Claude Julien makes lineup changes vs. Hurricanes with Carey Price starting in goal while Mike Reilly and Matthew Peca get back in lineup.
Canadiens Game Day: Habs looking to rebound from blowout loss to Wild – Montreal Gazette
Just about every team in the NHL is going to suffer at least a couple of blowout losses during the 82-game regular season. Good teams are the ones that are able to bounce back from them.
The Canadiens will have an opportunity to bounce back from Tuesday night’s 7-1 loss to the Wild in Minnesota when they face the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night at the Bell Centre (7:30 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio).
“I don’t think you have to sit there and just accept it,” coach Claude Julien said about the loss in Minnesota after the Canadiens’ morning skate Thursday at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. “But at the same time, you always have to look and every team has those games. There’s not a team that’s not going to go through that — or very few that (won’t) go through one of those nights where it just doesn’t work out. We’re no different.
“I think the biggest thing in those situations is to park that game and then to really focus on what’s ahead of us.”
What’s ahead for the Canadiens is a three-game home stand against three Eastern Conference rivals: the Hurricanes, the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night and the Boston Bruins next Monday night.
“It doesn’t mean we don’t care and don’t look at it in a way that it’s a learning experience for us,” Julien said about the blowout loss in Minnesota. “But at the same time, it happens and this was one of those games where pucks were going in. We gave up two goals 5-on-5, the rest were all special teams. Four power-play goals we gave and we gave a short-handed one. So I think we can definitely be better.”
Said Brendan Gallagher after Thursday’s morning skate: “Obviously, we were disappointed with our effort (in Minnesota). But it’s an opportunity to show what type of team we are, show that we’re able to respond. It’s not the easiest thing to do. I think it takes some character within the group. But certainly we feel like we have it, so it’s a good opportunity for us to go out there and prove it rather than talk about it.”
This will be the second of three games between the Canadiens and Hurricanes this season. The Hurricanes beat the Canadiens 2-1 at the Bell Centre on Nov. 27 when Carolina goalie Curtis McElhinney stopped 48 of the 49 shots he faced. The season series between these two teams will wrap up when the Canadiens visit Carolina on March 24.
The Hurricanes are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Maple Leafs Tuesday night in Toronto.
Julien will make three lineup changes from the game in Minnesota with Carey Price starting in goal against the Hurricanes, while Matthew Peca takes Nicolas Deslauriers’s spot on the fourth line and Mike Reilly replaces David Schlemko on defence.
Antti Niemi allowed seven goals on 23 shots in Minnesota before being replaced in the third period by Price, who stopped all nine shots he faced. Niemi now has a 4-3-1 record with a 4.14 goals-against average and a .876 save percentage, while Price is 11-8-4 with a 2.89 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage. Price has won his last three starts and four of his last five games.
Charles Hudon will join Deslauriers and Schlemko as a healthy scratch against the Hurricanes. It will be the seventh straight game that Hudon is a healthy scratch. Peca had been a healthy scratch for the last three games and seven of the last eight.
Here’s how the Canadiens’ lines and defence pairings looked at Thursday’s morning skate:
Drouin – Domi – Shaw
Tatar – Danault – Gallagher
Byron – Kotkaniemi – Lehkonen
Agostino – Chaput – Peca
Deslauriers – Hudon
Kulak – Weber
Reilly – Petry
Benn – Juulsen
Armia skates in Brossard
Forward Joel Armia, who hasn’t played since suffering a knee injury during a game in New York against the Rangers on Nov. 6, skated with a member of the Canadiens’ training staff following the team’s morning skate Thursday in Brossard.
After suffering the injury, the Canadiens said Armia’s recovery period would be 6-8 weeks. He has now been out for five weeks. Before being injured, Armia had 3-4-7 totals in 15 games.
Armia is the only player on the Canadiens’ injured list now that Noah Juulsen has recovered from a facial fracture and returned to the lineup. The Canadiens’ current ironman is Max Domi, who will play in his 147th consecutive game Thursday night against the Hurricanes, followed by Jeff Petry (145) and Brendan Gallagher (139).
Where the Canadiens stand
Heading into Thursday night’s game, the Canadiens (15-11-5) were holding the second wild-card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Canadiens ranked 15th in the NHL in offence, scoring an average of 3.06 goals per game, and 23rd in defence, allowing an average of 3.26. They ranked 30th on the power play (13.5 per cent), 26th in penalty-killing (76.0 per cent) and 30th in faceoffs (47.6 per cent).
Domi was leading the Canadiens in scoring with 14-17-31 totals, followed by Jonathan Drouin (10-16-26), Tomas Tatar (12-12-24), Petry (5-17-22) and Gallagher (13-6-19).
Where the Hurricanes stand
Heading into Thursday night’s game, the Hurricanes (13-12-4) were in 12th place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Hurricanes ranked 30th in the NHL in offence, scoring an average of 2.45 goals per game, and sixth in defence, allowing an average of 2.86. They ranked 23rd on the power play (16.0 per cent), 13th in penalty-killing (80.0 per cent) and eighth in faceoffs (51.7 per cent).
Sebastian Aho was leading the Hurricanes in scoring with 8-20-28 totals, followed by Teuvo Teravainen (5-15-20), Justin Williams (6-10-16), Micheal Ferland (11-4-15) and Andrei Svechnikov (6-7-13).
The Canadiens have a practice scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday in Brossard when they will prepare to face the Ottawa Senators Saturday night at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., SN, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio).
The Canadiens will have a day off on Sunday, followed by a busy week with four games in six days. The Boston Bruins will be at the Bell Centre Monday night (7:30 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio) before the Canadiens go on a three-game road trip, playing the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday night (8:30 p.m., SN, SN360, RDS, TSN 690 Radio), the Arizona Coyotes Thursday night (9 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio) and the Vegas Golden Knights Saturday afternoon (4 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio).