadiens' roster with seven career goals against Vancouver. For his part, Pacioretty is also the Canadiens' top point-getter against the Canucks along with Shea Weber. Both have put up 11 career points versus Vancouver. - Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, as well as on TSN 690 and 98.5 fm. Probable lineup against the Canucks: Radulov - Galchenyuk - Gallagher Pacioretty - Desharnais - Shaw Lehkonen - Plekanec - Byron Danault - Mitchell - Flynn Emelin - Weber Markov - Petry Beaulieu - Pateryn Price Montoya

Game Preview: Canucks @ Canadiens
Wed, 02 Nov 2016 12:02:00 EDT

VAN (4-4-1) @ MTL (8-0-1) Winners of their last seven, the Canadiens will try to make it eight in a row on Wednesday against the visiting Vancouver Canucks. A year ago, Michel Therrien’s men had the opportunity to tie an NHL record after starting the season 9-0-0, but lost to Vancouver 5-1 in game No. 10. This time, a win on Wednesday would give the Canadiens their best start in team history, with 19 out of 20 points to begin the season. Montreal’s new faces, including Alexander Radulov and Shea Weber, will face Vancouver for the first time as Habs. The Canucks arrived in Montreal on Monday to kick off one of their longest road trips of the season, heading to Ottawa, Toronto, Brooklyn, New York, and Detroit next, before returning home. While the Habs have been perfect through five home games so far (5-0-0), the Canucks are winless in their last five (0-4-1). Therrien should not make any changes to his roster on Wednesday. Here are Tuesday’s forward lines and defensive pairings from practice: Radulov - Galchenyuk - Gallagher Pacioretty - Desharnais - Shaw Lehkonen - Plekanec - Byron Danault - Mitchell - Flynn Emelin - Weber Markov - Petry Beaulieu - Pateryn Price Montoya Game time is set for 7:30 p.m., and will be broadcast on Sportsnet and RDS.

Twelve months later
Tue, 01 Nov 2016 15:37:00 EDT

BROSSARD - There are certain games over the course of any given regular season that teams simply can't - and shouldn't - forget. Those who took part in last season's 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on October 27, 2015 still remember it well. After all, it marked the Canadiens' first loss of the year following nine straight victories. Michel Therrien's troops fell just one win shy of becoming the third team in NHL history to begin a season with a perfect 10-0-0 record - a mark shared by the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs and 2006-07 Buffalo Sabres. Fast forward just over 12 months later and the Canadiens find themselves in a similar spot with a tilt against Willie Desjardins' club on the horizon at the Bell Centre. This time around, Therrien's contingent boasts an 8-0-1 record and remains the only undefeated team in the NHL in regulation time. And, just like last year, the two squads are set to clash in the Canadiens' 10th game of the season. Vancouver native Brendan Gallagher says the group likely got caught up in the hype of getting off to such a remarkable start last October, which ultimately proved to be their downfall on that fateful Tuesday night in the Lower Mainland. Now though, things are very different in the Canadiens' locker room, according to Gallagher, especially given the way things played out as the 2015-16 campaign rolled on. "I think we got a little bit ahead of ourselves [last year]. I think last year everyone was saying so many good things about us. I think we started to believe it a little too much. It caught up to us quick," admitted Gallagher, who was limited to just 53 games due to injury last season during a disappointing year in which the Canadiens went on to finish 22nd overall with just 82 points. "Now, we have a good understanding - stay humble, stay with it, and hopefully good things are going to happen. We can't get too far ahead of ourselves. We haven't accomplished anything yet." That's certainly the way David Desharnais sees things, too, with the Canadiens riding a seven-game winning streak heading into Wednesday night's affair on home turf. "Our record right now doesn't even matter. It's one game at a time. We just want to get better every day, every game," shared Desharnais, who, like Gallagher, still recalls dropping that decision in British Columbia last October. "It was our first loss and we didn't want that to happen. But, it happened. We remember. We don't want it to happen again. We want to keep this streak going. We want to play well, too. It was a bad game for us. You just want to play well and hopefully the results are going to be there. But, we don't want that to happen again." The Canucks, meanwhile, find themselves in the midst of a five-game winless streak that includes four straight losses, which undoubtedly makes them a rather hungry group as they begin a six-game road trip on Wednesday night. Ironically, they were also in the midst of a four-game winless streak last season when they managed to right the ship and hand the Canadiens their first defeat of the year in Vancouver. Andrew Shaw wasn't sporting Canadiens colors last October, but he has a good idea of the effort level the Canucks will be bringing to the Bell Centre as they try to get back on track at his new team's expense. "They can be a very dangerous team. They can make plays. They can score goals. We've got to be prepared for that. In the NHL, you can't take any team lightly. They're all professionals. They're all capable of scoring goals. We've got to expect a hard-working Canucks team," insisted Shaw, obviously referencing the firepower of Vancouver snipers Daniel and Henrik Sedin, among others. "You've got a team like that, and they can come in and really surprise you. They can go out and work hard and compete and outwork you in all zones, so we've got to go out there and be at our best as well." That's what the Canadiens' bench boss is expecting from his contingent in their first of three games in a four-night span. Right now, the Canucks are the lowest scoring group in the league with just 16 goals in nine games, so it goes without saying that Therrien is hoping his troops will keep it that way with another stellar effort from start to finish. "We've got to make sure we keep playing tight. We try to create offense with our checking game. It's a counter-attack game. If you check well, you're going to have more chances. That's our philosophy," concluded Therrien, whose club has given up a league-best 13 goals and 1.44 goals-per-game on the season. "We're a fast team. We want to use our quickness to attack. We're not waiting for other teams to make mistakes. We try to provoke mistakes." Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Weber named the NHL’s second star of the month for October
Tue, 01 Nov 2016 13:45:00 EDT

MONTREAL – The accolades keep on coming for Shea Weber. A day after being named the NHL’s second star of the week and earning Molson Cup honors for October, the 31-year-old defenseman was named the league’s second star following the first month of the season. In nine games in October, Weber scored four goals and had 10 points, leading all NHL blue-liners in those categories. Averaging a team-high ice time of 25:59 per game, Weber also currently leads the league with a plus-12 plus/minus differential. This marks the second time Weber has been named one of the NHL’s three stars of a month in his career, after earning similar honors in October 2008.

Rapid Fire - November 1
Tue, 01 Nov 2016 13:26:00 EDT

BROSSARD - The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night at the Bell Centre. - All players were present and accounted for at practice, except for defenseman Zach Redmond who is sidelined with a broken foot. - After being named the Molson Cup winner for the month of October and the NHL's third star of the week, Shea Weber picked up another honour on Tuesday by being named the NHL's second star of the month as well. Weber registered four goals, six assists and a plus-12 differential through the first nine games of the season. - Players will visit donors at the Montreal Canadiens - evenko Blood Drive throughout Tuesday afternoon at the Bell Centre. The event runs until 7 p.m. this evening. - Head coach Michel Therrien will likely feature the same lineup against the Canucks that bested the Toronto Maple Leafs over the weekend in Montreal. At practice, the lines and D pairings remained the same as last game. Lines and D pairings at practice: Radulov - Galchenyuk - Gallagher Pacioretty - Desharnais - Shaw Lehkonen - Plekanec - Byron Danault - Mitchell - Flynn Emelin - Weber Markov - Petry Beaulieu - Pateryn Price Montoya

Not ready just yet
Mon, 31 Oct 2016 17:43:00 EDT

BROSSARD - After making the Canadiens' roster out of training camp, Mikhail Sergachev is headed back to the junior ranks to continue working on his game. On Monday afternoon, general manager Marc Bergevin elected to assign the 18-year-old defenseman to the OHL's Windsor Spitfires where he was a standout last season before being selected ninth overall at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft in Buffalo. During his stay in Montreal, Sergachev suited up for three regular season games, but was held off the scoresheet while averaging 10:26 of ice time per outing and posting a plus-1 differential along the way. The Russian rearguard, who made his last appearance for the Canadiens on October 20 against the Arizona Coyotes at the Bell Centre, says it took some time for news of his returning to Windsor to fully sink in. While disappointed that his tenure with the big club came to an abrupt end, Sergachev respected the decision which was obviously made with his long-term growth in mind. "Obviously, I didn't expect that. I was not happy. But, after that I thought that I just needed to play more hockey. Now, I'm pretty happy about it," said Sergachev, who will make his way back to Canada's southernmost city and be in the Spitfires' lineup on Thursday night at home against the Saginaw Spirit. "I'm going to have a chance to play in the Canada Russia Series and play a lot of minutes in Windsor, too. I'm going to help my team win. I'm just looking forward to it." The reigning OHL Defenseman of the Year insists time spent with the Canadiens afforded him the opportunity to learn lessons aplenty about the NHL game, in general, and what it really takes to make the permanent jump to hockey's highest level. He now has a good understanding of the things he needs to focus on in the weeks and months to come to prepare himself for his next shot with the CH. "I've just got to be quicker, everywhere on the ice. O-zone. D-zone. I've just got to be quicker," stressed Sergachev, acknowledging the noticeable differences that exist between the CHL and NHL ranks. "I thought about it from the first [preseason] game I played against Ottawa. Now, I think the same thing." Bergevin didn't mince words in saying that the Canadiens' prospect simply wasn't prepared to ply his trade in Montreal on an everyday basis. Certain things in Sergachev's game caught his eye over the past couple of weeks that helped him reach that conclusion in conjunction with the feedback from the rest of his staff. "He was nervous in Buffalo [on opening night]. We can see that he's not ready yet. Like I always say, the players make decisions for us. It's not me. It's him. I watched him and he did some nice things, but he's not there yet. I think that you need to wait to hit your full potential at a level to move on to the next one. So, he has to go back to junior," explained Bergevin, before expanding upon his thought process with respect to Sergachev's assignment some more. "I felt that he was going to change his game just to play here, like he was trying to survive just to stay in Montreal. I didn't want that. I wanted him to be the same player he was in Windsor, and that means that he isn't ready," added Bergevin, noting that seeing Sergachev pace himself on the ice, at times, and not showcase a consistent style of play, was a good indicator that his young charge needed some additional fine-tuning in the OHL. The move, said Bergevin, will also provide Sergachev with valuable opportunities to participate in several big-name tournaments, aside from the Canada Russia series in November, of course. He'll likely suit up for Team Russia at the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship in Montreal and Toronto come late December, before taking part in the 2017 Memorial Cup - which is being hosted at the WFCU Centre in Windsor next May. Even if the Nizhnekamsk, Russia native enjoys a productive campaign and collects some hardware, though, Bergevin says he isn't guaranteed a roster spot next October with the likes of Noah Juulsen set to make the jump to the pro ranks in short order. It really is all up to Sergachev and his play. "We see him being at training camp next year, but when I spoke to him [on Monday], I told him that it's not because he started this past year in Montreal that he'll start the next one here, too. It's all based on performance," said Bergevin. "I told him to be the best possible defenseman in Windsor and to play at a level with more pace. He still has the attitude of a junior player, but a good attitude still. He's a good kid. He made good strides with us." With that in mind, Sergachev is leaving Montreal with nothing but positive thoughts and high hopes for another memorable season in the Rose City. "I had a good time here [in Montreal]. Obviously, I talked to guys like [Andrei] Markov and [Shea] Weber because they have good experience in the NHL. It's pretty amazing. Not every 18-year-old kid can talk to Shea Weber and Markov and play games with them and practice with them. I had that chance," concluded Sergachev with a smile, before laying out his objectives with Windsor. "Win a Mem Cup. Win an OHL Cup. Be the best." Sounds good, Mikhail! Go to it. Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Double honors for Shea Weber
Mon, 31 Oct 2016 16:22:00 EDT

Defenseman Shea Weber is the Molson Cup recipient for the month of October (10 points). Forward Alex Galchenyuk was the overall Molson Cup award winner for the 2015-2016 season. Weber was selected as the first star of the game two times (on October 20 versus Arizona and October 26 against the New York Islanders), earned the second star once (on October 24 versus Philadelphia) and was a third star twice (on October 13 in Buffalo and October 29 against Toronto). He finished ahead of teammates Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher. In nine games in October, the 31-year-old defenseman recorded 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists). He led all NHL defensemen in points (tied with B. Burns and R. Suter). Weber led the league with a +12 differential and in game-winning goals with three. He also finished tied for second place in the NHL with three power play goals. In addition, he led the team with 19 blocked shots. Weber was named third star of the week ending October 30 in the NHL, posting 5 points (2 game-winning goals, 3 assists). Shea Weber will be presented with the Molson Cup during a ceremony prior to the game on Wednesday, November 2 against the Vancouver Canucks at the Bell Centre.

Rapid Fire - October 31
Mon, 31 Oct 2016 15:30:00 EDT

BROSSARD - Following a well-deserved day off on Sunday, the Canadiens were back at practice on Monday afternoon at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. - Michel Therrien's troops will be back in action on Wednesday night against the Vancouver Canucks at the Bell Centre. They'll be looking for their eighth straight win. - All players were present and accounted for at practice, except for 18-year-old defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, who was assigned to the OHL's Windsor Spitfires earlier in the day. - Shortly after practice got underway, general manager Marc Bergevin met with members of the media to discuss assigning Sergachev to Windsor. Shortly thereafter, the Russian rearguard spoke to the media as well. "The plan was to keep him [in Montreal for] a month and evaluate after that. He needs to go and play. It's going to be great for him [to play in Windsor]," said Bergevin, who stressed the fact that the Canadiens' 2016 first-round selection needs to work on his quickness over the course of the year. For his part, Sergachev is squarely focused on enjoying another standout season with the Spitfires. "Win a Mem Cup. Win an OHL Cup. Be the best," said Sergachev, referencing his objectives for the 2016-17 campaign. - It was revealed on Monday that defenseman Shea Weber had claimed Molson Cup honours for October. He was also named the NHL's third star of the week as well after lighting the lamp with game-winning markers against the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively. - On Tuesday, the Bell Centre will host the Montreal Canadiens - evenko Blood Drive, presented in collaboration with RDS and in support of Héma-Québec, from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. Players and members of the Montreal Canadiens organization, Montreal Canadiens Alumni, evenko and RDS celebrities will be there to meet the donors and thank them for their generosity. Lines and D pairings at practice: Radulov - Galchenyuk - Gallagher Pacioretty - Desharnais - Shaw Lehkonen - Plekanec - Byron Danault - Mitchell - Flynn Emelin - Weber Markov - Petry Beaulieu - Pateryn

Scary good
Sun, 30 Oct 2016 00:20:00 EDT

MONTREAL -- Once again at Halloween, the Habs have become the scariest team in the NHL. Since 2014, the Canadiens have haunted the rest of the league to a 26-4-2 record during October. And while the club has enjoyed another strong start to the year after wrapping up the month at 8-0-1, the bad news for the other 29 teams is that more frights may be on their way. "I'm feeling pretty good, but I'm not content by any means," shared Carey Price postgame, after being named the night's first star on the heels of a brilliant 37-save effort. "The key to long term success is realizing that there's a lot more work ahead." While Price may rank his 5-0-0 record, 1.40 goals against average, and 0.954 save percentage as 'pretty good', opposing skaters might instead argue that he's already a nightmare to face. Just ask the teammates whose sticks he torments at the practice rink. "It's tough to score on him, even at practice," cracked Alexander Radulov, who nevertheless had no trouble helping solve Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen, picking up assists on both Habs goals, including a beauty to set up new linemate Alex Galchenyuk in the second. "Carey and Al [Montoya] both work really hard at practice, and that's what gets us going. When it's that hard to score at practice, you're ready to face any goaltender in the league." "I knew that he was a great goaltender [before I arrived in Montreal], and it's good that last year is behind him," continued Radulov. "We just have to help him see every shot and make that first stop. It feels good when you have Carey behind you." Indeed, the Russian winger held up his end of the bargain on Saturday, notably filing a solid defensive effort -- including three hits and a blocked shot -- to go along with his two-point night up front. "He gets his body in there and is able to spin off guys to make it tough to get the puck back," explained Shea Weber, who scored the game-winner on the power play at 7:24 in the third. "Obviously he's grown as a player. It's been a long time since we were teammates [in Nashville], so his game's grown and he's gotten better, but he's always had that dynamic ability." Which is why it's no surpise that Radulov is fitting in so well in Montreal. "We always insist that our players play well at both ends of the ice, and he showed good work ethic in that sense to kill their game a bit tonight," continued head coach Michel Therrien. "Does [his defensive play] surprise me? No. It's what we expect from everyone on this team." Those high expectations helped make the night a treat not only for the numerous fans who showed up in costume, but also for Price. "It's always good for a goaltender to rely on instincts and be able to read a shot. I put a lot of faith in my defensemen and the guys at the back door. They rely on me to stop the puck and I rely just as much on them to cut the passes off." The only trick now, when November rolls in next week, will be to prove that it hasn't all been a disguise.

Numbers Game - Maple Leafs @ Canadiens
Sat, 29 Oct 2016 21:42:00 EDT

A numerical look at Saturday night's game against Toronto at the Bell Centre An Original Six match-up is bound to produce some noteworthy figures. Here are some of our favorite from Saturday night. 16 -- Number of players in Canadiens history who have suited up for more games than Tomas Plekanec. The Czech forward tied Mario Tremblay for 17th place in team history with his 852nd career game on Saturday. 1,015 -- Number of days since the Maple Leafs last defeated the Canadiens, dating back to a 5-3 decision on January 18, 2014 in Toronto. 0 -- Number of first-period goals Carey Price has allowed this season. The Habs netminder remained perfect on Saturday, stopping all 11 Toronto shots through the opening 20. 7 -- Number of points Alexander Radulov has racked up in his first nine games with the Habs. The 30-year-old winger added to that total on Saturday, serving up a beauty for Alex Galchenyuk in the second, then assisting on Shea Weber’s power play blast in the third. 18 -- Number of years Andrei Markov had already been on the planet when Leafs sensation Auston Matthews was born. Matthews -- who entered the game tied for the league-lead in scoring -- was in the building on Saturday but held scoreless by the Habs. 2 -- Number of games in which Shea Weber has been held without a point this season, an increasingly rare occurrence for the All-Star defenseman who has now picked up a goal or an assist -- or both -- in seven of his first nine outings.

Game Day: Maple Leafs @ Canadiens
Sat, 29 Oct 2016 13:56:00 EDT

MONTREAL -- As part of Tim Hortons Coaching Day, the Canadiens held a rare game day skate at the Bell Centre on Saturday in preparation for the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. - Although Michel Therrien did not announce any personnel changes against Toronto, there were some new lines on display at practice, with Alexander Radulov notably on the wing opposite Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk, and Max Pacioretty flanking David Desharnais opposite Andrew Shaw. “I liked what we saw from the end of our last game -- not just on the power play, but also during 5-on-5 -- so we’re going to keep it going,” explained head coach Michel Therrien during his pregame presser. For a team that keeps racking up the wins and goals -- leading the league in both categories early on this season -- the tweaks come as nothing more than business as usual. “They’re different players, but it doesn’t change things for me,” underlined Gallagher when asked about adjusting his game to Radulov versus Pacioretty. “I play the same way regardless of where or who I’m playing with. I’m trying to help my linemates out as much as I can, and hopefully as a unit we can have success.” Galchenyuk meanwhile wasn’t shy to share his enthusiasm about hitting the ice with Radulov. “We have a chance to go out there and work together tonight, and we’re excited about it. He’s a fast skater who makes high-end moves at high-end speeds, which makes him dangerous,” dished the 22-year-old center. “He plays with a lot of passion and energy, but so does Gally. We all have that fire in us, so it should be exciting.” - But if new linemates weren’t already enough to get the Habs fired up, then a classic Saturday night matchup against a storied rival will certainly do the trick. “It’ll always be cool. It takes me back to my childhood. I remember coming home -- it would be 4:00 p.m. out west -- and one of these teams would be playing,” recalled Gallagher, who has racked up six goals and four assists in 17 career games against Toronto. “It’s pretty special to be part of it, and I still get excited about it as a player.” While rivalry games are nothing new for longtime Habs like Gallagher, the opposite is true for some of the team’s new additions. After facing the Bruins a week ago, Shea Weber looking forward to his second Original Six matchup in seven days. “It was a good game for us against Boston, and obviously the rivalries are different here than they were in the central division,” acknowledged the Canadiens’ points leader through eight games. “[The Leafs] have got some really talented young players, and they’ve got the ability to score goals in a hurry. They’re exciting to watch, and we’re going to have to make sure we’re on our game to shut them down tonight.” - Carey Price will get the start in goal against Toronto. The 29-year-old netminder is a perfect 4-0-0 this season, and holds a 19-13-1 record opposite the Maple Leafs. - Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., and will be broadcast on CBC, CITY, and TVA Sports. Forward lines and defensive pairings at practice: Radulov-Galchenyuk-Gallagher Pacioretty-Desharnais-Shaw Lehkonen-Plekanec-Byron Danault-Mitchell-Flynn Emelin-Weber Markov-Petry Beaulieu-Pateryn Sergachev Price-Montoya

Game Preview: Maple Leafs @ Canadiens
Sat, 29 Oct 2016 11:03:00 EDT

TOR (2-2-3) @ MTL (7-0-1) The Habs host the Maple Leafs in a classic Saturday night match-up at the Bell Centre on Saturday. On Thursday, Michel Therrien's men came back from a third period deficit to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 and extend their win-streak to six. Alex Galchenyuk, Max Pacioretty, and Torrey Mitchell were the goalscorers in the final frame. Carey Price made 30 saves and will be back in goal against the Leafs on Saturday. The Habs remain the only team in the NHL to stay unbeaten in regulation, earning at least a point in each of their first eight games. Although Therrien did not announce any personnel changes against Toronto, there were some new lines on display during Saturday's morning skate, with Alexander Radulov notably on the wing opposite Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk, and Max Pacioretty flanking David Desharnais opposite Andrew Shaw. At the other end of the ice, the Maple Leafs broke a four-game losing streak on Thursday with a 3-2 win against the Florida Panthers. It was Toronto's first win since their home opener on October 15. Rookie Mitch Marner had three assists in the effort. First overall draft pick Auston Matthews remains tied for first league-wide with six goals, while his 10 points place him second in that category. The Habs won all four of their games against the Maple Leafs in 2015-16.

The Canadiens and evenko join forces to benefit Héma-Québec
Fri, 28 Oct 2016 11:13:00 EDT

PRESS RELEASE MONTREAL (October 28, 2016) – On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, the Bell Centre will host the annual Canadiens–evenko Blood Drive, presented in collaboration with RDS and in support of Héma-Québec. From 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., donors are expected to help Héma-Québec collect much needed units of blood. Throughout the day, members of the Canadiens organization, Montreal Canadiens Alumni, as well as evenko and RDS celebrities will be there to meet the donors and thank them for their generosity. Sun Life Financial will also be on-site during the event to provide awareness and prevention information on diabetes. The Canadiens’ Blood Drive was initiated by Jean Béliveau and Claude Mouton in 1981. Since 1998, the Montreal Canadiens organize their drive in collaboration with Héma-Québec, the supplier of blood in Quebec. According to Héma-Québec, the Canadiens’ Blood Drive is of the utmost importance because it represents over two thirds of the daily blood supply in Quebec. It should be known that to meet Quebecers’ needs, Héma-Québec must collect a minimum of 1,000 donations per day. Over the past 30 years, the Montreal Canadiens’ Blood Drive helped save over 100,000 lives. About Héma-Québec Héma-Québec was created in 1998 to efficiently provide adequate quantities of safe, optimal blood components, substitutes, human tissues and cord blood to meet the needs of all Quebecers; and also provide and develop expertise along with specialized and innovative services and products in the fields of transfusion medicine and human tissue transplantation. Important Reminder to Donors According to NHL security policies, no backpack or bag larger than a briefcase will be allowed inside the Bell Centre and no item can be left at the consignment. Furthermore, anyone who underwent a body search upon entering the Bell Centre will not be permitted to leave and re-enter the building.

Daniel Carr assigned to the St. John’s IceCaps
Fri, 28 Oct 2016 10:03:00 EDT

The Canadiens announced on Friday that Daniel Carr has been assigned to the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League. The 24-year-old forward registered one assist and posted a plus-1 differential through two NHL games this season. Carr has been a healthy scratch for the team’s last six games, having most recently suited up against the Ottawa Senators on October 15. In 25 career NHL games, the Sherwood Park, AB native has racked up six goals and 10 points.

Battling back
Fri, 28 Oct 2016 00:44:00 EDT

MONTREAL - The Canadiens weren't about to let the fatigue of playing back-to-back games keep them from securing their sixth straight win. On Thursday night, Michel Therrien's troops rallied from a 1-0 deficit entering the final frame, scoring three straight goals to post a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre. Alex Galchenyuk, Max Pacioretty and Torrey Mitchell lit the lamp as the Canadiens upped their record to 7-0-1 on the year to remain the only club that has yet to drop a contest in regulation time. By besting the Lightning for a fifth consecutive time, the Canadiens also became the first team in NHL history to win at least seven of their first eight games in three straight seasons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. "We keep on going. We never give up. It might sound cliché, but that's it. We know we can win games, whether we have the lead or not. We have a lot of character players, leaders, and guys with talent on this team. We know that sooner or later, the puck is going to go in," shared Galchenyuk, who notched the game-tying goal on the power play at the 6:12 mark of the third period on a tape-to-tape cross-ice pass from Andrei Markov. "We knew it was going to be tough. We have to play a simple game and put everything on net. It was a big character win for us, especially at home, too." As has been the case all month long, the key to the Canadiens' success continued to be the consistent effort of players up and down the lineup. This time, it was up to every single one of them to dig deep in order to fight back from behind against a Lightning squad with plenty of firepower up front and a solid goaltender of their own in Ben Bishop - and they ultimately met the challenge head on with another all-important offensive outburst when they needed it most. "We've played a lot of hockey, but we haven't really relied on too many individuals to take over. So, I think when we have everyone rolling like this and we have everyone in the game and making a difference, it makes it easier to play back to back and a lot of games at once. It's been great," explained Pacioretty, who registered the game-winner just 4:11 after Galchenyuk got the Bell Centre faithful on their feet with the equalizer. "We've been playing by committee. Everyone's been rolling and I think it made it a lot easier to play back to back because of that." Goaltender Carey Price was certainly in agreement there. The All-World netminder, who improved to 4-0 on the season with a 30-save performance between the pipes, was quick to praise the work his squad did in front of him against a rather formidable lineup. "Whenever we can get four lines rolling, get everybody involved in the game, everybody's got energy, especially on back-to-back games like that. It's a real big difference-maker. Look down the bench and you can throw anybody over the boards. It's just huge for us," mentioned Price. "It was all about the structure that we played. I thought we did a pretty good job of shutting down their top couple of lines. We played pretty well." Thursday night's win is just another step in the right direction for a Canadiens team that sits atop the NHL standings with 15 out of a possible 16 points in the bank thus far this year. Up next is a date with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday in Montreal, which will undoubtedly bring out the best in Therrien's contingent once again as they look to stay the course and keep on winning. "We're proud of the effort and we're happy we got the win and kept rolling," concluded Galchenyuk. "We have a really tough schedule. We have only one day and then another game, so we've got to enjoy this one and focus on the next one." Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Numbers Game: Lightning @ Canadiens
Thu, 27 Oct 2016 22:05:00 EDT

MONTREAL - Here's a numerical look at Thursday night's game between the Canadiens and Lightning at the Bell Centre. 14 - Number of back-to-back sets of games that remain on the Canadiens' regular-season schedule after wrapping up the first of them against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at the Bell Centre. The next time the Canadiens will be playing two games in as many nights will come on Friday, November 4 on the road against Columbus, before returning to Montreal to battle the Philadelphia Flyers the following night. 12:14 - Time expired in the opening period before the Lightning finally managed to generate their first shot on goal of the game, giving Carey Price plenty of time to get settled in on Thursday night. The shot came courtesy of Tampa Bay centerman Alex Killorn. 7 - Number of times defenseman Nathan Beaulieu has dropped the gloves over the course of his career, adding to that tally by fighting Lightning forward Cedric Paquette during the second period on Thursday night. It was Beaulieu's first fight of the year and the second time the two have squared off, having previously gone toe-to-toe on February 9, 2016. 2 – Number of times – through eight outings so far this season – that the Canadiens have surrendered the opening goal of the game. Killorn was the man responsible for making that happen on Thursday night with his tally at the 16:08 mark of the second period. The last time Michel Therrien’s troops surrendered the first goal of a contest this season came back on October 15 against Ottawa. 3 – Number of consecutive games in which the Canadiens have managed to find the back of the net with the man advantage as Alex Galchenyuk lit the lamp on the power play to tie things up 1-1 at the 6:12 mark of the third period. The Canadiens’ No. 27 converted on a perfect tic-tac-toe play that also included Jeff Petry and Andrei Markov. 3 – Number of teams Galchenyuk has scored at least five goals against over the course of his NHL career, adding the Lightning to that list on Thursday night. He’s scored against the Buffalo Sabres on eight occasions, and the Florida Panthers five times, too. 7 - The Canadiens have scored at least two third-period goals in seven of their eight games so far this season, with Galchenyuk, captain Max Pacioretty and Torrey Mitchell lighting the lamp during the final frame on Thursday night. -

Game Preview: Lightning @ Canadiens
Thu, 27 Oct 2016 11:36:00 EDT

TBL (5-1-0) @ MTL (6-0-1) The Canadiens host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday at the Bell Centre. Just three points separate the two teams from the Atlantic Division summit, with the Habs holding a 13-10 edge atop the standings. Michel Therrien’s men will wrap up a first back-to-back set of the season, coming off a 3-2 win against the New York Islanders on Wednesday. Shea Weber scored the game-winner late in the third, in addition to an assist, and has now registered nine points (3G-6A) in his first seven games, with a league-leading plus-12 differential. Phillip Danault and Paul Byron were the other Montreal goalscorers. Between the pipes, Al Montoya stopped 26 shots against his former team to earn his third win of the season. Carey Price will be back in goal against the Lightning. Price has not allowed more than two goals in a game this season. At the other side of the ice, Ben Bishop will get the start for Tampa. Bishop made 40 saves in a 7-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. Steven Stamkos meanwhile enjoyed a four-point night (2G-2A) in the effort. The Lightning captain has tallied five goals so far this season. A season ago, the Habs won all four of their meetings with Tampa. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., and will be broadcast on SN360 and RDS.

Primetime performer
Thu, 27 Oct 2016 00:17:00 EDT

BROOKLYN - There's no denying the impact Shea Weber has had early on this season - at both ends of the rink. It's been nothing short of remarkable. On Wednesday night, Weber continued to be an absolute force on offense, scoring the game-winning goal on the power play with 2:57 remaining in regulation time to lift the Canadiens to their fifth straight victory - a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders at Barclays Center. Weber, who also picked up an assist against the Islanders, compiled his third multi-point effort in the last four games, too, and he now stands as the team's top point-getter with nine points in seven outings so far this season. The Canadiens, meanwhile, upped their record to 6-0-1 and remain the only squad that hasn't suffered a loss in regulation time on the year. "We got our one opportunity and you want to make good on those. Power play should be a difference-maker. Penalty kill should be the same thing. We've got to be able to win team games at times and we were able to do that," said Weber, whose third tally of the season came off a trademark point blast that left Islanders netminder Thomas Greiss completely helpless on the play. "I knew Petey [Jeff Petry] was going to pass it over. It was kind of rolling, so I just wanted to make sure I got good wood on it," added the 12-year NHL veteran. "I think [Travis] Hamonic went down in front of the goalie and it just found a way through." Head coach Michel Therrien was quick to praise the efforts of his new charge, who continues to impress the veteran bench boss every single time he suits up and hits the ice. "He had another big game. He made big plays at the right time. The power play lifted us to the win again for a second straight game. That was a big shot which was really tough to stop," mentioned Therrien, before expanding upon Weber's remarkable work since the start of the season. "You look at the way he plays and he's such a tough player to play against, in front of the net and in the corners. He has a good stick. Yes, the fact that he's able to pick up points like that is impressive, but his defensive play is the most important thing for us." That being said, it's certainly a luxury to have a three-time 50-point-getter of Weber's calibre finding his offensive groove so quickly in October. After an 11-year stint in Nashville playing in the Western Conference, it seems like the newly-minted Canadiens No. 6 is picking up right where he left off in Tennessee and being as clutch as ever on the back end. Even so, the 31-year-old Sicamous, BC native remains wholeheartedly humble when it comes to discussing his personal accomplishments, preferring instead to focus on the Canadiens' group effort. "We've just got to win games, so it doesn't matter if that's blocking a big shot to win the game or scoring a goal. It's got to be a consistent effort from everyone and doing what it takes every night. Everybody has got to chip in," explained Weber, who says his transition to Montreal has been made a lot easier with everyone being on the same page from the start. "Everybody's doing the right things consistently through the lineup, up and down. It's a team effort." Weber, though, gave a ton of credit to goaltender Al Montoya on Wednesday night for coming up big when the Canadiens needed him most. "We had a slow start, but [Al] Montoya played well for us," shared Weber, on the subject of Montoya's 26-save performance. "He was great in the first. We came on in the last five or six minutes of the period and played better after that. Obviously, he made some big saves at the end of the third period, and then we scored on the power play." Needless to say, Montoya was pleased to see Weber put the Canadiens over the top in dramatic fashion with time running short in the final frame. "Even when he's generous with it, it still hurts," cracked Montoya, referencing Weber's All-World slap shot, something he sees at practice on a daily basis and in pre-game warmups, of course. "I think it was a bit of a knuckle puck [on that shot], so we'll take those all day." Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Numbers Game: Canadiens @ Islanders
Wed, 26 Oct 2016 21:25:00 EDT

BROOKLYN - Here's a numerical look at Wednesday night's Canadiens-Islanders matchup at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. 51 - Number of games Canadiens goaltender Al Montoya played during his two seasons as a member of the New York Islanders between 2010 and 2012. Montoya got the start in goal against his former team on Wednesday night at the Barclays Center 30 - Number of goals Paul Byron has scored over the course of his NHL career after notching the first goal of the game on Wednesday night. Byron reached the mark in his 207th career outing, putting a loose puck past Islanders netminder Thomas Greiss at the 3:10 mark of the second period. 16 - Number of teams against whom Byron has lit the lamp since debuting with the Buffalo Sabres in 2010-11, adding the Islanders to that list with the tally in the middle frame that gave Michel Therrien's troops a 1-0 advantage. It was the Ottawa native's ninth career game against New York. 4 - Number of teams against whom Brendan Gallagher has hit double digits in terms of points, accomplishing that feat against the Islanders on Wednesday night by picking up the primary assist on Byron's second goal of the 2016-17 campaign. Gallagher has also put up 10 points or more against the Toronto Maple Leafs (10 points), Buffalo Sabres (11 points) and the Boston Bruins (18 points). 6 - Number of times - out of seven total games - that Alexei Emelin has dished out at least four hits in a single contest this season, doing just that once again on Wednesday night. 34:42 - Time that expired in Wednesday night's contest before the first penalty of the night was assessed as Canadiens young gun Artturi Lehkonen headed to the box on a high-sticking call at the 14:42 mark of the middle period. Unfortunately, Islanders captain John Tavares found the back of the net on the ensuing power play to tie things up 1-1. 1:42:50 – By giving up the goal to Tavares at 15:17 of the second period on Wednesday night, Montoya saw his shutout streak of 1:42:50 come to a end. That sequence began during the third period on October 15 against the Ottawa Senators and continued three days later when he blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Canadiens’ home opener. -

Rendez-vous CH: Geoff Molson
Wed, 26 Oct 2016 13:13:00 EDT

Canadiens president and CEO Geoff Molson dishes on the team's communication strategy, Quebec-born players and more in an exclusive interview with Marc Denis for HabsTV. +++ MARC DENIS (RDS ANALYST): Geoff Molson, owner and president of the Montreal Canadiens. This summer, this organization went through so many changes: new faces, management. What is the true identity of this team entering the 16-17 season? GEOFF MOLSON (CANADIENS PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER): Yeah, there’s no question that the second half of last year was very disappointing. You could point to several different reasons why it was disappointing, but in general, I think that this year we’ve added more character, we’ve added a lot of leadership, and we’ve also added some goal scoring. It’s also really nice to see two young guys who have made the team with [Mikhail] Sergachev and [Artturi] Lehkonen this year. It’s going to be a stronger team in the dressing room, with a lot more leadership, and some more goal scoring potential, which is fun to see. MD: A few years back, not that long ago, actually, you said that year in and year out, winning the Stanley Cup has to be the main objective of the Montreal Canadiens. Is this where we stand, even though there was a disastrous second half to last season? GM: Every year, that’s the objective. I sort of break it up into moments in a long season, because it is a long season. I think if you’re thinking about the end of the season too early, it can affect you. But if you have a good start, you build on that good start and then you start thinking about making the playoffs and where you’re going to be seeded in the playoffs. Once you do make the playoffs, I think everyone has the same objective, and that’s to win the Stanley Cup. MD: Last season, through the ups and downs, a lot was said about communication – or the lack thereof – within the organization. Trying to hide injuries, lack of transparency. For someone like you who’s very active on social media and who is in tune with the fan base, is this something you wanted to address over the offseason? GM: Communication for the Montreal Canadiens is probably the most important thing that we do, because our fans are so loyal, [and] our fans are following us every day. Our coach communicates after every practice and every game. It is a very important element of our plan in a year, and it’s always disappointing to see moments when it looks like we’re hiding something or we’re not communicating, because we like to communicate. We like to tell our fans what’s going on with our team. However, there are moments when we can’t communicate. Twenty-nine other general managers would agree that when you have a situation with an injury and you’re not sure when the player might – or might not – come back, you want to protect your player first, because that player is going to get back in action and you don’t want people targeting a player. It’s difficult to sit back and see the disappointment that fans had in our communication. I think it’s important for people to realize that sometimes we’re just protecting our players. MD: You just mentioned disappointment in seeing the fans react. You’re obviously very in tune, through your Twitter account especially. Are you the one that handles your own Twitter account? Are you communicating and reading and listening to what the fans are saying on a daily basis? GM: Yeah, I do. Sometimes I wish I didn’t. (laughs) Especially after a difficult period. But I do check it on a very regular basis and I respond myself. It’s important for me to get the perspective of the fans. You actually get to know them better, as well, through Twitter. Often it’s the same people that are talking to me via Twitter. For me, it’s my chance to listen and to get feedback. I think it’s a valuable tool for me. MD: One [piece of] feedback in recent years has been the very small number of Quebec-born players in this organization, which traditionally [has won] Cups with a lot of Francophones and Quebec-born players. [Stefan] Matteau, [Mark] Barberio, [Charles] Hudon were all cut at the end of training camp. Is this a concern for Geoff Molson? GM: [Canadiens general manager] Marc Bergevin’s primary objective from me is to put the best possible team on the ice. When he’s making decisions on who’s going to play, nationality cannot be one of the criteria. It needs to be the best player for the position. We have built an organization through Marc that is Quebec-based employees – so the coaching staff, the general manager, the assistant general manager – we’ve drafted Quebec-born players, we’ve traded for Quebec-born players, and we try our best to have a good representation of Quebec-born players on the team, but at the same time, 29 other teams are also going after the best players available at a given point in time. Even if it is a priority for us to try and have it, another team might want the player that we want and that player might be a Quebec-born player. It remains important for us. It’s disappointing when you have fewer Quebec-born players, but it’s also very difficult to accomplish that goal because there are 29 other teams that want to be the best, as well. MD: Before I let you go, what would be the most important message from Geoff Molson to the Montreal Canadiens’ very loyal – as you mentioned – fan base? GM: I would say to our fans that they’re going to see an exciting team with a lot of character, improved leadership, and a team that can probably score more goals, let’s hope. The most important thing is we should all, fans and myself, be praying for a healthy team, because when our team is healthy it’s a really strong team.

Game Preview: Canadiens @ Islanders
Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:57:00 EDT

MTL (5-0-1) @ NYI (3-3-0) The Canadiens are in Brooklyn to face the New York Islanders on Wednesday night. On Monday opposite Philadelphia, Brendan Gallagher deflected Alexander Radulov’s shot from the point during the third period to propel the Habs a fourth-straight win -- their fifth this season. In the win, Radulov (1G-2A) registered a season-best three points, while Shea Weber tallied a goal and an assist to improve to a team-best seven points on the year. Carey Price made 31 saves against the Flyers, including a number of spectacular ones at the end of the game, earning him the night’s third star. It will be Al Montoya who will get the start in Brooklyn however, as the Canadiens get set to play back-to-back games against the Islanders and Lightning on Wednesday and Thursday. Montoya will face his former team in the Islanders, with whom he played 52 games between 2010 and 2012. He’ll have his work cut out for him in stopping John Tavares and co., who are coming off a 6-3 win against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. The Islanders captain scored twice in the effort, in addition to registering an assist. Aside from between the pipes, Michel Therrien’s lineup should be the same as on Monday, with Greg Pateryn playing in place of Mikhail Sergachev. At the other end of the ice, it's Thomas Greiss who will start in goal for the Isles. Game time is scheduled for 7:00 p.m., and will be broadcast on SN1 and RDS.

Habs make their World Series picks
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 17:48:00 EDT

Maybe it’s the blue-blanc-rouge connection that’s got so many Habs cheering for the Chicago Cubs. More than a couple of Canadiens will be tuned in to Game 1 of the World Series between the Cubs and the Cleveland Indians beginning on Tuesday. Even though the sting of seeing “his” Blue Jays eliminated has not yet healed, Brendan Gallagher will be following the series closely. “I’ll be cheering for the Cubs… and against the Indians,” cracked Gallagher. “They’re two exciting teams to watch, and both have a lot of depth. When one takes the lead, they shut the door and let their relievers do the rest.” The pick is a no-brainer for Andrew Shaw, having spent several years of his NHL career in Chicago. “I went to a dozen Cubs games and met a couple of their players while I was in Chicago. I got to experience their playoff run last year, and they’re hungry for a championship. They’re a young, exciting team,” added the former Blackhawks winger, who hopes to see another trophy return to his former city. The Cubs, you may recall, have not won the World Series since 1908. That’s part of the reason Nathan Beaulieu finds himself pulling for Chicago this October. “It would be nice to see the Cubs win, just because they’ve been waiting so long,” mentioned the Strathroy, ON native, who is otherwise a Blue Jays fan. Speaking of Jays fans, without a horse left in the race, Shea Weber isn’t necessarily rooting for one team or the other; he just wants to see good baseball. “I hope it will be a long series, so that I have a couple more games to watch,” underlined Weber, who unlike Gallagher, has already turned the page on Toronto’s loss. “The Cubs had a good season, but the Indians did, too. Even with all their injuries, they’ve made it this far.” Jeff Petry, who throughout the playoffs had been pulling for whoever was facing the Jays, is free to pick a favorite now that Toronto has been eliminated. “I was cheering for the Indians, just to bother Gally, but now I want to see the Cubs win,” shared Petry, whose father Dan won the World Series with the Detroit Tigers in 1984. With the Cubs such heavy favorites in the Habs dressing room -- Gallagher and Shaw have even predicted the series to be over in six -- are the Canadiens on to something? We’ll find out starting Tuesday night…

Notebook - October 25
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 15:17:00 EDT

BROSSARD -- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex on Tuesday morning before flying to New York ahead of Wednesday’s game against the Islanders. BLACK-AND-BLUE LINERS Shea Weber and Alexei Emelin were paired together again at practice on Tuesday after sharing the blue line against the Flyers the night before. Following a night that saw the pair combine for three points, eight hits, and five blocked shots in the 3-1 win, Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that he liked what he saw from the new defensive duo. “First of all, Shea is playing extremely well. Not only defensively, but offensively as well,” underlined Therrien of the 31-year-old defenseman, who leads the team in points, with seven. “Emelin has been really solid since the beginning of the year, too, and he’s been keeping his game simple. He’s a physical guy and he’s not easy to play against. Because of the way he’s playing, we wanted to give him a shot with Shea. It’s still early in the season, so we’re trying some new experiences, but it was really positive yesterday.” Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the hardest shot in the NHL is complemented so well by one of the hardest hitters in the league. So while the two may be fun to watch, the same can’t be said about facing them. “Guys definitely know when he’s on the ice,” shared Weber of his partner on the backend, whose 27 hits so far this season lead the entire NHL through six games. “He’s able to step up and make big hits. He’s a great hitter and it’s tough to hit like him.” ISLE BE BACK Having been between the pipes during the home opener on October 18 while Carey Price was recovering from the flu, former Islanders netminder Al Montoya is preparing for another memorable start on Wednesday in Brooklyn. “It’ll be a special game. I spent the start of my career in Long Island. It’s a fantastic organization, team, and staff,” said the 31-year-old, whose 31 games with New York in 2011-12 remain a career high. “It’s a special place to me, but now that they’re in Brooklyn I look forward to going there and getting a win.” In three starts with the Habs this season, Montoya has put up an incredible .962 save percentage to go with a 1.30 goals-against average, including one shutout. WAITING GAME Aside from the change in goal, the rest of the lineup in Brooklyn is expected to remain the same from Tuesday’s win over the Flyers. That means Mikhail Sergachev will notably not dress for a third-consecutive game, as the Canadiens continue to call on Greg Pateryn to fill the final spot on the blue line. Counting the stingiest defense in the NHL out of the gates, averaging a paltry 1.50 goals-against per game, the Canadiens see no reason to mess with a winning formula. “We want [Sergachev] to grow as a player,” explained Therrien of the 18-year-old defenseman, who was selected ninth overall at this summer’s NHL Draft. “I can’t say when he’ll be back in the lineup because we’re pleased the six defensemen we have right now.”

Been there before
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 08:30:00 EDT

MONTREAL – If anyone understands what Mikhail Sergachev has been experiencing over the last few weeks, it’s Mathieu Schneider. When he was selected ninth overall this past summer at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, Sergachev couldn’t have imagined that he’d be making his NHL debut in that same building just three short months later. After all, only three other 18-year-old defensemen had previously managed to accomplish that same feat in the 107-year history of the Canadiens. Prior to Sergachev, the last player to do it was a young American hailing from New York who was selected in the third round of the 1987 draft named Mathieu Schneider. And just like Sergachev three decades later, Schneider certainly didn’t expect to get his start in the NHL ranks so quickly. “I had no idea after I got drafted that I would start the following year in the NHL. I went to camp with zero expectations. I was drafted from a Junior team that wasn’t great. I think that worked to my advantage since I got a tremendous amount of ice time in Cornwall,” recalled Schneider, who amassed 36 points in 63 games with the Royals in his first Ontario Hockey League season. “When I got to Montreal, I had a really strong camp and I was able to stay up. It was the point in my career where I thought I had a legitimate chance to be an NHL player. Before then, you’re always kind of guessing.” Having primarily earned that audition because a spot on the blue line opened up when Larry Robinson suffered a polo-related injury that summer, Schneider’s performance at training camp persuaded head coach Jean Perron to give him a real shot to prove what he could do in the big leagues. Though he was only used sporadically by Perron, the fact that he was playing alongside so many big names afforded him the opportunity to learn what it took to have success in the NHL. “I was certainly overwhelmed walking into the locker room. Especially back then, there were guys like Larry Robinson, Bob Gainey – who was the captain – Chris Chelios, Guy Carbonneau. I was watching them the year before on Hockey Night in Canada and I wanted to be like them,” said Schneider, who on October 8, 1987, became the third-youngest player in franchise history to suit up and play for the Canadiens. “One of my favorite stories that I love telling younger players today is about Larry, who was a hero of mine when I was a kid. One time when we were on the ice, we skated for 30 or 40 minutes after practice. When we were done, I started picking up the pucks and he came over to help me. I told him it was a rookie’s job and that I had it covered. He told me, ‘Mathieu, we do everything as a team together here.’ I couldn’t believe it when he said that,” added Schneider. “It was so special. That meant so much to me. Here was this perennial All-Star picking up pucks with me. Those kinds of things stick with you and that becomes ingrained in you. That’s what you end up passing on to the kids who come after you. That’s what made being a Montreal Canadien so special.” Nevertheless, Schneider’s audition lasted just four games – in addition to watching two games from the press box – after Robinson’s sooner-than-expected return and the acquisition of Larry Trader during the first few weeks of the regular season. Following his return to Cornwall, the learning process continued for Schneider in the Junior ranks over the course of two seasons before spending half a season in the American Hockey League with Sherbrooke. When he made it back to the NHL in December 1989 at the age of 20, he was the first one to admit that he felt a lot more comfortable on the ice going up against the top players in the world. “When I look back, 18 is really young, especially for a defenseman. To play in the NHL as an 18-year-old is a huge, huge jump. Forwards can blend in a little easier. They don’t get exposed as quickly. Defensemen tend to mature much later in their careers,” stressed Schneider, who gives plenty of credit to former defense coach Jacques Laperriere for making him a more complete blue-liner, when he was far more offensive-minded at the outset of his career. “I was much more ready that second time around,” added Schneider. “When I got to the NHL, I knew I was an NHL player. For how long was the question.” In the end, Schneider played 1,289 games over the course of his NHL career – including 383 with the Canadiens – while also helping the Habs claim the Stanley Cup in 1993. Between his on ice experience and his current work with the National Hockey League Players’ Association, Schneider is well aware of what Sergachev is going through at the moment. With three NHL games already under his belt, the young Russian rearguard still doesn’t know whether he’ll spend the rest of the season in Montreal or be returned to the Windsor Spitfires. While the only thing Sergachev can control is his play on the ice, Schneider would like to see the rookie D-man remain with the big club a little bit longer. That way, he’ll continue to be exposed to something he won’t find anywhere else: veteran guidance. “I hope that he lasts longer [in Montreal] than I did in my first year. If I could give him one piece of advice, it would be to listen to the veterans, the guys with experience in the room,” concluded Schneider. “Listen to them, watch them, learn from them, and don’t try to do too much. Don’t try to overdo it. That’s a big part of it. That’s what becoming a professional is; it’s about learning from your mistakes and getting better.” Hugo Fontaine is a writer for Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.

He’s Radu-lovin’ it
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 00:13:00 EDT

MONTREAL -- Montreal loves Alexander Radulov, and the feeling is mutual. When the capacity crowd breaks into “Radu! Radu! Radu!” chants twice in a single night -- and that’s before the standing ovation which came for being named the night’s first star -- you get the feeling it’s just the start of something special. “I don’t know how to say it, I got the tickles -- the goosebumps or whatever. It’s a good feeling and it’s nice to get that from the fans,” shared Radulov postgame, on the reception he continues to receive at the Bell Centre three home games into the season. “I’ve enjoyed every day since I’ve arrived in Montreal. The people here are nice and they love hockey. I’ve never seen people follow hockey so closely. It’s great, because I love hockey too.” Though you’re bound to be a fan favorite any time you set up the night’s first two goals before notching one yourself with the empty-netter, Radulov brings more to the table than his elite playmaking abilities. “He brings a lot of enthusiasm. Every day, he comes in and just enjoys playing the game -- he’s an awesome teammate to have,” underlined Carey Price, who picked up his third win in as many starts with a 31-save effort on Monday. “He’s awesome to hang out with, and he just enjoys being here. He brings a lot of positive vibes to the locker room.” “He’s a passionate player and he loves producing. As you can tell he gets happy when he produces -- and that’s good energy,” cracked captain Max Pacioretty, referencing the 30-year-old’s enthusiastic celebration after Brendan Gallagher tipped his shot past Steve Mason in the third to take the lead. “He played great. He’s really strong on the puck, and he got the breaks tonight -- but those are the breaks he’s deserved the past couple of games because he’s been working hard and playing well.” When it comes to working hard however, anything less is non-negotiable for the talented winger. “I try to prepare myself and always give 100%. It wasn’t easy for me to come back to this league, I’ll be honest with you. I really appreciate that the GM gave me a chance, so anything less is not an option,” admitted Radulov, who returned to the NHL this season following a lengthy stint in his native Russia. “I’m 30 years-old. I’m still young, but I didn’t play [in the NHL] for basically eight years. I got nine games with Nashville in [2011-12], but then didn’t play again for four years. The league’s changed and there a lot of new players, so I need to work hard.” As long as he continues to do so, this is one love story that could end up with a fairy tale ending. “It’s not often you get a chance to score a lot of goals, so games like this are fun to play, and even more fun to win.”

Numbers Game: Flyers @ Canadiens
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 21:49:00 EDT

MONTREAL -- Here's a numerical look at the Canadiens' game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night. 450 -- Number of NHL games -- all with Montreal -- Carey Price has under his belt following Monday's action. Third all-time among Canadiens netminders in that category, the 29-year-old remains 101 games back of Patrick Roy's No. 2 spot in team history. 6 -- Number of times the Habs will lace 'em up on a Monday this season. 248 -- Number of days since former Habs winger Dale Weise was last at the Bell Centre, on February 19, against his now-current-team, the Philadelphia Flyers. Weise was in the building on Monday but not in uniform, as he continues to serve a three-game suspension. 2 -- Number of Flyers players who Shea Weber's slapshot took a bounce off before finding the back of the net for Monday's opening goal.Video: PHI@MTL: Weber deflects goal off Schenn's stick 7 -- Number of points Weber has racked up this season, as the Canadiens' No. 6 continues to average over a point per game six games into the season. 1 -- Number of assists Artturi Lehkonen now has to go along with his two goals in his debut NHL season. The 21-year-old picked up his first helper on Weber's tally in the opening frame. 0:04 -- Number of seconds it took Brendan Gallagher to cash in on the man advantage and score the game-winner on the power play with under seven minutes to go in the third. 500 -- Number of consecutive sellout crowds the Canadiens have now played in front of (455 regular season games, 45 playoff games), a streak dating back to 2004.

Game Day: Flyers @ Canadiens
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:00:00 EDT

BROSSARD - After a well-deserved day off on Sunday, the Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday morning in preparation for their tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre. - All players were present and accounted for at the morning skate, including Torrey Mitchell, who took a high stick to the face on Saturday night in Boston on the play that saw him score the Canadiens' fourth goal of the game at the 12:47 mark of the third period. - Following the practice session, Therrien confirmed that the Canadiens would not be featuring any lineup changes on Monday night. That means that Daniel Carr and Mikhail Sergachev will both be healthy scratches against the Flyers. - Carey Price will make his third consecutive start for the Canadiens. He boasts an 11-9-0 record in 21 career outings against the Flyers. Philadelphia, meanwhile, will counter with Steve Mason, who is undefeated in four starts against Montreal. - All eyes were on the Canadiens' power play units at the morning skate on Monday. That's because they made a rather noticeable change to the top unit by adding a fourth forward to the mix in Alexander Radulov, who was quarterbacking things alongside Shea Weber. Captain Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher were the other three forwards out there up front. "We're still getting some goals with the power play, but that's not quite what they [the coaching staff] expect. We still need to be better. It's all about working, too," shared Radulov, on the subject of the switch to try to get the Canadiens' 20th-ranked power play going heading into Monday night's contest against Philadelphia. "We have to work even harder because those four guys [on the opposing team] are going to box out and go hard, and we have to do the same thing. We have to be there, give 200 percent and make it hard for them." While the Canadiens' power play has managed to click just 14.3 percent of the time on the year - lighting the lamp on three of 21 opportunities - Gallagher doesn't believe there's cause for concern at this point in time. He insists that inserting Radulov in the mix has the potential to be a huge help. "It's only five games in. We're not panicking at all. The power play has got to be better if we want to keep having success. It's something we're going to keep working on and talking about. It's just a different look. We'll see if it works. Hopefully, it does," mentioned Gallagher, before expanding upon the Russian sniper's capabilities to help out in this department going forward. "I think when you get a guy like that, with his skill level, he' going to make good things happen out there. He's a hard-working guy. He competes. He battles." Like Gallagher, Therrien is interested to see if the move will pay immediate dividends against a Flyers squad that currently ranks 21st on the penalty kill. "We're going to try that combination. We want to try different things on the power play. This is something that we discussed a lot with Kirk [Muller]," said Therrien. "We've been sharing different things and we have that in our back pocket." The Canadiens' second power play unit was comprised of Tomas Plekanec and David Desharnais rotating at center, with Artturi Lehkonen and Andrew Shaw on the wings. Andrei Markov and Jeff Petry were featured on the back end. - Petry stressed the importance of the Canadiens being as defensively sound as possible against a Flyers lineup that includes the likes of Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds, among others. Interestingly enough, Dave Hakstol's squad ranks third in the NHL in average goals per game (3.80), while the Canadiens sit atop that list, averaging four goals per outing thus far this year. "They have firepower up front and they have guys who can make plays, so our main focus is to take away time and space," explained Petry, knowing full-well what the Flyers' top guns are capable of. "You give those guys space and that's when they can make plays. We have to do that on those top two lines, for sure." That being said, the 28-year-old defenseman believes that if the Canadiens stick to the style of play that has them playing winning hockey through the first five games of the season, they should be in good shape heading into Monday night's game. "I just like our dedication. I think we're playing complete games and I think we're playing a tougher type of hockey," shared Petry. "I think we're just playing more physical in the D zone. We're not giving up much. We're making it tougher for guys to come out in front. Our forwards are doing a good job of getting the puck down low and grinding down on their D. I think that pays off. It might not pay off in the first period, but it definitely wears down the D and pays off in the third." - Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet East and RDS, as well as on TSN 690 and 98.5 fm. Probable lineup against Philadelphia: Pacioretty - Galchenyuk - Gallagher Lehkonen - Plekanec - Radulov Byron - Desharnais - Shaw Danault - Mitchell - Flynn Beaulieu - Weber Markov - Petry Emelin - Pateryn Price Montoya

Game Preview: Flyers @ Canadiens
Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:36:00 EDT

PHI (2-2-1) @ MTL (4-0-1) The Canadiens return home to play host to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday at the Bell Centre. On Saturday, the Habs put up a ninth-straight win at TD Garden since 2012, defeating the Bruins 4-2 on the road. Brendan Gallagher, Phillip Danault, Paul Byron and Torrey Mitchell were the Montreal goalscorers. Carey Price made 19 saves, earning his second win in as many outings this season. Price will be back in goal opposite the Flyers, who are coming off a 6-3 win against the Hurricanes on Saturday -- their first in four games since their season opener. Jakub Voracek notably registered two goals and an assist in the effort. The Czech winger is the Flyers' top point-getter this season, with two goals and five assists. Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien will utilize the same lineup as in Boston, with Greg Pateryn once again replacing Mikhail Sergachev on the blue line. At the other end of the ice, Steve Mason will get the start in goal for the Flyers. Former Hab Dale Weise, meanwhile, will not be in uniform as he serves a three-game suspension for an illegal hit. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on SNE and RDS.

Everything is clicking
Sun, 23 Oct 2016 00:27:00 EDT

BOSTON – When you get scoring up and down your lineup, you typically put yourself in a good position to come away with a win. After Brendan Gallagher broke a scoreless game open with his third goal of the year at the 11:41 mark of the middle frame on Saturday night, it was Phillip Danault, Paul Byron and Torrey Mitchell who chipped in with goals the rest of the way en route to a 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Not only was it the Canadiens' third victory in a row, but also the ninth straight time they'd come out on top in Boston in regular-season play, with their last defeat coming on January 12, 2012. “The three of them were great,” said Gallagher, regarding the effort Danault, Byron and Mitchell put forward on Saturday night. “All year, we’ve been relying on them. We’ve been rolling four lines pretty consistently, and it helps everyone. Everyone’s a little fresher and getting the job done, so it helps.” That has certainly shown up on the scoresheet, with Michel Therrien's troops outscoring their opponents by a 13-4 margin dating back to their 4-0 shutout victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the home opener on October 18. They're also averaging a league-leading four goals per game right now, too, right alongside the high-flying Edmonton Oilers, and 13 different players have put up a number in the goal column already as well. On Saturday night, though, it wasn’t the big guns putting up the bigger goals, which Therrien focused on and praised following the win. “Our support players did some exceptional work tonight,” said Therrien, lauding the work of Byron and Mitchell, in particular, in his postgame press conference. “In my mind, [Paul Byron is] one of the fastest players in the NHL. We got to know him last year and we were really satisfied with his season. He’s a player who’s capable of creating scoring chances and scoring, even on the penalty kill… [Torrey Mitchell is] a warrior. He played good hockey.” Byron’s awesome speed was on full display for his short-handed tally, but Mitchell’s effort to light the lamp behind Bruins netminder Anton Khudobin after taking a high stick to the face from David Krejci was something that really caught his teammates’ attention and turned plenty of heads on the bench. “That was a big, big goal for us,” mentioned Byron, referencing the fact that Mitchell’s unassisted goal with 7:13 remaining in regulation time put the Canadiens up by two goals at a time when the Bruins were pressing for the equalizer. “He took a stick in the face and continued to make the play for the goal. It was a big moment for us. That was the goal of the game.” So, what’s been the Canadiens’ secret to putting the puck in the net with regularity through the first nine days of the regular season? “It’s just important for us to stick to our systems and stick to our structure. Some nights there is only going to be one. Some nights there are going to be five. Just let the game dictate how it’s going to go,” explained Gallagher, who sits tied with Mitchell for the Canadiens’ goal-scoring lead on the year. “It’s important for us not to get overwhelmed [by our success] and keep playing our style of hockey. Right now, it’s going well.” As for the Canadiens’ ongoing dominance in Massachusetts, Gallagher isn’t taking that for granted, either. “It’s a fun place to play. I think everyone gets excited coming into this building. It’s always fun when the fans are on you. It makes for a fun atmosphere,” shared the Canadiens’ No. 11. “We’ve been fortunate to be able to have some success here. It doesn’t mean the next one is going to go that way, so you just continue to play hard. We played a pretty good road game. We got away from it at times, but Pricer [Carey Price] bailed us out and the penalty kill bailed us out. It’s something to build on, for sure.” Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Numbers Game: Canadiens @ Bruins
Sat, 22 Oct 2016 21:30:00 EDT

BOSTON - Here's a numerical look at the Canadiens-Bruins matchup at TD Garden on Saturday night. 1,746 - Number of days that elapsed since the Canadiens last dropped a game against the Bruins in Boston, with their last defeat coming on January 12, 2012 - a 2-1 loss in front of the Boston faithful. 3 - Number of Canadiens players who suited up for their first-ever game against the Boston Bruins on Saturday night at TD Garden, including Greg Pateryn, Phillip Danault and young gun Artturi Lehkonen. All three of Michel Therrien's troops were getting their first taste of an Original Six rivalry that includes an NHL record 735 meetings over the years. 35 - Number of career appearances Carey Price has made against the Bruins, including Saturday night's start in Boston - the most appearances the All-World netminder has made against any other NHL team. Price, meanwhile, has gone up against the Maple Leafs on 33 occasions. They rank second on his list. 32:15 - Number of minutes it took the Bruins to record their 10th shot on goal and reach double digits in that particular category on Saturday night as the Canadiens held their opponents in check defensively in front of Price with a solid effort. 80 - Number of goals Brendan Gallagher has scored over the course of his NHL career, reaching that mark by breaking a scoreless deadlock at the 11:41 mark of the second period on Saturday night. The Canadiens' No. 11 converted a perfect one-time feed from Max Pacioretty that beat Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin on the blocker side. 27 - Number of points Pacioretty has amassed in 32 career outings against the Bruins - the most points he's put up against any team since making his NHL debut in 2008-09. The Canadiens' captain added another point against Boston to his resume with the primary assist on Gallagher's third goal of the season. 5 - Number of consecutive games in which Alex Galchenyuk has factored in on the scoresheet, as the Canadiens' No. 27 extended his point-streak with an assist on Gallagher's second-period marker as well. Galchenyuk has one goal and five points during that span. 17:44 - Mark of the second period on Saturday night when Alexander Radulov picked up his first career assist with the Canadiens, making an outstanding saucer pass to Phillip Danault to send him in on a breakaway. Danault went on to put the Canadiens up 2-0 with his first goal of the season. 5 - Number of short-handed goals Paul Byron has scored over the course of his NHL career, adding to that tally by scoring while the Canadiens were down a man at the 7:32 mark of the third period. Byron's tally gave the Habs a 3-1 advantage at the time. -

Game Day: Canadiens @ Bruins
Sat, 22 Oct 2016 14:00:00 EDT

- The Canadiens skated at TD Garden in Boston on Saturday morning in preparation for their tilt against the Bruins. - All players were present and accounted for during the practice session. Both the Canadiens and Bruins are currently on two-game winning streaks. - Following practice, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed only one lineup change for Saturday night. After sitting out the last two games as a healthy scratch, Greg Pateryn draws back into the lineup on the blue line in place of young gun Mikhail Sergachev. "For us, it was important to bring back Pateryn," said Therrien, on the decision to give the Michigan native his third outing of the 2016-17 campaign. "We have a plan for the kid [Sergachev] on defense. We like the way that he played last game [against Arizona]. He improved, but in the meantime, Pateryn deserves to be in the lineup as well." - For his part, Carey Price will make his second consecutive start for the Canadiens. At the opposite end of the rink, the Bruins will go with goaltender Anton Khudobin as Tuukka Rask is currently listed as day-to-day. - Captain Max Pacioretty has been a member of the Canadiens long enough to know exactly what the team's long-standing rivalry with the Bruins is all about. That being said, the 2016-17 editions of both clubs feature several newcomers who have yet to be involved in an Original Six matchup of this nature. Nevertheless, the Canadiens' No. 67 still believes a game like this one has the potential to be just as intense and entertaining as the contests he's played in against Boston over the years with Montreal. "It's really hard to tell how tonight will play out because there are so many new faces. You look at their side, a guy like David Backes would love to play in a rivalry game like this. You know that on our side we've got Shea [Weber], who's similar [in that regard], so we're interested to see," said Pacioretty, on the subject of the first of four games the two teams will play against one another during the regular season on Saturday night. "Obviously, it hasn't been as physical as of late as it was my first couple of years, but it's always been great hockey. Maybe a little bit of that will come back and play into the rivalry a little bit more, but I know that divisional games on a Saturday night are always going to be fun," added the four-time 30-goal scorer, who has 14 goals and 26 points in 31 career games against Boston. - Nathan Beaulieu says that his partnership with Shea Weber on the Canadiens' back end is getting better and better every single game. They have a solid relationship off the ice, too, according to the 23-year-old Strathroy, ON native, who is already benefitting from the veteran rearguard's arrival this season. "Me and Shea, we spend a lot of time together. We try to get lunch a couple of times a week. Management and staff want me to watch and see how good of a pro he is. Maturity is a big thing in hockey for a young defenseman. He's one of the best guys in the league a young guy could follow," praised Beaulieu. "The message is to soak everything up, watch how he takes care of himself and see how he prepares for games. I'm just trying to pick up as much as I can from him." - Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on City Montreal and TVA Sports, as well as on TSN 690 and 98.5 fm. Probable lineup against Boston: Pacioretty - Galchenyuk - Gallagher Lehkonen - Plekanec - Radulov Byron - Desharnais - Shaw Danault - Mitchell - Flynn Beaulieu - Weber Markov - Petry Emelin - Pateryn Price Montoya

Game Preview: Canadiens @ Bruins
Sat, 22 Oct 2016 10:26:00 EDT

MTL (3-0-1) @ BOS (3-1-0) After two convincing wins on home ice, the Canadiens will try to wrap up their week in style on Saturday night in Boston. On Thursday night, Carey Price returned to active duty and backstopped the Canadiens to a 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Price made 27 saves in his first start since November 25, 2015. Michel Therrien's troops led the Coyotes 4-0 by the time the game was a period-and-a-half old on goals from Alexei Emelin, Torrey Mitchell, Shea Weber and Alex Galchenyuk. For his part, Weber also picked up an assist on the Canadiens' fifth goal of the night by Artturi Lehkonen, and went on to earn first-star honors. On defense, Greg Pateryn draws back into the lineup in place of Mikhail Sergachev. Carey Price will get the start in goal, while Anton Khudobin will be between the pipes for the Bruins The Bruins, meanwhile, have also enjoyed a strong start to the season, having won three of their first four games. Patrice Bergeron scored the game-winner with 1:15 remaining in regulation time in a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night. It marked Bergeron's first outing of the year after missing the first three contests due to injury. Last season, the Canadiens won three of their five meetings against the Bruins.

Notebook - October 21
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 14:20:00 EDT

BROSSARD -- The Canadiens held an optional skate Friday morning at the Bell Sports Complex before flying out to Boston ahead of Saturday’s game against the Bruins. ALEX THE GREAT Five players participated in the optional skate, namely Alex Galchenyuk, Daniel Carr, Mikhail Sergachev, Greg Pateryn, and Al Montoya. That Galchenyuk was at practice on a travel day the morning after an impressive performance is on-brand for the 22-year-old center, who notably dedicated his summer to a rigorous training routine. “I wanted to work on a couple of things and take some shots. It’s still early in the season and I was feeling it. I woke up early and wanted to go on the ice,” explained Galchenyuk matter-of-factly, just over 12 hours after scoring his first of the season. The decision did not come as a surprise to his head coach. “He wants to improve every day. He wants to improve every game, and that’s what we’ve seen from him so far, since the beginning of the year,” acknowledged Michel Therrien during his post-practice presser. And with great work ethic comes great responsibility, as it turns out. “He’s still a young man even though he’s been in the NHL for a few years now. But with the role we’ve given him this year right from the get-go, we trust him and believe he’s ready for the challenge,” underlined Therrien of the Milwaukee, WI native, who has been centering a line with Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher through the first four games of the campaign. “It’s demanding to be a number one centerman at such a young age.” SAME BEGINNING, DIFFERENT ENDING Maturity like Galchenyuk’s, as the Habs tell it, is part of the reason this year’s strong start is different from that of a year ago. Despite having not yet dropped a decision in regulation, the team insists the 3-0-1 debut has little in common with last year’s 9-0-0 start-gone-sour. “I think we’ve only missed one point [in the standings], so we’re a confident group right now. We know there are still some things we can work on, but we’re happy with the start,” said Galchenyuk. “We’ve moved so far on from last year, that as a group we don’t even remember what it was like. We’re focused on what we can do this year. Obviously we were happy with how we started last year at the time, but this year we’re hungrier because we saw what happened. We know we’ve got to keep pushing.” Part of that shift has come from the outside, for a team that has come back with a new look following a busy offseason. “There are six new guys here, including Al Montoya. That’s 30 percent of our team [that has changed], but the thing I like about this group is that we understand it’s still early,” shared Therrien. “When we practice, there’s a purpose -- we want to get better. I like the business mentality of our group, and the chemistry around the team is great. They’re a fun group to work with, and when it’s time to work, we work.” NEW, OLD RIVALS So many new faces in the Habs dressing room also means there will be a number of first-timers partaking in one of the NHL’s most storied rivalries on Saturday. “Any time we play the Bruins, it’s special,” added the Habs bench boss. “Tomorrow, 30 percent of our players will get to experience the rivalry for the first time. We’ll need to be ready, because it will be a good one.” While Therrien has yet to announce his lineup in Boston, one Hab in particular would love to soak in the experience as just the latest part of an already special NHL debut. “Last year I played against London, which was a big rivalry [with Windsor in the OHL]. It was a fast game, but I think this game will be a lot faster, obviously. I’m just looking forward to it,” acknowledged Sergachev, who filed the best game of his young NHL career on Thursday, according to his head coach. “Yesterday, I saw a young player who is beginning to look more comfortable on the ice. He wasn’t playing on his heels. It was his best game so far, and we’ll continue taking things a day at time with him.” REDMOND ON THE MEND One Hab who will definitely not be in the lineup is defenseman Zach Redmond, who it was announced yesterday would be sidelined for six weeks with a broken foot. Therrien shared a brief update on the 28-year-old blue-liner’s status following practice. “He injured himself about a week ago,” confirmed Therrien. “He felt some pain in his foot, but continued to practice. The medical staff decided to take a closer look and found a slight fracture.”

West Coast Connection
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 00:44:00 EDT

MONTREAL -- Two B.C. boys are already looking right back at home on the East Coast. Carey Price showed no signs of rust in his first NHL game since November 25, while Shea Weber's slapper earned him a second standing ovation in as many home games. And the two Team Canada teammates only had praise for each other. "Carey was good as always. He made some key saves at key times. We know what we're going to get with him," underlined the night's first star, who so far is averaging a point per game with Montreal. "He's a great player and a great competitor, and he gives us a chance to win every night." As true as that may be, Weber and four other Habs still chipped in to find the back of the net -- even making it 4-0 at one point -- to help ease Price back into action following an 11-month absence. "He's going to do this enough for us, so we wanted to give him a break," cracked Weber, who blasted home the night's third goal with an absolute bomb which has become his trademark. "He had been off for a little while, and he's just going to get better from here." Joking or not, the gesture did not go unappreciated. "I thought we were skating well and moving the puck, but it's always a bonus to put up a five-spot," acknowledged Price, who made 27 saves in the effort. "It's always good to see your teammates score and have success." "It was awesome [to score five]. It was a great team game," added Weber. "They got some momentum back in the second, but we did a good job to regroup between periods, and played better in the third." For all the talk of goals however, it was actually a punishing check on Tobias Rieder that got fans' and teammates' jaws alike to literally drop. "He's a big man, and he's really good at sizing guys up," continued Price on Weber, who finished the night with three hits. "I'm sure you'll be seeing that all season." But if bone-crushing checks brought lingering health concerns back to anyone's mind, the 29-year-old netminder was quick to nix them postgame. "I felt fine. I wasn't going to go if I didn't feel 100 percent," stressed Price. "It's nice to get back into the routine, and get the feel of the regular season again."

Numbers Game: Coyotes vs. Canadiens
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 22:00:00 EDT

MONTREAL -- Here's a numerical look at the Canadiens' game against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night. 330 -- Number of days since Carey Price last suited up for the Habs in a regular season contest, on November 25 at Madison Square Garden. Price got the green light from the team’s medical staff on Thursday morning to make his first start of the 2016-17 season against the Coyotes. 86 -- Number of games since Alexei Emelin last found the back of the net. Prior to opening the scoring on Thursday night, Emelin’s last tally had come on March 17, 2015 against the Florida Panthers. 3:42 -- Number of minutes it took the Canadiens to quadruple their lead in the second, as Torrey Mitchell, Shea Weber, and Alex Galchenyuk scored consecutive goals at the start of the middle frame. 1 -- Number of Habs whose goal celebrations incorporated a dab, as Galchenyuk pulled off the popular dance move on his way back to fist-bumping at the Canadiens bench. 8 -- Number of career goals Weber has scored against the Coyotes, leading the Habs in that category. The All-Star defenseman added to that tally on Thursday, with his first in a Canadiens uniform. 6 -- Number of Habs who are averaging at least one point per game early into the season -- a group comprised of Galchenyuk, Weber, David Desharnais, Jeff Petry, Max Pacioretty, and Brendan Gallagher. 1 -- Number of times the Canadiens have outshot their opponents this season, achieving the feat for the first time on Thursday night. The Habs had previously been outshot 36-32, 38-24, and 31-24 by the Penguins, Senators, and Sabres respectively to start the season.

Game Day: Canadiens vs. Coyotes
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 14:00:00 EDT

- The Canadiens held an optional skate on Thursday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard in preparation for their tilt against the Arizona Coyotes at the Bell Centre. - Twelve players elected to hit the ice, including goaltenders Carey Price, Al Montoya and Charlie Lindgren, forwards Alex Galchenyuk, Brian Flynn, Daniel Carr, Phillip Danault and Artturi Lehkonen, and defensemen Greg Pateryn, Alexei Emelin, Mikhail Sergachev and Andrei Markov. - Following practice, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Price would get the start in goal on Thursday night after overcoming a severe case of the flu that cost him the first three games of the year. Montoya will serve as Price's backup. For his part, Lindgren has been assigned to the AHL's St. John's IceCaps. "Carey met with team medical staff, with Dr. [David] Mulder, after the morning skate, and together we made the decision that he was ready to come back and play," said Therrien, who will see Price go up against Coyotes netminder Louis Domingue in his first regular-season start since November 25, 2015. "We're really happy about it. I know that he wanted to play and he's feeling good enough to do it. We're really excited." - Meanwhile the Canadiens won't make any additional lineup changes to the group that went up against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the home opener on Tuesday. That means that Mikhail Sergachev will play a second straight game on the back end, while Greg Pateryn and Zach Redmond will both be healthy scratches on D. Daniel Carr will also be a healthy scratch up front. - With respect to Sergachev, the 18-year-old defenseman spent plenty of time working with assistant coach Jean-Jacques Daigneault during Thursday morning's optional skate trying to hone several aspects of his game leading up to his third outing of the young season. "Last game, [Phil] Kessel beat me up the wall, so I've got to put my stick [in the right place] and play the right way. We're talking about D zone coverage and about my stick, because I've got a long stick and I have to use it more. I think I'm getting better every game and every practice, so I'm learning stuff," mentioned the Russian rearguard, who is hoping to see more ice time than the 8:30 he logged against the Penguins. "I've been talking to the coaches about that and I think I'm going to play more. It depends on penalties. I'm not playing on the PK or power play, so it just depends on that and it depends on how well I'm going to play," added Sergachev, who will go in search of his first career NHL point once again on Thursday night. The Canadiens' bench boss says the decision to give Sergachev his second straight start is based on providing him with another opportunity to get accustomed to the quickness of the NHL game. "There aren't a lot of 18-year-olds in the NHL. We're playing against a good team, one that's very talented and very tough to play against because of their speed. So, it's another game in a process for Sergachev. We want to give him as much experience as possible," explained Therrien, whose squad will be tasked with slowing down the likes of Coyotes young guns Max Domi, Anthony Duclair and Laurent Dauphin, among others. Meanwhile, Sergachev's parents, Aleksandr and Liudmila, and his 12-year-old sister, Anna, will once again be in attendance to watch the Canadiens' most recent first-round selection patrol the Canadiens' blue line. According to Sergachev, they certainly enjoyed being in the crowd on opening night. "They liked the atmosphere and everything else. They liked the game because it was their first NHL game and I was playing, so they were pretty happy," said Sergarchev. "They were the ones who put me in hockey, so they were pretty nervous." - Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet 360 and RDS, as well as on TSN 690 and 98.5 fm. Probable lineup against Arizona: Pacioretty - Galchenyuk - Gallagher Lehkonen - Plekanec - Radulov Byron - Desharnais - Shaw Danault - Mitchell - Flynn Beaulieu - Weber Markov - Petry Emelin - Sergachev Price Montoya

Carey Price to start against Arizona
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 11:46:00 EDT

BROSSARD – The wait is finally over. Carey Price will be back between the pipes on Thursday night against the Arizona Coyotes at the Bell Centre. The Canadiens’ starter recently came down with a severe flu that caused him to lose seven to eight pounds, but now he’s ready to return to active duty. It will mark Price’s first regular-season start since November 25, 2015 against the New York Rangers. That’s when he suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee and was forced to miss the remainder of the season. Before watching from the sidelines last year, the Canadiens’ No. 31 was enjoying an outstanding start to the season, posting 10 wins – including two shutouts – in 12 games, along with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage. Head coach Michel Therrien, who admitted on Wednesday that he’s looking forward to seeing the veteran netminder back in goal, would surely like to see him pick up where he left off before falling ill. Three weeks ago, Price helped to pace Team Canada to the World Cup of Hockey title in Toronto.

Game Preview: Canadiens vs. Coyotes
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 10:49:00 EDT

ARI (1-1-0) @ MTL (2-0-1) The Canadiens welcome the Arizona Coyotes to the Bell Centre on Thursday night. On Tuesday, Michel Therrien’s troops posted a convincing 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the home opener. Al Montoya made 36 saves in the win, while David Desharnais scored twice and Max Pacioretty picked up a goal and an assist. Alexander Radulov also scored his first goal in a Canadiens uniform. All players were present and accounted for at practice on Wednesday, including Carey Price, who left the door open to possibly make his return against the Coyotes. Head coach Michel Therrien will confirm his starter following the morning skate based on the health status of the Canadiens’ No. 31. The Canadiens aren’t expected to make any lineup changes. For their part, the Coyotes will go with Louis Domingue between the pipes. It will mark his first start of the year. Mike Smith is out with a lower-body injury. Domingue came on to replace Smith on Tuesday. He gave up three goals on 11 shots in a 7-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators. The Quebec native actually made his first career NHL start in Montreal on February 1, 2015. Alex Goligoski (3a) and Jordan Martinook (2g-1a) lead the Coyotes with three points each. The Canadiens lost both of their matchups with the Coyotes last season.

Feeling better and better
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 15:38:00 EDT

MONTREAL - Carey Price is inching closer and closer to getting back to work. On Wednesday morning, the 29-year-old netminder skated alongside the rest of his teammates for a second straight day as the Canadiens held a rare practice at the Bell Centre in conjunction with having their annual team photo taken at center ice. The four-time All-Star, who has been battling a severe case of the flu that has already forced him to miss the first three games of the regular season, says his health has vastly improved with antibiotics and rest under the supervision of Dr. David Mulder - so much so that he isn't ruling out a possible return to the lineup on Thursday night against the Arizona Coyotes. "I just had a flu. It lasted a little bit longer than I expected, but I feel fine now. I'd like to [play on Thursday night]. I'll see how I feel [on Thursday] and take it from there," said Price, who admits to having lost seven or eight pounds since falling ill. "It's getting close, [though]. I think, like I said, it was day by day. Everybody's probably had the flu before, so you kind of know that it takes a couple of days to get your energy back, especially playing sports." Even though Price was in fine form at practice on Wednesday, head coach Michel Therrien says the Canadiens aren't getting ahead of themselves when it comes to Price's playing status. But, things are headed in the right direction, insisted the veteran bench boss. "He had a really good day. As the days go on, the better he feels. One thing is certain. First thing on Thursday, we're going to re-evaluate the situation," explained Therrien, who is clearly eager to see his starter back between the pipes sooner rather than later. "I can tell you that he's excited to play. I'm also excited to see him play and the fans are, too. Right now, though, this was his first really good day, which is very encouraging." Price's progress certainly isn't lost on his teammates, who, like Therrien, are very much looking forward to welcoming him back into the fold with six games coming up over the next 10 days. "He's our heart and soul, our rock. It was nice to see him back out there," said Nathan Beaulieu, before expanding upon the way in which Price really is a player whose impact extends far beyond the Canadiens' goal crease. "He moves the puck so well. He gets the puck behind the net and he's not just rimming it. He's like a third defenseman for us there, so we just kind of peel off and get open for him. He shuts down breakdowns in D zones, so even if pucks are rimmed offensively, he'll get out of the net and grab them. It's a huge part of our defense. Killing penalties, you can dish it back to him and he'll fire it all the way down. He's such a big presence offensively." That doesn't mean that Al Montoya hasn't turned his fair share of heads in Price's absence, though. The 31-year-old Chicago native has stepped up to the plate and been a dependable soldier time and again in the early going this year, particularly in his 36-save shutout victory performance over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the home opener on Thursday night. Price himself has definitely been impressed by Montoya's body of work so far in a Canadiens uniform. "He's a veteran guy. He's not rattled or shaken by anything. It's nice to have that in our room. He's a really easy guy to get along with and he's playing great hockey. It takes a lot of pressure off of me. It's been great," praised Price, who also had plenty of good things to say about the rest of his teammates, too. "I thought, especially last night, they did a great job. We're playing with a lot more confidence it seems this year. I'm definitely looking forward to getting back in there with the team." When Price does finally get the green light, Therrien confirmed that the plan remains to give him approximately 60 starts over the course of the 2016-17 campaign, give or take a few here and there, of course, depending on the circumstances. Seeing Price return to active duty, however, is the primary focus for now. "When Carey's ready to play, he'll play," concluded Therrien. "It's very simple." Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

An outstanding evening
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 01:35:00 EDT

MONTREAL - There really isn't anything quite like a home opener at the Bell Centre. The atmosphere and the energy in the building are second to none. Period. On Tuesday night, the Canadiens stormed out of the gate following emotional pre-game ceremonies and never looked back in a 4-0 shutout victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mere minutes after former head coach Jacques Demers passed the torch to Max Pacioretty, the Canadiens' captain scored what proved to be the game-winning tally just 23 seconds into the contest, beating goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury with a wrist shot from the faceoff circle that sent the already raucous crowd into a serious frenzy. David Desharnais would go on to score a pair of goals, while Alexander Radulov would also find the back of the net, too, for his first career goal in a Canadiens uniform. Al Montoya, meanwhile, claimed first-star honors for his 36-save performance and first shutout since December 31, 2013 when he was still plying his trade for the Winnipeg Jets. Newcomers like Montoya simply couldn't say enough about just how powerful the pre-game festivities proved to be. "That was awesome. I've been a part of a couple of ceremonies, but that must have been one of the most special ones. This crowd outdid themselves. Hats off to them. It really sparked the team. I think it might have fired up the other team, too," said Montoya, who now boasts a 2-0-1 record, a 1.30 goals-against average and a .962 save percentage in three starts with Montreal. "I had no idea what to expect. To step on the ice, the presentation and everything that goes into that, it just shows you how much tradition goes with the Canadiens. It starts with the people and the fans. Us players just enjoy the rest." One player who certainly enjoyed himself was Radulov, the man responsible for the Canadiens' third goal of the night - a highlight-reel marker that was eventually deemed to be a good goal after the Penguins elected to challenge it on the basis of goaltender interference. It marked the first time Radulov had registered his name on an NHL scoresheet during regular-season play since April 7, 2012 when he was in his second stint with the Nashville Predators before returning to Russia for four seasons. "I never saw something like that [before]. It was really nice," praised Radulov, who did everything in his power to avoid being overwhelmed by the incredible reception he received, tough as it may have been to put it out of his mind. "I tried to not like pay attention to it, though. I tried to focus on the game. The opening game is important to all the fans. They were missing hockey all summer. It's nice to start it here at home. "It's a good feeling. It's a nice feeling," added the Canadiens' No. 47, referencing the crowd reaction on his third-period goal. "I'm just going to keep working hard and doing everything to make sure my partners are going to be better, and I'll try to make them better so we can try to win every game we play. That's our goal." Big victory aside, everyone in the Canadiens' locker room had something to say about Senator Demers' presence on Tuesday night, including head coach Michel Therrien. The 72-year-old, who suffered a stroke back in April, was given a warm and heartfelt greeting by all those in attendance. "Once again, the organization demonstrated a lot of class. The opening ceremonies were really special for me," said Therrien, before expanding upon his relationship with the long-time NHL bench boss. "Jacques Demers isn't just a personal friend, but also a person I have great respect for - for his career and the man that he is. It was fun to see him and it was very emotional when I went to get him [to bring him towards the ice]." That really did set the tone for a remarkable evening that everyone involved won't soon forget. Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Numbers Game: Canadiens vs. Penguins
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 22:38:00 EDT

MONTREAL - Here's a numerical look at the Canadiens' home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. 10 - Number of Canadiens players who experienced a regular-season home opener at the Bell Centre for the very first time on Tuesday night, including Shea Weber, Mikhail Sergachev, Phillip Danault, Alexander Radulov, Artturi Lehkonen, Andrew Shaw, Al Montoya and Charlie Lindgren. For their part, Zach Redmond and Daniel Carr were also experiencing it for the first time, but weren't in uniform. 23 - Number of seconds that elapsed in the opening period on Tuesday night before Max Pacioretty found the back of the net, beating Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury with a snap shot to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead. 2 - According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the number of seconds Pacioretty shaved off the previous mark for the fastest goal in a Canadiens' home opener, which came courtesy of Bobby Rousseau who lit the lamp 25 seconds into the first game of the year on home turf during the 1964-65 campaign. 100 - Number of points Jeff Petry has amassed over the course of his NHL career, accomplishing that feat by picking up the lone assist on Pacioretty's first goal of the season. 7,664 - Number of kilometers Mikhail Sergachev's parents Aleksandr and Liudmila, and his 12-year-old sister, Anna, travelled to attend the Canadiens' home opener on Tuesday night, making the long trek from Nizhnekamsk, Russia to Montreal for the occasion. 17 - Number of shots the Penguins fired on Canadiens goaltender Al Montoya during the opening 20 minutes of play on Tuesday night, which is just under half the total number of shots (38) he faced in his previous outing in Ottawa over the weekend. That contest was ultimately decided in a shootout. 13 – Number of points David Desharnais has amassed in 22 career outings against the Penguins after scoring the Canadiens’ second goal on Tuesday night courtesy of a perfect backhand feed from Pacioretty, before lighting the lamp again in the final frame on another tape-to-tape feed from Jeff Petry to give Michel Therrien's troops a 4-0 advantage. The goals were Desharnais' first and second of the season. 5 - On Tuesday night, the referees dished out five penalties in a span of 2:27 to start the third period. One after another, Justin Schultz, Eric Fehr, Shea Weber, Max Pacioretty and Kristopher Letang were all called for minor infractions. April 7, 2012 - Before scoring the Canadiens' third goal of the night, the last time Alexander Radulov factored in on the scoresheet during the NHL's regular season was back on April 7, 2012 as a member of the Nashville Predators. The Russian forward picked up an assist in a 6-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche before returning home the following year and plying his trade in the KHL for the next four seasons.

Game Day: Canadiens vs. Penguins
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 13:49:00 EDT

- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning in preparation for their home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Bell Centre. - While still recovering from a severe case of the flu, goaltender Carey Price hit the ice for a second straight day on Tuesday, taking part in the morning skate along with the rest of his teammates. Price will not be in uniform against Pittsburgh, though. Al Montoya will make his third consecutive start, while Charlie Lindgren will serve as his backup. Marc-Andre Fleury will get the start for the Penguins. - The Canadiens will insert Brian Flynn into the lineup against Pittsburgh, opting to make Daniel Carr a healthy scratch. Flynn skated on a line with Phillip Danault and Torrey Mitchell on Tuesday morning. "In Flynn's case, he's a player we can use at different positions. He's good on faceoffs and he's capable of killing penalties," said head coach Michel Therrien. "He had a good camp. I want to take advantage of this opportunity to put him in the lineup. He can bring some things that we've been missing, especially in the faceoff department." Therrien says the decision to make Carr the odd man out against Pittsburgh was based on his lack of output up front. "When you have to bring someone in, obviously you have to take someone out. Regarding Carr, we think he could bring a little bit more offensively," explained Therrien. "He didn't have any scoring chances in the first two games. He's a young man. He's establishing himself in the NHL. It's a process and we're getting there." - Greg Pateryn and Zach Redmond will be healthy scratches on the back end, while Mikhail Sergachev draws back into the lineup. The 18-year-old defenseman will be playing in front of his parents, Aleksandr and Liudmila, and his 12-year-old sister, Anna, who all made the long trek to Montreal from his hometown of Nizhnekamsk, located 1,100 kilometers east of Moscow. - There was a real sense of excitement and anticipation in the Canadiens' locker room on Tuesday morning with the first game of the regular season on home turf just hours away. Canadiens veterans and newcomers alike have been looking forward to taking part in the pre-game ceremonies at the Bell Centre for a while now, and they'll finally get their chance to do just that against Pittsburgh. "It's easy to say it's special to wear this jersey, but until you've put on this jersey and seen the opening ceremony, I don't think you know what it's like," said captain Max Pacioretty, who clearly has a deep sense of appreciation for the festivities in Montreal on opening night. Alexander Radulov will quickly learn exactly "what it's like" when long-time public address announcer Michel Lacroix calls his name and he skates out to what will surely be a raucous applause. It goes without saying that the Russian forward has had October 18 circled on his calendar for quite some time. "I was waiting for it. It's always nice to start at home. I know it's going to be a full building and the fans are going to go crazy and cheer for us," shared Radulov, who would love to make the evening all the more memorable by capping it with the Canadiens' second win of the season. "We have to make sure to be ready. We're playing against the Stanley Cup champions and they're a good team. We know that. We have to give our best tonight and just be prepared to work hard. If we do that, hopefully we're going to win." Like Radulov, local product Phillip Danault will be experiencing opening night at the Bell Centre for the very first time. "I take a lot of pride in being a part of [opening night]. I dreamed about this moment. I'm proud to be here," said Danault, a Victoriaville native, with a huge smile. "My family is the team right here. I'm definitely experiencing it with family, for sure. My parents will be there. I'm close with my family here, so it will be nice to experience it with them." - Even though the Penguins are still deprived of captain Sidney Crosby's services due to injury, the Canadiens are well-aware of the firepower their opponents bring to the table every time out. Radulov did a good job of summarizing the talented group of veterans in the Penguins' arsenal who can pick up the slack in Crosby's absence on Tuesday night. "Obviously, Crosby is the best player in the world. There's no doubt. He's not playing, but they have a bunch of guys who can play that role in [Evgeni] Malkin, [Phil] Kessel and [Chris] Kunitz. All of those guys have been in the league for a while. They won last year and they know how it works," mentioned Radulov. "I don't think it's going to be a problem for them, but we have to focus on our game first and don't even think about who's going to play for them." - Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet 360 and TVA Sports, as well as on TSN 690 and 98.5 fm. Probable lineup against Pittsburgh: Pacioretty - Galchenyuk - Gallagher Lehkonen - Plekanec - Radulov Byron - Desharnais - Shaw Danault - Mitchell - Flynn Beaulieu - Weber Markov - Petry Emelin - Sergachev Montoya Lindgren

Game Preview: Canadiens vs. Penguins
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 10:00:00 EDT

MTL (1-0-1) vs. PIT (2-0-1) The Canadiens open their 2016-17 home season against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. Saturday, the Habs fell 4-3 in a shootout to the Ottawa Senators, despite coming back from a 2-0 deficit to take the lead in the third. Jeff Petry scored two goals and Al Montoya made 35 saves in the loss. The American netminder will be back in goal for the Habs while Carey Price continues to recover from the flu. Like Montoya, Alexander Radulov, Andrew Shaw, Artturi Lehkonen, Shea Weber and Mikhail Sergachev will all be playing a first regular season game in their new Habs uniforms at the Bell Centre. After sitting out Saturday's game in Ottawa, Sergachev will be back in the lineup alongside Alexei Emelin, in place of Greg Pateryn. Brian Flynn draws into the lineup as well in place of Daniel Carr. The visitors meanwhile, are coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday in Pittsburgh. Matt Cullken (1G-1A) picked up two points in the loss. Marc-Andre Fleury will get the start in goal for the Penguins. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., and will be broadcast on SN360 and TVA Sports.

One he'll definitely remember
Mon, 17 Oct 2016 16:44:00 EDT

BROSSARD - Mikhail Sergachev will be privy to a very unique and special experience on Tuesday night. After being a healthy scratch against Ottawa over the weekend, the 18-year-old Russian defenseman draws back into the lineup for the Canadiens' home-opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins where he'll be introduced to the Bell Centre faithful during the pre-game ceremonies, along with the rest of his teammates. He'll also be donning Canadiens colors in front of his parents, Aleksandr and Liudmila, and his 12-year-old sister, Anna, who all made the long trek to Montreal from Sergachev's hometown of Nizhnekamsk, located 1,100 kilometers east of Moscow. According to Sergachev, it's been about six months since his family last saw him play in person. That was during his rookie year with the OHL's Windsor Spitfires last season. "It's the best moment of my life and of their lives, too," shared Sergachev, who will likely be patrolling the Canadiens' blue line with Alexei Emelin on Tuesday night against the reigning Stanley Cup champions. "They put me in hockey. I'm their son and they're so proud of me. This is special." Sergachev enters the second game of his NHL career having watched the Canadiens' most recent outing from the press box, which he believes did him some good following a somewhat shaky outing in Buffalo last Thursday. It gave him the opportunity to examine some of the intricacies of his position from afar and put him in the proper frame of mind for his upcoming start. "That was a good experience for me, actually, because I've learned so many things. I've been sitting with the coaches and they've been telling me about some mistakes from our team and from Ottawa," mentioned Sergachev, who will play in favor of Greg Pateryn against the Penguins. "I just learned how to move the puck quickly and where to pass, so just pretty simple stuff." In his post-practice press conference on Monday, head coach Michel Therrien said the timing was right to put Sergachev back out there following a one-game absence. It will be another chance for the Canadiens' No. 22 to acclimate himself to the speed of the NHL game - which should be particularly high against the likes of the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin, among others. "We took a step back, but we don't want to take too big of a step back with him, either. That's one of the reasons why we're putting him back in the lineup," said Therrien, on the subject of getting Sergachev back to work quickly. "He needs to get used to the tempo of the NHL. We're playing against the Stanley Cup champions, so the tempo will be very fast. It's a challenge, not only for him, but for our entire team." That challenge is something Sergachev is excited about. Slowing down a player of Malkin's calibre certainly won't be easy, but the Canadiens' first-round selection in 2016 - ninth overall - can't wait to give it his best shot. "I'm just expecting a good game from our team. I don't actually care what Pittsburgh is going to bring to the table. We're just going to play our game and we're going to have fun at the Bell Centre, for sure, because it's going to be packed," shared Sergachev, who recently became the youngest defenseman to ever suit up for the CH at 18 years and 110 days old - and the fourth youngest player in franchise history. "It's going to be an unbelievable ceremony before the game, so I'm just looking forward to it." As is Therrien, who has high hopes for his young charge as he grows more and more comfortable with his tasks at hockey's highest level. "This is a great story. The kid is 18 and he's going to play his first game at the Bell Centre on opening night. I'm glad his parents are able to come and see him play," concluded Therrien. "It's going to be a special night for him." Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Update on Carey Price
Mon, 17 Oct 2016 14:00:00 EDT

BROSSARD - Carey Price, who has already missed the first two games of the season with a severe flu virus, hit the ice with goaltending coach Stephane Waite for a brief workout at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday. It marked the first time that the four-time All-Star had skated since feeling ill. Price remained on the ice for approximately 30 minutes with Waite, before heading for the dressing room prior to the start of the formal practice session. In his post-practice press conference, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Price wouldn't be available for Tuesday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins as he continues his recovery. In his absence, Al Montoya will make his third consecutive start between the pipes, while Charlie Lindgren will serve as his backup. "It's only the first step [with Carey skating with Stephane Waite]. Yesterday [Sunday], he started to feel a little bit better. He came in and did a little workout in the gym. Today were his first steps on the ice. For sure, he's not 100 percent," said Therrien, on the subject of Price's health status. "With that kind of virus, it's not only 24 hours and then you feel great. It takes time. We'll see tomorrow. He's day-to-day." The Canadiens' bench boss indicated that the team isn't rushing Price back until he is fully healthy, noting that the veteran netminder has lost some weight as a result of the virus. He indicated that Price's recovery is progressing, though, and he's taking the necessary steps to get back to work soon. "He's going to play when he's going to be 100 percent - his energy level, his weight, everything. You're playing in the NHL, you're facing great hockey players and you need to be on top of your game, otherwise you can't play," explained Therrien. "We hope that he's going to get better every day and we'll go from there." Other news and notes from practice: - Defenseman Mikhail Sergachev draws back into the lineup on Tuesday night, while Greg Pateryn will be a healthy scratch. Sergachev, who was paired with Alexei Emelin at practice, will be playing in front of his parents and sister at the Bell Centre. They are making the trip from Russia and will arrive in Montreal on Monday afternoon. Lines and D pairings at practice: Pacioretty - Galchenyuk - Gallagher Lehkonen - Plekanec - Radulov Carr - Desharnais - Shaw Byron - Mitchell - Danault Beaulieu - Weber Markov - Petry Emelin - Sergachev Pateryn - Redmond Montoya Lindgren

Welcome back, Jeff
Sun, 16 Oct 2016 00:29:00 EDT

OTTAWA – Jeff Petry certainly made his presence felt in his return to active duty on Saturday night. After missing the season-opener with a lower-body injury sustained in the preseason finale on October 6, the 28-year-old defenseman scored twice in the Canadiens’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Petry, who spent a portion of his offseason recovering from surgery to repair a sports hernia, hadn’t made a regular season appearance since being forced to shut things down in late February and go under the knife in early March. Getting back in the swing of things with the second multi-goal effort of his NHL career, though, was a nice way for the Ann Arbor, MI native to signal that his injury woes were clearly behind him and that all of his hard work to get back in game shape had paid off. “Once the season starts, it’s definitely a little big quicker than preseason and a little bit more physical, too, so it feels good to be back in a regular season game,” shared Petry, who cut the Senators’ lead to 2-1 with a power play goal late in the second period, before putting the Canadiens up 3-2 at the nine-minute mark of the third. “I felt good. Ideally, we’d like to get the win.” That’s for sure. Nevertheless, Michel Therrien’s troops collected three out of a possible four points during their first road trip of the year, demonstrating plenty of fight in Saturday night’s defeat by battling back from a two-goal deficit through 20 minutes of play – in which they were outshot by a 13-6 margin – to ultimately take the lead with 11 minutes remaining in regulation time. “I think we had a slow start in the first. We came in here in between periods and we said that we’ve just got to win a period and chip away at it,” explained the Canadiens’ No. 26, who logged 20 minutes of ice time, generated three shots on goal, and also dished out three hits in the shootout loss. “It showed that we could come back and battle back in the first test of the year. It’s good to see the fight to come back and at least take it to overtime.” And, it was also good to see the Canadiens’ power play click as well. Associate head coach Kirk Muller has been working tirelessly to get it going all preseason long, and it appears that it’s well on its way to being back on track. “It’s just a new philosophy. We’re moving the puck around and we’re trying to establish the shot early,” mentioned Petry, who, with his big shot, will surely be a mainstay on the back end in situations where the Canadiens are up a man. “When we do it well, the play opens up.” It goes without saying that the Canadiens’ bench boss was pleased to have Petry back on the blue line doing exactly the types of things he knows he’s capable of when he’s fully healthy and playing at the top of his game. “Jeff is an important part of our club. It was nice to see him score two goals. Even though the power play was over [on his second goal], we see it as a power play goal,” praised Therrien. “I thought he was solid. He hadn’t played in a really long time and he looked really sharp tonight.”

Numbers Game: Canadiens @ Senators
Sat, 15 Oct 2016 20:56:00 EDT

OTTAWA - Here's a numerical look at Saturday night's game between the Canadiens and Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. 2 – Number of times during the 2015-16 campaign in which goaltender Al Montoya made consecutive starts with the Florida Panthers. In Carey Price’s absence, Montoya made his second straight start on Saturday night against Ottawa after being between the pipes in the season-opener on Thursday. 8 – Number of days that elapsed since Jeff Petry went down with a lower-body injury in the Canadiens’ preseason finale on October 6, and his first appearance of the regular season on Saturday night at the Canadian Tire Centre. 4 – Number of Canadiens players who dished out at least three hits during Saturday night’s tilt, with Shea Weber leading the way with five of his own. 256 – By finding the back of the net on the power play during the second period in Ottawa, Jeff Petry lit the lamp for the first time since February 2 against the Philadelphia Flyers, a span of 256 days between goals. 1 - Petry's tally with the man advantage was the Canadiens' first power play marker of the year. Michel Therrien's troops ultimately got their power play rolling with a pair of goals while up a man against the Senators on Saturday night. 30 - Number of assists Nathan Beaulieu has amassed over the course of his NHL career, adding to that tally by picking up the primary assist on Petry's first goal of the season in the middle frame. The Strathroy, ON native was playing in his 153rd career game on Saturday night. 2:50 - Mark of the third period when Artturi Lehkonen put a loose puck past Senators netminder Craig Anderson to tie things up 2-2. It marked the first goal of the 21-year-old Finnish forward's NHL career. 2 – Number of multi-goal games Petry has registered over the course of his NHL career, accomplishing that feat once again on Saturday night when his blast from the point early in the third period found the back of the net to put the Canadiens up 3-2. The Michigan native last scored twice in a single game back on November 20, 2015 in a 5-3 win over the New York Islanders.

Game Day - Canadiens vs. Senators
Sat, 15 Oct 2016 13:55:00 EDT

- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Saturday morning ahead of their tilt against the Senators. - Fifteen players elected to hit the ice, including goaltenders Al Montoya and Charlie Lindgren, forwards Artturi Lehkonen, Daniel Carr, Max Pacioretty, Andrew Shaw, Alex Galchenyuk, Brian Flynn and Phillip Danault, and defensemen Jeff Petry, Greg Pateryn, Mikhail Sergachev, Alexei Emelin, Zach Redmond and Nathan Beaulieu. - Saturday night's contest will mark Petry's regular-season debut after he was forced to miss the Canadiens' previous outing on Thursday night in Buffalo with a lower-body injury suffered in the pre-season finale on October 2. You'll recall that Petry underwent season-ending surgery in March to repair a sports hernia. "It was kind of a fluke incident and I'm glad it wasn't serious," said Petry, who will be paired with Andrei Markov against Ottawa. "I didn't know [how long I'd be out for after it happened], so when I got evaluated they said it was going to be a short period and I was glad to hear that. It was just about getting back to work and taking the steps to make it feel better as quickly as possible." - Petry's return to active duty means that Sergachev will be a healthy scratch on Saturday night after making his NHL debut in the season-opener in Buffalo. - Sven Andrighetto cleared waivers on Saturday afternoon and was assigned to the AHL's St. John's IceCaps by the Canadiens. News of Andrighetto remaining in the organization was quickly welcomed by captain Max Pacioretty, who believes the Swiss forward brings a lot to the table skill-wise. "He's a very good player. I enjoyed playing with him a lot last year when I was on a line with him when Gally [Brendan Gallagher] went down. He's a guy that we're going to probably need in the near future," shared Pacioretty, on the subject of the 23-year-old former third-round selection. "Guys go up and down all the time. He's a very skilled player. Maybe sometimes you wish that a guy like that would get his chance and get picked up, but in terms of our team, we're happy he's going to be here. We feel that he's important to our depth." - Greg Pateryn fully expects a high-octane affair on Saturday night at the Canadian Tire Centre. That's just the way these two teams have played one another in recent years, and it's shaping up to be another entertaining evening in the nation's capital. "I guess you never know what's going to happen day in or day out, but every night you've got to go out there and compete and battle. These guys, they compete and battle all the time against us," explained Pateryn, who will likely be throwing his 6-foot-3, 221-pound frame around against the Senators on more than a few occasions. "There's a little more hatred between the two teams. I'm expecting it to be pretty physical and I play right into that." - With Carey Price still on the sidelines with a severe flu, Al Montoya will make his second straight start for the Canadiens. He has a 2-3-0 record, 2.82 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage in seven career appearances against the Senators. Ottawa, meanwhile, will counter with Craig Anderson. - Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on City Montreal and TVA Sports, as well as on TSN 690 and 98.5 fm.

Game Preview: Canadiens @ Senators
Sat, 15 Oct 2016 10:17:00 EDT

The Canadiens battle the Senators on Saturday night in Ottawa. On Thursday, Michel Therrien’s troops began the year with a 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Brendan Gallagher scored twice, while Shea Weber (1a) and Andrew Shaw (1g) both picked up their first points in a Canadiens uniform. For their part, Guy Boucher’s contingent also came out on top in their season opener on Wednesday night, besting the Maple Leafs 5-4 in overtime. Kyle Turris registered the game-winning tally with his second goal of the game just 37 seconds into OT. Derick Brassard (1g, 1a), Bobby Ryan (1g, 1a) and Mark Stone (2a) also picked up two points each in the win. Al Montoya, who made 30 stops and gave up just one goal against the Sabres on Thursday, should be between the pipes for the Canadiens. The Senators will go with Craig Anderson. Jeff Petry could be back in the lineup on Saturday after going down during the Canadiens’ final preseason tilt on October 6. At practice on Friday, Petry was paired with Andrei Markov, while Greg Pateryn – the Russian rearguard’s partner in Buffalo – lined up alongside Alexei Emelin. Mikhail Sergachev and Zach Redmond formed the fourth pairing on D.

All systems go
Fri, 14 Oct 2016 18:50:00 EDT

OTTAWA - Torrey Mitchell felt just fine at practice less than 24 hours after taking both a puck to the face and a knee to the head in the season-opener in Buffalo. The 31-year-old Greenfield Park native was on the ice with the rest of his teammates on Friday afternoon at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa preparing for Saturday night's tilt against the Ottawa Senators to wrap up the current two-game road trip. Mitchell says he wasn't feeling any ill effects at all from either incident in the Canadiens' 4-1 triumph in Western New York. It marked the third time in the last several weeks that the Canadiens' No. 17 experienced an injury scare, of sorts. Back on October 1 in Ottawa, Mitchell took an errant stick to the face in a preseason tilt and was forced to leave the game after seeing just 3:40 of playing time. With 529 games of NHL experience under his belt, though, Mitchell knows that incidents like these simply come with the territory. Fortunately, everything worked out for the best this time around, too. "Those things happen, but it's just unfortunate. This morning I was feeling good, so I just keep on going," shared the now 10-year NHL veteran, who logged just over 11 minutes of ice time on Thursday night. "You always worry about [injuries], but that's why there are protocols on hand. I went through all the testing stuff and I feel good. I felt good almost right after it happened. It's good we have those protocols [in place]." Those particular incidents aside, Mitchell did manage to light the lamp early in the second period on Thursday night, capitalizing on a loose puck in front of Sabres netminder Robin Lehner to score what proved to be the game-winner. That goal was a byproduct of linemate Paul Byron's strong rush to the net, with Mitchell pouncing on the rebound to score his first of the year and put the Canadiens ahead for good. The University of Vermont standout simply can't say enough good things about the way he, Byron and fellow speedster Phillip Danault have clicked since combining forces in mid-September. "We had a good camp together. We've been together since day one of training camp, me, [Phillip Danault] and Pauly, and I think we've done a good enough job to have Michel [Therrien] trust in us. We just need to keep going," praised Mitchell, referencing the work the trio managed to put in during exhibition play and carried over into the start of the regular season. "The game has changed and there are some pretty good skilled players on those bottom lines [around the League]. Hopefully, we can go in that direction." The Canadiens' bench boss certainly thinks that they're trending that way and he believes that they can continue to be a real force as the season marches on. "They've got speed. They play the right way, those guys. That's why I'm confident when they play against top players that they're going to do the right things," mentioned Therrien, clearly pleased with the effort Byron, Mitchell and Danault have put in so far. "They're tough to play against with their speed." And, at the heart of that line, according to Therrien, is Mitchell and the countless positive attributes he brings to the table for the Canadiens game in and game out. "A guy like Mitchy, as far as I'm concerned, he's a real pro. He's all business. He's got a lot of respect from his teammates and the coaching staff because he's doing a lot of good things. For me, he's part of our leadership group and he has an important role to make sure our guys stick to the plan," concluded Therrien. "He's a guy with experience, a warrior in his own way. He plays the right way." Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Time to win it back
Fri, 14 Oct 2016 09:00:00 EDT

