Notebook – November 27, 2014

Posted on 27 November 2014 | Comments Off

BROSSARD – In today’s notebook, Therrien mixes things up on the power play, Gilbert talks depth on defense, and the Canadiens get set for a home-and-home with Buffalo. Trying something different: While the Canadiens’ power play has been clicking as of late, Michel Therrien’s troops still rank 25th in the league with the man advantage, lighting the lamp just 12.7 percent of the time on the year. With that in mind, the veteran bench boss decided to mix things up on Thursday at the Bell Sports Complex, sending four forwards out on the first wave of the power play, including Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais, Lars Eller and Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, along with defenseman P.K. Subban. “We want to try different looks. We worked at it at practice, but that doesn’t mean that we’re going to use it during games. We want to take some time to think about it. But, before we go into games, we believe that we need to practice it,” offered Therrien, whose club will battle a Sabres squad on Friday night in Buffalo that sits 24th in the league in short-handed situations. “We want our power play to have more of a shooting mentality. We want the guys to put more pucks on net, and we want to be able to move the puck around to create those opportunities. That’s the reason we worked on the power play.” Eller, who rotated in and out with Jiri Sekac on the power play during the on-ice session, insists the formation definitely has its advantages, especially if the group works as a cohesive unit. “I think that lots of the top five power plays in the league have four forwards. It’s not unusual at all,” confided Eller, who is still looking for his first power play goal of the season. “I think having four forwards can be very beneficial, but it all has to come together. If you don’t compete and work well together, it doesn’t matter. It starts with competing and executing plays. Once we do that, we can talk about all the other stuff.” One player who is fairly familiar with the formation Therrien utilized on Thursday is Parenteau, who got a healthy dose of it during his time with the Colorado Avalanche. “It gives us more options. A guy like me might play at the point, and that will allow me to go down low and to give David an option at the side of the net,” offered Parenteau, who sits tied for the team lead with two power play markers in 2014-15. “I played the point in Colorado practically all of last season, so I’m used to playing there. It’s a position I like to play.” The second wave of the power play featured forwards Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher, along with defensemen Andrei Markov and Sergei Gonchar. Close to the vest: While Michel Therrien has already decided whether or not the Canadiens will feature six or seven defensemen against the Sabres on Friday night, he wasn’t prepared to reveal that choice before the team departed for Western New York, opting instead to make it known on game day. “Right now, we’re going through a stage where there’s going to be inside competition. We’ve played with seven defensemen. I’ve made my decision, but you’ll find out on Friday,” explained Therrien, who did confirm that Carey Price would get the start in goal on Friday night. “You need defensemen. You need depth. We find that it’s a luxury we have. We need to have a good mix, and we believe that we’ve got that good mix right now.” Veteran rearguard Tom Gilbert is certainly in agreement there. “I’ve been on teams before where one guy goes down and all of a sudden there’s a domino effect. It’s just the way the game goes. We’ve been fortunate to stay healthy,” offered Gilbert, who ranks fourth on the team in average ice time per game, logging 19:36 of ice time per outing. “It’s good that we have great depth like that. It’s good that we’re staying healthy, and it’s nice to know that if something does happen, we have guys who can fill those roles.” Staying grounded: The Canadiens might sit 19 points clear of the Sabres in the overall standings, but that doesn’t mean Michel Therrien & Co. are taking their upcoming back-to-back tilts against Buffalo lightly. Despite getting off to a miserable start to the year, the Sabres have made strides as of late, recently stringing together their first multi-game winning streak of the season. “They’re a team that’s been playing a lot better since the start of the year. They’ve rattled off a few consecutive wins,” mentioned Parenteau, who scored the shootout winner against the Sabres back on November 5 at the First Niagara Center to lift the Canadiens to a 2-1 victory. “It’s a bit cliché, but there are no easy wins in this league. You have to be ready every night, especially on the road. They’ll be ready for us. ” Therrien shared similar thoughts in his post-practice press conference on Thursday. “Every game is important. We approach every game with enthusiasm and with a serious nature. It won’t be any different on Friday night,” stressed Therrien. “Buffalo is a team that got back on track. They weren’t easy to play against the last time around. They’ve started to play solid hockey. It will be a good test.” Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com. Subban, Price sit atop leaderboard