MONTREAL – Les Canadiennes de Montreal have only one objective this season: to reclaim the Clarkson Cup title that slid through their fingers last year. It seemed like the 2015-16 edition of Les Canadiennes ran over everyone in their path. After winning 20 of 24 regular season outings before easily advancing to the Clarkson Cup Final, the Montreal-based franchise was a favorite to win it all, according to many. But the Calgary Inferno had other plans and ultimately left Ottawa with the championship trophy. While that tough 8-3 loss seven months ago is still fresh in their collective memory, it has served as motivation for every member of the organization, and Les Canadiennes can’t wait for the opportunity to start things up again and redeem themselves. The first step in that process will come on Saturday, when they begin the regular season in Brampton, ON, against the Thunder. “We’re really looking forward to starting up again, especially after losing in the championship that way. It’s very motivating to come back and put the pieces back together. We have a lot of things we can build on from last year. We have a good mix of players, experience and rookies, and we already have some chemistry going,” mentioned Les Canadiennes general manager, Meg Hewings. “We’re really excited to face the other teams in the League to see what our competition has to offer. The calibre of play went up again this season and all of the teams improved. I don’t think we’ve seen a league this strong in the history of women’s hockey.” Counting the League’s top four scorers from 2015-16 – including the MVP – [Marie-Philip Poulin, Ann-Sophie Bettez, Kim Deschenes and Caroline Ouellette], and the League’s reigning Goaltender of the Year [Charline Labonte], hopes remain high in the Les Canadiennes’ camp to capture their first championship since 2011-12 this spring. With 18 returnees from last season, that desire for redemption spreads across the entire locker room and that commonality will be beneficial as much on the ice as it is off it. “With the way the season ended, it’s an added source of motivation. With the rookies that we have right now, they bring another source of energy to the group of veterans and everybody is excited for the new season. With the practices and training camp that we had, we have a lot of energy and we’re all looking forward to seeing each other again. We’re really looking forward to the start of the season,” said Poulin, who claimed the Angela James Bowl as the League’s top point-getter in 2015-16 with 23 goals and 46 points in 22 games. “Every game is going to be really important and tough. We’ll have that extra motivation and every game will be a challenge. We’re all aware that the League improved and every game against every team will be important.” Many of the new members of head coach Dany Brunet’s squad hail from the most recent CWHL Draft, including four of their first five selections: Sarah Lefort (1st round), Cassandra Poudrier (2nd round), Brittney Fouracres (4th round) and Marion Allemoz (5th round). For her part, Lefort will be reunited with her former Boston University teammate in Poulin, whom she played with for three seasons in Massachusetts. While she’ll be the youngest player on a roster largely made up of experienced veterans, the Ormstown, QC native is eager to show that she can keep things rolling in this relatively new environment. “Yes, I’m the youngest player on the team, but I don’t feel it. Caroline Ouellette is 37 years old and it doesn’t show on the ice. She welcomed me with open arms from the start. I’m a player who can always learn,” stressed Lefort, who became the top point-getter in Terriers history last year with 183 career points, topping the previous mark which was held by Poulin. “At every opportunity I have to learn, I see it as a challenge. The other girls already have experience, some of them have played in three or four Olympics. It will also be something new for me to travel almost every weekend. It will be a learning experience. The work ethic is also different because we’re only on the ice two times a week.” A sign of stability will also come on the defensive side of the puck with five returning players patrolling the blue line in 2016-17. A few changes were made on the back end, though, as Karrel Emard moves up front and three rookies complete the defense corps. “We have a good group of defensemen coming back this year with Julie Chu, Cathy Chartrand, Carly Hill, Sophie Brault and I. We also drafted two good youngsters in Cassandra Poudrier – who played with me at Cornell – Brittney Fouracres and Melanie Desrochers, who I played against in university for a year,” mentioned Lauriane Rougeau, who registered two goals and 19 points last season, tops amongst all Les Canadiennes defenders. “They’re three excellent players joining the core who add depth on the defensive side of things that we didn’t have last year. We’re definitely a team with a lot of experienced girls, but we also have great chemistry between all of us.” Just one week from their opening weekend at home at Centre Etienne-Desmarteau – October 22 and 23 against the Toronto Furies – Les Canadiennes are ready to once again take the CWHL by storm. Armed with a solid mix of veteran experience and youthful enthusiasm, it won’t be surprising to see them dominate their opponents game after game again this year. “Every time I start off a new season, I want to have fun and I want to improve every game,” concluded Poulin, who was named captain ahead of the 2016-17 season following a team vote after Cathy Chartrand elected to give up her 'C'. “That’s the mentality that I’ll have this year, and playing with such great players will be exciting.” Hugo Fontaine is a writer for Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.

Strong start
Fri, 14 Oct 2016 00:18:00 EDT

BUFFALO – The Canadiens kicked the season off on the right foot in Buffalo. Starting strong with a two-goal game from Brendan Gallagher, a 30-save performance from Al Montoya, 10 different players finding their way onto the scoresheet, and two points in the standings, Thursday night went about as well as the Habs could have expected in the season opener. After winning three of their final four preseason games before heading to Buffalo to open the campaign, the Canadiens were clearly clicking right from the opening puck drop at the KeyBank Center. Gallagher broke the ice for the visitors less than halfway through the first period, opening the floodgates for an eventual 4-1 win over the Sabres. “I like it as a start. Guys had the right mentality, sticking up for each other. [There were] a lot of selfless plays out there,” said captain Max Pacioretty, who finished with an assist to go with a plus-2 plus/minus differential. “Blocked shots, taking hits to make a play. That’s our motto for this team: no matter who you are in the lineup, you have to do whatever it takes to help the team win. This team has the right mindset.” A testament to the team’s depth, no forward cracked the 20-minute mark in ice time on Thursday, and no one in the lineup saw less than double-digit minutes in their night’s work. Scoring two goals in his 14:50 of ice time, Gallagher made the most of his 21 shifts on Thursday night. While his workload was a little lighter than he’s used to, he sees that as a positive sign – and a potential recipe for success. “We’re a team that relies on playing four-line hockey because we’re trying to use our speed and we need to be fresh,” mentioned Gallagher, referencing the strong play of Torrey Mitchell and Paul Byron, among others. “All four lines contributed. We were pressing. It started with a big shift from Davey’s [David Desharnais] line to start it off and then Pleky’s [Tomas Plekanec] line followed, and then Mitchy’s line went out and did a great job. Four lines were rolling and I was the benefactor of it. As a group, shift after shift, we did a good job and eventually they cracked.” Despite managing to light the lamp a collective four times in Buffalo, the Habs aren’t getting ahead of themselves after picking up a “W” in Game 1. Using the lessons learned last season as a cautionary tale, they’re instead looking at Thursday’s victory as a building block and a blueprint for the way they want to play for the remaining 81. “It’s definitely nice to get a win, but one of the things we learned last year is it’s only a start,” warned Gallagher, referencing the Canadiens’ 9-0-0 start to the 2015-16 season that ended with the Habs finishing the year near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. “Game by game, you have to have the same focus. There are definitely areas to improve. Obviously there were spurts in the second period where we didn’t play very good hockey and we relied on big Al [Montoya] back there to bail us out and he certainly did a good job. There are areas to improve, but we’re happy with how the team looked.” “Big Al’s” biggest save of the night may have been his stop on a shorthanded Evander Kane breakaway attempt in the first period to help maintain a 1-0 lead. “My focus is on making that first save, and I think that’s all I really had to do tonight,” said Montoya, who kicked aside 30 of the 31 shots he faced. “The defense was great, the penalty kill was great, and the guys really let me see the puck tonight.” While he likely wasn’t expecting to see action this early in the season when he signed on to play a backup role to Carey Price, Montoya was ready to answer the call when the All-World netminder came down with the flu and was forced to skip the trip to Buffalo. “There were a bit of nerves coming in. it’s always sweet to come in and play that first game for your team. You just hope to give them a chance and that’s all my plan was,” confirmed Montoya, who may get a second-consecutive start on Saturday as Price continues to recover from his illness. “I wasn’t trying to steal the game – I’ve got a good team in front of me and they were fun to watch tonight. The way they cycle the puck, the way they break it out so smoothly. At times, it seemed flawless. We hope to build off that. “I’ll enjoy this one for a little bit,” he added. “But then you just prepare for the next one.” Shauna Denis is a writer for

Numbers game: Canadiens @ Sabres
Thu, 13 Oct 2016 21:06:00 EDT

BUFFALO -- Quick hits, stats, and facts from the season opener in Buffalo. 3 – Number of players who have suited up for the Canadiens at a younger age than Mikhail Sergachev’s 18 years and 110 days, making Sergachev the fourth-youngest Hab to play for the team in franchise history after Claude Lemieux (18 years, 89 days), Mario Tremblay (18 years, 72 days), and Olivier Michaud (18 years, 46 days). 6 – Number of players suiting up for their first regular season games as members of the Canadiens organization on Thursday night, including Shea Weber, Andrew Shaw, Al Montoya, Alexander Radulov, Artturi Lehkonen, and Sergachev. 8:43 – Amount of time needed by Brendan Gallagher to score the Canadiens’ first goal of the 2016-17 campaign, beating Robin Lehner from a distance to get the Habs on the board in the opening frame. 7:45 – Amount of time needed by the Sabres to register their first shot on goal of the night, at the 7:45 mark, after the Habs had already thrown five shots Lehner’s way. 5 – Number of goals scored by Torrey Mitchell – who played for the Sabres from 2013 to 2015 – at the KeyBank Center (formerly First Niagara Center) after driving hard to the net to put a Paul Byron rebound past Lehner in the first period. 164 – Number of goals Gallagher is now “on pace” for in 2016-17, after potting a pair in the season opener. 30 – Number of shots stopped by Montoya in his Habs debut, kicking aside 30 of the 31 Sabres shots he faced in the outing. 18 – Number of times the Canadiens have won a season-opening game on the road in franchise history, now owning an 18-15-7 record in 40 road starts.

Game Preview: Canadiens @ Sabres
Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:24:00 EDT

The Canadiens will kick off the 2016-17 regular season with a game against the Sabres at the KeyBank Center. With the preseason – and the team’s 4-1-2 record in those seven games – now a thing of the past, the Habs will look to get the season started on the right foot in Buffalo, having won two of their three games against the Sabres in 2015-16. The Canadiens will be without the services of Carey Price for the season debut as he continues to recover from a flu bug. Price did not make the trip to Buffalo, but Michel Therrien suggested that the All-Star netminder may join the team in Ottawa on Friday if his health improves. With Price out of commission, Al Montoya will get his first start in a Habs uniform on Thursday night. The 31-year-old goaltender owns a 3-0-2 record in five career games against the Sabres. After being recalled from St. John’s on Wednesday, Charlie Lindgren will serve as Montoya’s backup for the opener. Robin Lehner will get the start between the pipes at the other end of the ice. Dan Bylsma will also be missing a few of his key contributors for the game, namely Kyle Okposo and Jack Eichel. Eichel suffered a severe ankle injury during a practice on Wednesday and could miss multiple weeks of action. Mikhail Sergachev will play the first game of his NHL career on Thursday night, making him the first 18-year-old blue-liner since Mathieu Schneider in 1987-88 to suit up for the Canadiens. He has been playing on a defensive pairing with Alexei Emelin during practices and is expected to be paired with him against the Sabres. In addition to Montoya and Sergachev, Shea Weber, Andrew Shaw, Alexander Radulov, and Artturi Lehkonen will also be making their regular season Habs debuts in Buffalo after joining the team in the offseason. This will mark the third-straight year in which the Habs will start the season on the road and the 40th time in franchise history. The team currently boasts a 17-15-7 record in 39 regular season road openers. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.

Young, but ready
Wed, 12 Oct 2016 15:30:00 EDT

MONTREAL - It won't be long before Mikahil Sergachev etches his name in the Canadiens' record books. When the Russian defenseman dons his No. 22 jersey on Thursday night at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, he will become the fourth youngest player in franchise history to suit up for the CH, accomplishing the feat at 18 years and 110 days old. That moves him ahead of former rearguard Mathieu Schneider, who was just eight days older than the Canadiens' most recent opening-round selection when he began his NHL career with the Habs in Philadelphia on October 8th, 1987. Securing a roster spot was by no means a given for Sergachev just months after going ninth overall in late June in Western New York. But, he clearly managed to stand out from the pack at rookie camp - before continuing to impress team brass at training camp - to ultimately make his NHL dreams a reality at a very early age. "It's just been pretty unbelievable, being around those guys, pros who are some of the best players in the world. It's pretty amazing. Not many guys get the chance to make the team at 18. That was my first goal since being drafted," shared Sergachev, reflecting upon his first-ever training camp experience with the Canadiens that ultimately culminated in his being rewarded with a coveted spot on the blue line. "Life has changed a lot. I feel like I got drafted yesterday. It's pretty unbelievable just how fast I got here and was playing exhibition games. Now, I've got to keep learning every game and every practice, ask coaches to show me video, and just come to work and do my job," added Sergachev, the youngest ever rookie recipient of the OHL's Most Outstanding Defenseman of the Year Award in 2015-16, who clearly understands the significant learning curve that comes with making the jump to the NHL ranks so quickly. Fortunately, Sergachev will be well-surrounded in Montreal. In addition to being taught the tricks of the NHL trade from former defensemen in head coach Michel Therrien and assistant coach Jean-Jacques Daigneault, the Nizhnekamsk native will also benefit from the experience and guidance of seasoned mentors on the back end to help him along, many of whom he's already paid close attention to during the preseason. "I think I looked at Marky [Andrei Markov], for sure. I've just had a couple of practices with him and a couple of games. It was pretty unbelievable to watch him and see what he does. He's so poised in the defensive zone, so I'm trying to be like that," explained Sergachev, before expanding upon a few more veteran defensemen he'll be sharing a locker room with going forward. "Playing with [Jeff] Petry, he's such a skilled guy and a great skater. [Alexei] Emelin, too. He's going to hit everyone, no matter who it is. He's really smart on breakouts. I also looked up to [Shea] Weber because he's one of the best defenders in the world with the best shot in hockey right now." At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds, Sergachev already boasts the physical attributes to play his position at hockey's highest level, along with remarkable skating ability and a willingness to engage his opponents, of course. He's a confident youngster, too, which will only help his cause as he tries to slow down the top players on the planet while learning the intricacies of the NHL game. "It's not that it's a much faster game [at the NHL level]. It's not that players skate faster than me. They're just thinking faster and I need to get used to that. They also make harder passes and have harder shots," shared Sergachev, who says time spent back home in Russia training in the months following the NHL Draft - along with the work he's been putting in while in Montreal - has served to prepare him for the challenge ahead. "To handle that [speed], I worked on my conditioning over the summer. I can play minutes. I feel pretty comfortable on the ice. I think I showed management how I can play against NHL guys." Ironically, Sergachev will make his NHL debut in the same arena where he was drafted. It will mark the beginning of what both he and the Canadiens envision will be a successful and prosperous career with the organization. Now, he just can't wait to get started. "I don't know how to explain the type of feeling [when putting on the Canadiens jersey]. It's just the big history of the club and I feel a part of it," concluded Sergachev with a smile. "Maybe like in 20 years someone is going to look up and see my name somewhere around [the Bell Centre]. That would be pretty cool." It most definitely would, Mikhail. Congratulations and best of luck, kid!

Practice - October 12
Wed, 12 Oct 2016 13:18:00 EDT

Canadiens training camp officially came to a close on Wednesday, as the Habs practiced one final time at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard before flying to Buffalo for Thursday’s regular season opener. – Prior to the start of practice it was announced that Carey Price -- still sidelined with the flu -- would not travel with the team to western New York. “Unfortunately, he caught the flu and everyone reacts differently to medicine. He caught a nasty bug, as we’re seeing now. He’s day-to-day. There’s a chance he’ll join the team in Ottawa on Friday, but he’ll have to be healthy,” clarified Michel Therrien during his post-practice press conference. “It’s too bad, but there’s nothing we can do about it.” “That’s hockey -- there will be setbacks,” continued the Canadiens head coach. “We all would have liked for Carey to be between the pipes for the first game. Not only us, but our fans too. It’s just going to be a matter of time now.” – Al Montoya will thus make his Habs debut slightly sooner than originally expected. "The start was going to come sooner or later, but it’s here now and I’m excited. I’m ready for it -- this is what I’ve been preparing for,” underlined the 31-year-old netminder, who learned the news at practice. “I’m looking forward to stepping onto the ice with this group.” Montoya holds a 3-0-2 career record against the Sabres, earning points in all five outings to date. – In Price’s absence, former Rouyn-Noranda Huskies goaltender Francis Gaudreau was the backup at practice. – As on Tuesday, Jeff Petry skated solo with assistant athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine prior to the start of practice. Therrien later announced that while Petry will not play in Buffalo, he will make the trip and could be in uniform against Ottawa on Saturday. – In the meantime, Greg Pateryn will fill in for Petry opposite the Sabres, and will be partnered with Andrei Markov on the blue line. “He had a very good camp. We’re confident in his abilities, and we aren’t afraid to utilize him with Andrei,” shared the Habs bench boss. – Projected forward lines and defensive pairings @ Buffalo Max Pacioretty – Alex Galchenyuk – Brendan Gallagher Artturi Lehkonen – Tomas Plekanec – Alexander Radulov Daniel Carr – David Desharnais – Andrew Shaw Paul Byron – Torrey Mitchell – Phillip Danault Nathan Beaulieu – Shea Weber Andrei Markov – Greg Pateryn Alexei Emelin – Mikhail Sergachev Al Montoya

Primed for duty
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 17:17:00 EDT

BROSSARD - After securing the backup role at training camp, Al Montoya is eager to get the regular season underway. Set to begin his eighth NHL season, the 31-year-old goaltender is firmly committed to making the most of the opportunity that has been given to him by the Canadiens, who signed him to a one-year deal on July 1st before ultimately giving him the nod ahead of Mike Condon on Monday. "I'm prepared and I'm excited. I took care of what I had to for this season. I'm ready to play. Now, it's game time, it's the fun part. One more practice before we get going," said Montoya, a veteran of 136 games with four different NHL teams dating back to his debut with Phoenix in 2008-09. "For me, it's about preparing to play every single night. Carey [Price] is a phenomenal goalie. We all know that. For myself, it's [about] building on the last few years." Before landing in Montreal, Montoya spent the last two seasons in South Florida playing behind another All-World netminder in Roberto Luongo. Last year, he registered the second-highest single season win total of his career, posting a 12-7-3 record, 2.18 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage in 25 appearances between the pipes, including 22 starts. That helped the Panthers claim their second-ever division title and reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12. Having never tasted postseason play before at the NHL level until last April, it's safe to say it only added to Montoya's motivation to be both physically and mentally prepared to shine during his audition with the Canadiens over the last several weeks. "It comes down to what I've been doing. It comes down to how I've been preparing, which all goes back to my practices," explained Montoya, who spent his offseason training in his hometown of Chicago with the likes of NHLers Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Chris Kunitz and Brian Campbell, among others. "The stuff that I do off the ice prepares me to be ready, along with the video that I do and the workouts that I do with [goaltending coach] Stephane [Waite]." Not only does captain Max Pacioretty firmly believe that his brand new teammate can deliver the goods when called upon by head coach Michel Therrien, but also that Montoya is a strong addition to a locker room that experienced several big changes over the summer. "He's a very good goaltender. I think he plays in a way similar to Pricer in terms of style, and I think sometimes that's helpful, especially with the goalie coach coming in. You can work on the same things," shared Pacioretty, before detailing his impressions of Montoya off the ice as well. "I really like Monty. We went to the same college, so instantly we hit it off, always talking about the University of Michigan. He's a guy that it would be impossible not to like. He has a great energy and such a great personality." And, given his lengthy resume in the pros dating back to 2005-06 with the AHL's Hartford Wolf Pack, the former sixth-overall selection of the New York Rangers should be a steady force those playing in front of him can rely upon and trust from the get-go. "Having a guy that has a lot of experience, who's been in every situation - nothing is going to be new to him," mentioned defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, noting that Montoya being a seasoned veteran takes some extra weight off the shoulders of Canadiens forwards and defensemen alike. "That eases our minds." Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