IIHF WJC individual tickets on sale Nov. 29

Posted on 27 November 2014 | Comments Off

MONTREAL, Que. – Hockey Canada, in partnership with the host committee for the IIHF World Junior Championship, announced Thursday the availability of single-game tickets for Montreal games, on sale beginning at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT on Saturday, Nov. 29. Tickets will be available to Montreal fans online by visiting www.hockeycanada.ca/tickets, and in person at the Bell Centre box office. “We’ve got less than a month to go until the first puck drops, and we are so excited to be releasing single-game tickets in Montreal, especially to those looking for the perfect holiday present for the hockey fan in their family,” said Marie-Christine Boucher, Montreal general manager for the IIHF World Junior Championship. “In Montreal, like elsewhere, we are always listening to our fans and are excited to provide an even more affordable and flexible ticket option. Our fans have been asking for it, and we’re looking forward to having the Bell Centre full come Boxing Day.” The single-game tickets, an even more flexible option for the fans, have been released in addition to the three mini ticket packages and the full-tournament package, which are still available. In Montreal, 13-game ticket packages include one Team Canada pre-competition game, four Team Canada preliminary round games, six other round robin games, and two quarter-finals and remain the best ticket pricing option for the tournament on a per-game basis. For more information on tickets for IIHF World Junior Championship and RBC Road to the World Juniors pre-competition schedule, CLICK HERE. For more information on Hockey Canada, Canada’s National Junior Team and the IIHF World Junior Championship, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca, www.hockeycanada.ca/2015juniors, or follow on social media at www.facebook.com/worldjuniors, www.twitter.com/hc_wjc and www.twitter.com/hc_men.

A big addition

Posted on 26 November 2014 | Comments Off

BROSSARD – Eric Tangradi is looking forward to a fresh start in Montreal. The 25-year-old winger, who was acquired by the Canadiens on October 5 in a trade that sent Peter Budaj and Patrick Holland to the Winnipeg Jets, hit the ice on Wednesday alongside the rest of Michel Therrien’s troops at the Bell Sports Complex after being recalled from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs on Tuesday evening. Skating on the Habs’ fourth line at practice alongside Manny Malhotra and Dale Weise, it didn’t take the Philadelphia, PA native long to feel at ease in his new surroundings. That’s not surprising given that Tangradi believes he can contribute to the Canadiens’ cause from the start. “I think the guys in the dressing room all motivate each other and they get each other to play at levels that maybe somewhere else they wouldn’t be able to reach. I think it’s a great opportunity for me,” offered Tangradi, who put up two goals and six points in 11 games during his stint in Hamilton. “When I’m playing fast and moving my feet and playing physical, I think I’m a pretty effective player. This dressing room is filled with speed, so I think it’s going to be a great opportunity to not only help out, but to develop my game as well.” Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 221 lbs., Tangradi boasts the physical attributes to be a force up front, adding an additional layer of grit to a line that already prides itself on giving opposing defenders all they can handle with their hard-nosed style of play. “I think I add some size to the lineup. I’m just going to play fast and physical. I’m strong on pucks, and I think I’m a guy that can help out the bottom six as far as bringing physicality,” explained Tangradi, who registered three goals and six points in 55 games with the Jets last season. “I’ve got great linemates with Malhotra and Weise. We’ll see how things play out, but I think it’s a line that with our size and our skill, can definitely be counted on.” One player who knows exactly what the Canadiens’ newest No. 17 brings to the table is P.K. Subban, who was a teammate of Tangradi’s for three seasons while the pair donned the colors of the OHL’s Belleville Bulls in the mid-to-late 2000s. “I’m obviously happy to see him here. When he first got traded, I explained to him that he could be a guy that we needed on our team,” praised Subban, who gave Tangradi a lift to practice on Wednesday. “He brings some size and some grit. He was our captain in Belleville for a number of years, so I know what he brings in terms of leadership. He’s a good guy to have in the room as well, so I’m very happy to see him up here with the team.” With a new lease on his NHL life, Tangradi is focused on making the most of his opportunity with the CH, utilizing lessons learned in recent weeks to his advantage. “When I got put on waivers for the first time [in Winnipeg in early October], I think that’s one of the lowest times I’ve had in my career. You do a lot of looking in the mirror and evaluating yourself as a person and as a player,” confided Tangradi, who boasts five goals, 15 points and 69 penalty minutes in 136 career NHL games. “Getting traded was something I was extremely excited for. It was a fresh opportunity. I was excited to go to Hamilton to try and get my game back, and to get the confidence I had when I was playing every night. When I was down there, I was playing 20 minutes a game, and playing in every situation. I really think my game is better off now that I did go to Hamilton versus say I just came here and maybe I’d be in and out of the lineup trying to find that confidence.” That renewed sense of self-assurance will undoubtedly serve Tangradi well in his quest to secure a full-time gig in his new hockey home. “Coming into the pros, there was a lot of pressure on me to score, and I didn’t focus on the things that potentially got me to this level. Over the last few years and the experience I had in the beginning of the season, I think sticking to my foundation as far as being a fast and physical winger is something that has to come first, and the rest of my game will come later,” concluded Tangradi, who has dished out 259 hits since making his NHL debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 2009-10. “I’m here for a purpose. I’m going to try and do my job and stick around for as long as I can.” Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.

The Montreal Canadiens mourn the passing of Gilles Tremblay

Posted on 26 November 2014 | Comments Off

PRESS RELEASE MONTREAL (November 26, 2014) – It is with deep regret that the Montreal Canadiens organization learned of the passing of Mr. Gilles Tremblay, who died peacefully in Montreal in the early hours of November 26. The former player and long-time broadcaster was 75. The Montmorency native, just outside the provincial capital, was a fine two-way player throughout his career with the Montreal Canadiens in the 1960s. After spending four seasons in the Canadiens’ farm system, with the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens, where he played in the Memorial Cup tournament, Gilles Tremblay earned a spot on the Canadiens roster. At 22, playing his first season with the parent club in Montreal, he recorded seven goals in 45 games. He got to play his first NHL game at the Forum on November 12, 1960, in a match-up against the Detroit Red Wings. He started on a line with Bernard Geoffrion and Jean Béliveau, assigned the job of checking none other than the legendary Gordie Howe. In just his second season with the Canadiens, in 1961-62, he tallied 32 goals, just one shy of team leader Claude Provost. Known for his checking skills and his scoring touch, Gilles Tremblay reached the 20-goal plateau five times in his shortened hockey career. Tremblay, who perfected the art of successfully silencing opposing star players, helped the Canadiens earn their 13th Stanley Cup in 1965. In his nine seasons with the Canadiens, he etched his name four times on the Holy Grail. Various injuries and asthma causing serious breathing problems forced Gilles Tremblay to retire at age 33. In 509 regular season games, he scored 168 goals and 162 helpers. In Stanley Cup playoffs he added 23 points, including nine goals, in 48 games. But Gilles Tremblay would remain close to the game he loved, working as a colour analyst for the French television broadcasts of Canadiens games on La Soirée du hockey, alongside the legendary René Lecavalier and Richard Garneau. His excellent work in this field was recognized in 2002 with the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award and his induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the broadcasters section.