A group effort
Mon, 10 Oct 2016 19:50:00 EDT

BROSSARD - The Canadiens' assistant coaches met with members of the media on Monday afternoon at the Bell Sports Complex, sharing their thoughts on a variety of topics heading into a brand new season. Up first was veteran goaltending coach Stephane Waite, who addressed the return of Carey Price to the Canadiens' lineup after battling a knee injury that sidelined him for nine months before getting back between the pipes and performing brilliantly for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey. It goes without saying that the Sherbrooke native and two-time Stanley Cup champion was pleased to see his prized pupil back in fine form following a frustrating 2015-16 campaign - as are Canadiens fans across the globe, of course. "I knew [Carey was ready] when we went on the ice in July together for three days. At the World Cup, to be honest, we never talked about his knee. We moved on, turned the page, and that was all about regaining his timing and his game shape," shared Waite, who enjoyed a front-row seat as Team Canada's goaltending coach to watch the 29-year-old netminder dominate opponents once again on the international stage. "He got better game by game every day. I think the World Cup was the best thing to happen to him." It certainly gave Price the perfect opportunity to ready himself for his return to the NHL ranks, which will come on Thursday night in the regular-season opener in Buffalo. Waite was quick to confirm that the four-time NHL All-Star is primed to begin his 10th year with the CH, and he hopes to see him make 60 starts between now and early April. "He's ready. Of course, he missed practice today [with the flu], but he'll be ready for Thursday and everything's good for him. He feels good mentally and physically, and ready to go," mentioned Waite, before going on to praise Price's rehab efforts to get back on track. "He impressed me a lot. He deserves all the credit for everything. He works so hard to get back in game shape. [He did it] in less than two weeks after being out for almost nine months. That's very impressive." Equally impressive all training camp long has been the play of the Canadiens' most recent first-round selection, defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, who along with fellow young gun Artturi Lehkonen, was officially given the opportunity to start the year in Montreal on Monday. Like Sergachev, former rearguard Jean-Jacques Daigneault began his 16-year NHL career at just 18 years of age back in 1984-85 with the Vancouver Canucks, so he has a good idea of what the Russian rearguard is going through right about now. While the Canadiens' No. 22 might be young, Daigneault believes Sergachev is capable of getting the job done at hockey's highest level for years to come. "It's a tough position. Nowadays, I think it's even more difficult for a young 18-year-old defenseman to break into the NHL and have success. I think there's way more parity in the NHL than there was 30 years ago when I played. That's what makes it tougher," explained Daigneault, who patrolled the blue line for 10 different NHL teams and suited up for 899 games along the way. "But, Sergachev has all the attributes to have success, not just to survive in the NHL, but to have success and keep improving on a daily basis this year. I see him being a big part of our team." Daigneault - who also happens to be the Canadiens' penalty-kill specialist - admits that Sergachev caught his attention in every single one of his four preseason outings, doing a variety of things to demonstrate that he was ready to make the jump just three-and-half months after being selected ninth overall at the NHL Entry Draft. "He surprised me every game that he played. It's fun to see a young kid like that with the total package because he moves well on the ice, he has very good mobility and he has a good stick," praised Daigneault, calling Sergachev an "easy teach" in the early stages of their working relationship. "There are a lot of things that I taught young defensemen that I worked with over the years, both in the minors and the NHL, that I see him doing. He has a lot of those attributes. He's very talented." For his part, Dan Lacroix says the addition of talented young guns like Sergachev and Lehkonen - and the unrivaled passion they bring - will undoubtedly serve to give the Canadiens another big boost as the season gets underway for real in just a few days. "They bring enthusiasm, [and] some of that youthfulness of kids coming in every day to play [is important]. It's hard to replicate that. You need young legs and kids that are coming in and seeing things and teams for the first time," shared Lacroix, a long-time NHL assistant coach with the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers, before joining the Canadiens in 2014-15. "They come in and they're so eager to learn and to learn the system, but also to play with their new teammates. It brings new energy to a team." One man who definitely isn't short on energy, according to Lacroix, is head coach Michel Therrien. Both he and the rest of the Canadiens' assistants have a great deal of respect and admiration for the 52-year-old Montreal native, who is headed into his fifth straight year behind the bench on home turf. "I've worked with a few coaches in the league, and I've told Mike [Michel] that he's as sharp as they come behind the bench. He sees the game extremely well. He's got tremendous communication with his players," explained Lacroix, whom Therrien has tasked with scouting the Canadiens' opponents and sharing game preparation duties alongside Clement Jodoin, in addition to being an important presence at practice. "You see one Mike behind the camera, but we see him every day. He trusts his staff to do a job for him, for the team. We're just a continuation of his coaching and we know where we're going. We're as prepared as any staff in the league. I truly feel that." Jodoin, meanwhile, lauded Therrien's incredible work ethic all year long - along with his relentless desire to win, too. "I'm with him every day. His passion is unbelievable. He has one thing - he wants to win. Every game, he's expecting the best from everybody. His purpose, every time he steps behind the bench, is to win 81 games. We're over there to win. We're not over there to get close. He's a guy who's pushing everybody," said Jodoin, four full years into his second stint with the Canadiens following QMJHL head coaching stays in Lewiston and Rimouski, and one season at the helm of the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs. "For the last few years, there's no question that I've been learning a lot from him about the details. Like he says, "my little mouse is working 24 hours a day." He's always thinking about details, details, details. The way he's sharing the workload, everyone's involved." This season, that includes Kirk Muller, who signed on as an associate coach in early June following a two-year stint as an assistant coach in St. Louis under Ken Hitchcock. The former Canadiens captain - and former assistant coach in Montreal between 2006 and 2011 - was all smiles on Monday when talking about just how much he's enjoyed being back in town. "It's actually been great. From the staff down, Mike's [Michel Therrien's] been awesome with all of us. It's been awesome seeing how he delegates. He's a confident coach to give us all an opportunity, to view our opinions and share our ideas. We all come from different areas," praised Muller, who also has two-plus seasons of head coaching experience with the Carolina Hurricanes on his resume. "That's been great and the players have been great so far on the ice. The work ethic's been there. The energy has been awesome. The players are excited. It's been a good camp since day one. I think the boys look like they're ready for game one." Time spent in St. Louis and Raleigh, says Muller, has him well-equipped to handle his bevy of tasks in Montreal, which include turning a Canadiens power play around that simply wasn't clicking in 2015-16 when it ranked 25th in the League while operating at a 16.2 percent clip. "You can't beat experience, and having the couple of years in Carolina was great for me - seeing the day-to-day responsibilities of being a head coach and all of the scenarios. When you're in that position, you've got to really take everything in detail of every little situation and be ready for it," explained Muller, who has been running his fair share of practice drills on the South Shore, in addition to being behind the bench alongside Therrien and Daigneault during games. "When you deal with that every day for two years, you really get challenged and challenge all of your players in terms of all of the scenarios that are needed today." While many players have come and gone since Muller's last tenure with the Canadiens, several familiar faces remain. The only difference is that they're a little older and have taken on far more significant roles as the years have passed by. "They have beards now. They're not kids," cracked Muller, before expanding upon some of the Canadiens' veterans who remain since his departure following the 2010-11 season. "It's actually amazing seeing the maturity level of guys like Pleky [Tomas Plekanec], Patch [Max Pacioretty], Pricer [Carey Price] and David Desharnais. These guys were coming in, trying to get their feet wet, Carey coming in his first couple of years and the challenges that he had. I'm coming in now saying these guys are established veterans. They're the leaders of this organization and team. They're doing a great job. It's been fun seeing them come full-circle and seeing where they're at." And, succeeding together in Canadiens colors going forward would surely be the ultimate reward. "Even though I left, I still followed those guys, believe it or not. To see them succeed and get better has been fun," concluded Muller. "Now, working with them again, I'd love for the team to do well just to see guys like that have the fun success that we all want to have here." Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for

Decision day
Mon, 10 Oct 2016 16:57:00 EDT

BROSSARD - The Canadiens made several key decisions with respect to their roster on Monday with the start of the 2016-17 campaign on the horizon. - During Monday's practice session at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, the Canadiens confirmed that two youngsters would begin the regular season in the NHL ranks. Artturi Lehkonen and Mikhail Sergachevhad sufficiently impressed the Canadiens' brass over the last few weeks to be a part of the 23-man roster that would head to Buffalo for a date with the Sabres on October 13th. "They told me I was starting the season here and it was great news from me. Marc [Bergevin] and Michel [Therrien] told me that this is where the job starts. When the actual games start, it will get only tougher," admitted Lehkonen, who amassed two goals and three points in five preseason outings. "I was confident. They gave me a chance to play with some good guys and I think I made the most of those chances. Luckily, they saw it the same way and now I made the team." A few stalls away in the Canadiens' locker room, Sergachev was just as pleased to begin the year in Montreal. While it still remains to be seen if the Russian rearguard will spend the entire season with the big club or possibly return to the OHL's Windsor Spitfires, Sergachev is well aware of the situation he finds himself in right now. After all, he will soon become the first 18-year-old defensemen to begin a season with the Canadiens since Mathieu Schneider in 1987-88. As far as his living situation is concerned, Sergachev doesn't yet know if he'll be staying at a hotel or with one of his new teammates. He isn't looking that far ahead, though, preferring instead to savor the moment and take it all in. "I'm so happy. I had a meeting with the coaches and after I went straight to the ice. Yes, I'll start the season with the team, but I might still go back and play only nine games. They haven't told me yet what the plan is," indicated Sergachev, who registered two assists in four preseason appearances. "I'm not a full-time NHL player yet, but I'd like to be." - If Lehkonen and Sergachev received good news, the same can't be said for both Michael McCarron andMike Condon. In Condon's case, the Massachusetts native could very well have made his final appearance in Canadiens colors on Monday after being placed on waivers at noon. If he isn't claimed by one of the 29 other NHL teams, he'll have to report to the AHL's Saint John's IceCaps. Head coach Michel Therrien says decisions like these are never easy. In Condon's case, it was particularly tough given the work he offered up under tough circumstances last season. "It isn't easy, especially when it's a guy who grew up in the organization. We were in a tough spot last year and he did his best. We're all aware of it," mentioned Therrien on the move to keep Al Montoya in Montreal to serve as Carey Price's backup instead of Condon. "He understood the situation. Days like that, there are moments when you're excited to meet guys and others that aren't as pleasant. But, that's all a part of the reality of professional hockey." McCarron, meanwhile, will join the Canadiens' affiliate in short order. Having enjoyed a good camp - where he made his presence felt both physically and on the scoresheet - the 2013 first-round selection will surely find his way back to Montreal at some point, according the Therrien. "As a young player, he always has to continue to improve, even when you make it to the NHL. He needs to keep improving all the time. In his case, he gave what he had to give. There were decisions that had to be made. But, one thing is certain. We know that he's a player who will play in the NHL eventually. Will it be in one week, one month or one year? It's tough for me to answer that question today," mentioned Therrien, referencing the play of the 21-year-old forward. "We know that he has a good work ethic, a good attitude and he's a good teammate. He's improved every year since being drafted and we're convinced that he'll play in the NHL one day." - In his post-practice press conference, Therrien also confirmed that defenseman Jeff Petry was placed on injured reserve and that he would miss the season-opener in Buffalo. He also added that Petry's availability for ensuing games would be determined over the coming days. - Carey Price didn't partake in Monday's practice session after coming down with the flu.

Notebook - October 9
Sun, 09 Oct 2016 15:00:00 EDT

BROSSARD -- The Canadiens held the first of two Thanksgiving weekend practices at the Bell Sports Complex on Sunday, with just four days remaining before the regular season opener in Buffalo. GIVING THANKS On this weekend dedicated to giving thanks, Mikhail Sergachev does indeed have much to be thankful for as he continues to stick with the big club while the number of days remaining in training camp can now be counted on one hockey mitt. The fact that he could become the first 18-year-old defenseman to crack the Canadiens' permanent roster since Petr Svoboda did the same in 1984-85 only adds to his gratitude. "It's not only Montreal, but in the whole League. Not many guys make the team at 18," acknowledged the Canadiens' ninth-overall pick from the 2016 NHL Draft of the odds he's overcome to date. "Any day I can get cut and go back to Junior, so I'm still [taking things] day-by-day. I didn't make the team yet." But even if history isn't on his side, Sergachev still has a lot leaning in his favor to level the playing field, beginning with a helpful countryman on the blue line. "I feel confident playing with [Alexei Emelin] because we're both Russian, and we can speak Russian to each other," added the Nizhnekamsk-native of his Togliatti-born defensive partner. "It makes things much easier [in that respect], but he's also a great defenseman." And luckily for the rest of his new teammates, you don't need to be fluent in Russian to catch onto that confidence. "His poise is his biggest asset. When he gets the puck he never panics," dished Nathan Beaulieu on the 18-year-old rearguard. "That's the biggest thing when you're a young defenseman -- when you get nervous you make mistakes. I see a lot of Marky [Andrei Markov] in him because of the way he slows the game down. He's good with his stick and is able to make simple fast plays that help our offense -- the forwards love it. He's a special kid." NEW, OLD DIGITS Artturi Lehkonen hit the ice on Sunday sporting some new digits on his back, and if he showed no signs of missing his former number 46, that's because he and his 'new' 62 go way back. "I asked for a new number, and 62 is the one I wore during my entire professional career in Europe," explained Lehkonen, who spent the previous two seasons with Frölunda HC in the Swedish Hockey League. "The reason I chose that number is because my dad was born in 1962 and he likes that number." Having already made his pop proud all the way on the other side of the Atlantic by sticking through the final stages of the NHL preseason in Montreal, the 21-year-old Finn will nevertheless need to hurry if wants to pass along the latest good news coming out of camp. "It's tough because of the time difference. It's around 9:00 p.m. there when we finish practice [here], so I need to be quick if I want to call him." DECISIONS TO COME With 26 players still at camp -- three more than the rules allow for -- some tough decisions will be weighing on the Habs brass in the coming days. "I said following Thursday's game that we would take the weekend to reflect on our decisions. We'll have more answers [on Monday]," revealed head coach Michel Therrien during his post-practice press conference on Sunday. "A number of factors will be at play, including our players' health." Indeed, things are looking up in that department, as Paul Byron (pneumonia), Brian Flynn (neck), and Max Pacioretty (flu) were all back on the ice with their teammates. Only Jeff Petry (injured on Thursday against Toronto) was absent from practice. "I haven't received news yet whether he'll be healthy to start the season or not. He'll be evaluated tomorrow, and I'll know more then," concluded the Habs' bench boss.

Making an impact already
Fri, 07 Oct 2016 01:09:00 EDT

MONTREAL - Newcomers to the Canadiens' lineup proved to be serious difference-makers in the preseason finale on Thursday night. Andrew Shaw scored twice, Shea Weber lit the lamp in his Canadiens debut, and young guns Artturi Lehkonen and Michael McCarron put the puck in the net, too, pacing Michel Therrien's squad to a resounding 6-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre. It marked the end of a busy stretch for the Canadiens, who were playing their seventh preseason game in 11 days. Needless to say, they couldn't have drawn up a better way to close out the exhibition schedule - posting a 4-1-2 record overall - with the start of the regular season in Buffalo less than a week away. "It feels good. The team played unbelievable. We expect this from the team for the regular season. Everyone was good," said Shaw, one of 14 Canadiens players to factor in on the scoresheet in Thursday night's win - and one of four players to generate multi-point efforts against Mike Babcock's contingent. "We had strong defensive play and we supported the puck all over the ice. It was a good team win." A good team win, yes, and a good indicator, according to Shaw, that this group has already grown by leaps and bounds in the short time it has been together at training camp. "I think the guys have started to come together. There are a lot of new faces this year, so it might have taken a little bit, but I think everyone's starting to feel comfortable and the team chemistry is building," mentioned Shaw, clearly impressed by the way his teammates refused to take their collective feet off the accelerator all game long. "We're going to be focused on that the next week or two [as the season begins]." Weber, meanwhile, couldn't have asked for a better outcome in his first start in Canadiens colors since coming over from the Nashville Predators in late June. In addition to tallying on a point shot that beat Maple Leafs netminder Frederik Andersen to put the Canadiens up 4-1 early in the middle period, the imposing rearguard also chipped in with seven shots, two hits and three blocked shots while logging 25:24 of ice time. "It was a lot of fun. It was exciting. There was a lot of energy in the building. It was a great result. It's something we can build on going forward," said Weber, the Canadiens' second-most utilized player behind Nathan Beaulieu against Toronto. "It's always good to win and finish things off the right way in the preseason and get ready for next week against Buffalo." For his part, McCarron continued to make his case for a roster spot with the big club by not only scoring what proved to be the game-winning tally at the 5:27 mark of the first period, but also going toe-to-toe with Maple Leafs tough guy Matt Martin after the pair clashed near the benches in the final frame. "I thought that game ended on a good note. I left a good vibe in their head about me, I think. My job is to make their decision hard and I thought I did that. I think that my audition went well," admitted McCarron, who put up two goals and three points in six preseason outings this time around. "This is a struggle everybody has to go through at some point and I'm happy I did." n his first appearance with the Canadiens since last November, goaltender Carey Price turned aside 28 of 29 shots against, which really was the icing on the cake on a night when everything went right for a team looking to go into the 2016-17 campaign with positive vibes aplenty. Like Shaw, Therrien believes things are trending in the right direction early - and he insists that the Bell Centre faithful deserve their fair share of credit for that with another incredible outpouring of support in a big win. "It was a good game where the new players contributed in a really important way. It was fun to see that. It was the first game for Carey [in Montreal] in a long time. He was very solid. He made big stops and he played with a lot of confidence," said Therrien. "I loved the welcome from our fans to our new players, especially Shea Weber. They proved again that they're the best fans in the league." Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for