Subban, Price sit atop leaderboard

Posted on 26 November 2014 | Comments Off

NEW YORK -- The Chicago Blackhawks occupy four of the top 10 spots in the first week of voting in the 2015 NHL All-Star Fan Vote presented by SiriusXM. Forwards Patrick Kane (73,551) and Jonathan Toews (71,734), defenseman Duncan Keith (66,723), and goaltender Corey Crawford (51,212) ranked fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth, respectively. More than 3.2 million votes were cast in the first week of voting. Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban was the top vote-getter in week one with 100,133 votes. Teammate Carey Price collected 83,612 votes for the third spot in the top 10 and top spot among goaltenders. Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby holds the second spot in votes with 87,858, while teammate Kris Letang's 51,502 votes were enough for the ninth spot. The leaderboard of the top vote-getters is available at NHL.com/vote. Fans can join the conversation by using the official hashtag #NHLAllStar. See below for a complete list of voting results through week one. 2015 NHL All-Star Fan Vote presented by Sirius XM (as of 11/24/14) Goaltenders Carey Price Montreal 83,612 Corey Crawford Chicago 51,121 Henrik Lundqvist NY Rangers 42,857 Jonathan Quick Los Angeles 33,961 Marc-Andre Fleury Pittsburgh 30,540 Pekka Rinne Nashville 29,923 Sergei Bobrovsky Columbus 27,944 Jonas Hiller Calgary 26,646 Tuukka Rask Boston 26,381 Jimmy Howard Detroit 21,870 Defensemen P.K. Subban Montreal 100,133 Duncan Keith Chicago 66,723 Kris Letang Pittsburgh 51,052 Shea Weber Nashville 49,640 Brent Seabrook Chicago 46,084 Andrei Markov Montreal 44,842 Drew Doughty Los Angeles 43,909 Mark Giordano Calgary 40,673 Erik Karlsson Ottawa 40,236 Niklas Kronwall Detroit 29,976 Zdeno Chara Boston 27,724 Roman Josi Nashville 24,117 Olli Maatta Pittsburgh 22,552 Ryan McDonagh NY Rangers 21,094 Jack Johnson Columbus 20,739 Mark Streit Philadelphia 20,083 Alex Pietrangelo St. Louis 19,945 TJ Brodie Calgary 19,788 Johnny Boychuk NY Islanders 19,323 Ryan Suter Minnesota 19,270 Kevin Shattenkirk St. Louis 16,597 Brent Burns San Jose 15,916 Victor Hedman Tampa Bay 12,931 Dion Phaneuf Toronto 11,524 Niklas Hjalmarsson Chicago 10,166 Danny DeKeyser Detroit 8,874 Cam Fowler Anaheim 8,268 Dan Girardi NY Rangers 8,246 Alexander Edler Vancouver 7,744 James Wisniewski Columbus 7,414 Forwards Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh 87,858 Patrick Kane Chicago 73,551 Jonathan Toews Chicago 71,734 Max Pacioretty Montreal 53,545 Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay 46,986 Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh 46,733 Tyler Seguin Dallas 43,714 Pavel Datsyuk Detroit 35,251 Tomas Plekanec Montreal 33,068 Rick Nash NY Rangers 30,305 Patrick Sharp Chicago 29,024 Jakub Voracek Philadelphia 27,826 Henrik Zetterberg Detroit 24,512 Vladimir Tarasenko St. Louis 24,389 John Tavares NY Islanders 23,274 Phil Kessel Toronto 22,824 Jamie Benn Dallas 22,790 Martin St. Louis NY Rangers 22,681 Claude Giroux Philadelphia 22,307 Alex Ovechkin Washington 21,865 Alex Galchenyuk Montreal 21,701 Zemgus Girgensons Buffalo 21,059 Patrice Bergeron Boston 21,029 Gustav Nyquist Detroit 20,926 James Neal Nashville 18,813 Anze Kopitar Los Angeles 18,416 Zach Parise Minnesota 18,103 Ryan Johansen Columbus 16,023 Filip Forsberg Nashville 15,840 Marian Hossa Chicago 15,733

A very personal gift

Posted on 25 November 2014 | Comments Off

MONTREAL – Hundreds of fans took to the arena floor at the Bell Centre in conjunction with the Canadiens-evenko Blood Drive on Tuesday. Heeding Héma-Québec's call to make a difference by donating approximately ½ litre of blood, donors were also given the opportunity to meet and interact with Canadiens players, in addition to members of the coaching staff. Michel Therrien’s troops were pleased to spend time with donors, who came out in droves to support a worthy cause. “I think it’s very important to be here to generate awareness for good initiatives like this one. I think it’s a responsibility for professional athletes to attend these types of events. The fact that the Montreal Canadiens step up and make players available makes it even that much more special,” offered P.K. Subban, who was greeted with plenty of enthusiasm as he made his way around a jam packed rink. “Montreal has got the best fans in the world. They’re very passionate. Whenever you can use initiatives like this to get the fans out to support it and create awareness, it’s always great. It’s always fun to come out and interact with them.” While Subban is a Canadiens Blood Drive vet, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau made his first appearance at the event since joining the Habs over the summer. “It’s fun and it’s for a great cause. I’ve never experienced something like this with any of the other teams I’ve played with before. I think it’s a great idea. It’s good to have the players out to attract people to the event,” explained Parenteau. “I know sometimes it’s tough to get people to donate blood, so I think it’s an original idea to get the players out here to help. I really enjoy it.” The same can be said for the donors themselves, many of whom have a strong personal connection to blood drives like this one. “This marks the 40th time I’ve donated blood. My son died from leukemia. We stopped counting after he’d received 115 blood transfusions. I wouldn’t be able to give enough blood to make up for just how much he received,” confided Pointe-Claire resident, Helene Lacroix, who donated blood alongside her 19-year-old daughter, Clara. “I’ve always given blood. I think it’s important.” Montreal Canadiens owner, president and CEO, Geoff Molson, shared similar thoughts on Tuesday afternoon. “This is one of the best turnouts in the five years I’ve been here,” mentioned Molson. “The players always want to give back to the community. They have a very busy schedule, but there are certain events in the year that they like to come out for and support, and this is one of them. If you explain to them that these people are saving lives by giving blood, it resonates with them. They’re doing a good thing.” The Canadiens Blood Drive was initiated by Jean Beliveau and Claude Mouton back in 1981. According to Héma-Québec, it has helped save over 100,000 lives to date. Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.

Mano a mano

Posted on 24 November 2014 | Comments Off

MONTREAL – A goaltender and a shooter square off. A win or a loss lying squarely on the blade of a hockey stick. That’s what shootouts are all about. Installed in the NHL back in 2005-06, shootouts have decided the outcome of hundreds of games. And, as more and more young guns enter the NHL ranks, a bevy of spectacular new moves are being put to the test night in and night out. “We’re seeing a lot more creativity these days. The guys are ready to pull a rabbit out of their hat every time. They’ve not being very conservative. It’s rare that you’ll go up against a standard shot. You have to be ready for a whole bag of tricks,” stressed Carey Price, who boasts a .712 save percentage in shootout situations, which currently ranks him eight among goaltenders who’ve participated in 40 or more shootouts over the course of their careers. “You just need to read the play and react. We see guys doing some things in particular, and some of them have tendencies. But, I don’t want to just stick to that. I did it in the past, and it got me in trouble. I just try to be patient and react.” According to the 27-year-old netminder, the level of imagination and creativity that some players add to their dekes can often backfire on the shooter himself. “A guy that comes in with speed and keeps things simple is the hardest guy to stop,” confessed Price, who hasn’t given up a shootout tally as of yet in 2014-15, stopping all seven shooters he’s faced. “Sometimes, you’re waiting to go up against something extravagant, and when a guy keeps things simple, it goes pretty fast. Sometimes, simple is best.” Dustin Tokarski, who hasn’t dropped a shootout decision in his young NHL career, has a similar approach as Price in that regard. “My approach is really just to go out there without really knowing what the guy is going to do. I read his movements and I react accordingly,” mentioned Tokarski, who has already been involved in two shootouts in 2014-15, stopping eight of 11 shots against. “Over time, players try new things and they have new ideas. With videos, YouTube and those types of things, it’s easy to get inspired. Guys learn special moves and they try fancier dekes. There’s a lot more variety today than in the past.” While he might not see a ton of game action in his backup role, Tokarski knows full well that he can be a big help to his teammates in the shootout department whether he’s tending goal or not. “If I’m watching a game from the bench, I’ll focus on the opposing goalie and try to find his weaknesses. Then, I’ll give the guys some advice,” offered Tokarski. “Our guys know what they’re doing. They’re in the league for a reason. And, the goalies are outstanding, too. I’ve just come into the league, so I’m still absorbing as much information as I possibly can.” If the Canadiens are well-served with Price and Tokarski between the pipes, they’re equally as fortunate up front with shootout specialists Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and David Desharnais in their arsenal. “It’s a lot of fun. You can only dream of it when you’re young, to find yourself in a shootout in front of 20,000 people. When it happens, it’s special. You feel the intensity of the situation all over your body,” explained Parenteau, who has lit the lamp in the shootout 50 percent of the time. “It’s even cooler when you have a chance to give your team the win and the puck is on your stick. You focus even more, and you really want to succeed.” Having already scored three shootout winners this season, Parenteau believes that even if the shootout is a situation in which individual talent takes center stage, it can actually spark the entire bench. “It’s personal, but at the same time, you really feel like your team is behind you. You feel the guys standing up. You know that they really want you to score. You don’t feel so alone,” underlined Parenteau, who admits to working on several different dekes in order to keep opposing goaltenders guessing. “It’s definitely stressful when the coach taps you on the shoulder and sends you out there, but over time I’ve learned how to manage my stress level. The first few times I did it, I really didn’t know what I was doing. I told myself that whatever happens, happens. Now, I’m more in control. I have confidence in my abilities and I’m able to block out the stress.” And, what does Parenteau recall from his first shootout experience? “I remember my first shootout. I was in Portland in the American Hockey League. I don’t think I scored, though. I was way too nervous,” offered Parenteau with a laugh, adding that he eventually scored a few years later in Hartford. “It was a great feeling.” Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.

Home for a rest

Posted on 24 November 2014 | Comments Off

NEW YORK – The Habs had a tough night at the office on Sunday against the Rangers. Playing their eighth game in 12 nights in one of the team’s busiest stretches on the schedule, the Habs ran out of gas against a well-rested Rangers group on Sunday night. Dropping a 5-0 decision in New York, the Canadiens weren’t able to beat Henrik Lundqvist, whose team enjoyed a longer-than-planned break after their Friday night game in Buffalo was postponed due to snow. Having been outhit, outshot and outscored in the game, the Canadiens’ head coach didn’t have a hard time explaining what went wrong during his postgame presser. “You have to look at the game as a whole and there’s no denying it: we were bad tonight,” admitted Michel Therrien, whose team has gone 6-2 in the past eight games. “I felt like we lacked energy, and that’s normal. We’ll regroup this week, we’ll get some rest and we’ll look to next weekend. When we look at our last eight games in 12 nights, that’s what I’ll take away from it.” While the team would have preferred to end the weekend with a win in the tail end of a back-to-back series for the fifth time in as many circumstances this season, they weren’t able to follow up a 2-0 shutout in Boston with a victory over the Rangers. “Whether you lose by five or you lose by one, you still lost,” underlined P.K. Subban, who was the second-most used Hab on Sunday night behind Alexei Emelin. “Games like this where we know exactly why we lost, it’s easier to just turn the page. “I don’t think we were good enough from the start,” added Subban, whose team allowed a goal less than halfway through the opening frame. “The first 10 minutes are the most important minutes in the game and we didn’t do a good enough job managing the puck. We put ourselves in a position to lose.” Heading into the first intermission down by one but only being outshot 12-11 on road ice, the Canadiens were then outshot 22-10 in the next two periods, allowing a Rangers goal 35 seconds into the second before giving up another three to close out the night. “It’s no secret we played a sloppy game. They were just a better team tonight. It would be easy to say that they were well-rested and we weren’t, but it wasn’t just physical, it was mental out there,” stressed fellow assistant captain Max Pacioretty. “They were dominating us in every aspect of the game, physically and mentally. Teams out west travel way more than we do so that’s definitely not an excuse at all. Everyone is tired in this league, it’s a demanding schedule, but at the end of the day, the teams that win are the ones who find a way to get through that.” Despite the setback in New York, the Canadiens are still sitting first in the NHL with a 16-6-1 record heading back to Montreal, with a four-day break now standing between them and the Buffalo Sabres. Subban doesn’t envision any problems getting motivated to kick off the team’s next win streak. “I don’t think that’s going to be an issue. When we’ve gone through tough times this year, we’ve always stayed pretty positive in the dressing room,” mentioned Subban. “I think we’ll forget about this quickly and move past it. We have a couple of days to rest and get ourselves prepared for some important hockey we have coming down the stretch. This will be our biggest rest until the Christmas break so it’s important for us to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves and taking care of our bodies, but guys won’t have a problem staying positive.” - canadiens.com

The Numbers Game – November 23, 2014

Posted on 24 November 2014 | Comments Off

NEW YORK - Here's a numerical look at Sunday's game between the Canadiens and the Rangers in New York. 5 – Number of times so far this year that the Canadiens have played two games in as many nights, completing the tail end of their fifth back-to-back series of the campaign with a Sunday night tilt against the Rangers. 178 – Number of days since Dustin Tokarski last started a game at Madison Square Garden, returning to New York on Sunday for the first time since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final against the Rangers, on May 29, 2014. 5 – Consecutive number of periods in which the Canadiens have been unable to score at MSG, dating back to a 1-0 loss in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals last May. 2 – Number of times Manny Malhotra has seen the inside of the penalty box so far this season, earning just his second penalty of the year on Sunday almost exactly one month after taking his first penalty – also against the Rangers – on October 25. 2 – Number of times – in six starts this year – that Tokarski has allowed three goals in a game, with the only other three-goal outing coming when he came in to replace Carey Price against the Lightning on October 13. 4 – Number of hits dished out by Alexei Emelin in the outing, giving the Russian blue-liner 65 on the season to lead the Canadiens in that category. 1 – Rank still occupied by the Canadiens in the NHL standings despite the setback in New York, now owning a 16-6-1 record in 2014-15. - canadiens.com

Game Preview: Canadiens @ Rangers

Posted on 23 November 2014 | Comments Off

CANADIENS (16-5-1) @ RANGERS (8-7-4) The Canadiens will try to further cement their lead atop the NHL standings on Sunday night when they take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. On Saturday night, Michel Therrien’s troops posted a 2-0 win over the Bruins in Boston to secure their third straight victory over their Atlantic Division rivals this season. Carey Price made 33 stops to register his second shutout of the year. Dustin Tokarski will get the start in goal on Sunday night. It will be his sixth start of the season. The Canadiens’ backup netminder has been stellar when called upon in 2014-15, as evidenced by his .978 save percentage and his goals-against average of 1.78. Last Saturday night, Tokarski recorded his third win of the season. The Watson, SK native will go up against the Rangers for the first time since the playoffs last spring, when he took over between the pipes for Price, who was injured in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Head coach Michel Therrien hasn’t yet confirmed whether or not the Canadiens will feature any lineup changes for the tilt against New York. On Saturday night, the Habs’ bench boss utilized seven defensemen and 11 forwards once again. Nathan Beaulieu and Drayson Bowman were both healthy scratches. For their part, the Rangers will be playing their first game in four days. Their last outing was back on Wednesday, when they blanked the Flyers 2-0. Alain Vigneault’s club was supposed to take on the Sabres in Buffalo on Friday, but the game was postponed due to severe weather conditions in the area. New York has struggled in the early part of the 2014-15 campaign, winning just eight of their first 19 games. Traditionally among the statistical leaders in goal, Henrik Lundqvist boasts a 2.78 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage on the season. Up front, Rick Nash ranks third in the league with 13 goals. Sunday night’s game will be the second meeting between the two teams this season. The Canadiens bested the Rangers 3-1 at the Bell Centre back on October 25. Following the tilt in New York, the Canadiens will have four days off before hitting the ice against the Sabres in Buffalo next Friday night.

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