Mike Halford

After two games, Habs send prized prospect McCarron back down to AHL

Michael McCarron’s time with Montreal is over — for now.

McCarron, the hulking forward that’s regarded as one of the Habs’ best prospects, has been demoted to AHL St. John’s, per TVA.

The demotion means McCarron, who was recalled last week, won’t get a chance to face the Wild when the Canadiens play in Minnesota tonight (NBCSN, 8 p.m. ET).

The decision to send him down comes after the 20-year-old played 12:10 in his NHL debut against the Stars — taking four penalty minutes in a 6-2 loss — and then playing just 5:58 in last night’s 5-1 loss in Nashville.

McCarron only played three shifts for 1:50 TOI in the final period against the Preds.

At 6-foot-6 and 231 pounds, McCarron — the 25th overall pick in 2013 — has utilized his size to great success, most notably with the IceCaps.

He has 13 goals and 24 points in 28 games this year, leading the team in goals while sitting second in scoring.



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    Columbus’ Werenski named Team USA captain for World Juniors, Matthews an alternate

    2015 NHL Draft - Round One
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    The highest-drafted player on the U.S. roster has been chosen to wear the “C” at the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships.

    Zach Werenski, taken eighth overall by Columbus at the 2015 draft, was named team captain on Tuesday.

    He’ll take the reins of a leadership group that includes Minnesota prospect Louie Belpedio, Ottawa prospect Colin White and the guy who will likely go higher at this year’s draft than Werenski did last year — Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 overall selection for 2016.

    “We’re excited about our leadership group here in Finland,” head coach Ron Wilson said, per USA Hockey. “Zach, Louie, Auston and Colin have led by example since day one in Lake Placid this August and have the respect of everybody in the room.”

    Werenski, 18, is the second-youngest player to ever captain the American juniors. Last year, Jack Eichel became the youngest captain in the program’s history.

    Canucks won’t dress Miller against Bolts, recall Cannata

    Erik Karlsson Ryan Miller

    Ryan Miller won’t be in goal tonight when Vancouver takes on the Lightning in Tampa Bay.

    Heck, he won’t even be on the bench.

    After exiting Sunday’s shootout loss to Florida with cramps, Miller will be held out of tonight’s tilt entirely — on Tuesday, the Canucks announced that Jacob Markstrom would start, while recently-recalled Joe Cannatta will back up.

    If this was a scheduled start for Markstrom, giving Miller a night off isn’t a huge story. The 35-year-old has been one of the NHL’s busiest netminders through the first three months of the year, sitting tied for second in starts (28) and third in minutes played (1664:53).

    Markstrom, who missed time with an injury earlier this season that forced Miller into extra action, is 1-3-2 with a .911 save percentage and 2.76 GAA.

    Avs’ Berra (ankle) to undergo MRI after hallway soccer injury

    Reto Berra

    Patrick Roy said he wanted to pull starting netminder Semyon Varlamov from last night’s ugly 7-4 home loss to Toronto, but couldn’t.


    Because he didn’t have another goalie.

    Prior to the loss, backup Reto Berra suffered an ankle injury playing hallway soccer during warmup, per the Denver Post. That kept Berra from entering the game and kept Varlamov on the hook for six goals — on just 21 shots — as Colorado saw its five-game winning streak snapped.

    Berra is set to undergo an MRI today.

    Should the ankle injury be significant, it’d be a pretty big blow for the Swiss netminder. Berra was in the midst of a strong bounce-back campaign following a disappointing ’14-15 — though his record (5-8-0) leaves something to be desired, he does have a solid save percentage (.922) and GAA (2.41).

    If Berra is out, it’s likely that Calvin Pickard will be recalled from AHL San Antonio.

    Slumping Habs blown out again, this time in Nashville

    Dustin Tokarski

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Pekka Rinne made 35 saves and Nashville beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 on Monday night, giving the Predators their first winning streak in more than a month.

    Shea Weber had a goal and two assists, and Roman Josi and Calle Jarnkrok each added a goal and an assist. Colin Wilson scored an empty-netter and had two assists as Nashville won its second straight, something the Predators hadn’t done since Nov. 14 and 17.

    Alex Galchenyuk scored a power-play goal for Montreal, which lost its fourth straight. The Canadiens have dropped eight of nine.

    Montreal coach Michel Therrien changed goalies, inserting Mike Condon for Dustin Tokarski after Ryan Ellis‘ goal in the third period put Nashville up 3-0 on 14 shots.

    This was the second game of an eight-game road trip for Montreal around the NHL’s Christmas break, and the Canadiens took eight of the first nine shots.

    Montreal outshot Nashville 36-19 but got only one goal that counted past Rinne.

    The Predators had been outshooting opponents with few goals to show for their efforts in dropping 11 of 15 until beating Minnesota 3-2 on Saturday night. Nashville appeared very comfortable playing tight defense, and Weber scored on a slap shot at 8:40 of the first period to put the Predators up 1-0 on their second shot of the game.

    Rinne stopped all 14 shots in the period, including a nice glove save on a shot from in front by Canadiens center David Desharnais.

    Nashville forward Paul Gaustad had a short-handed chance that went across the crease, and the Predators didn’t manage a shot on goal in the second until Canadiens right wing Dale Weise was caught holding Craig Smith. Josi scored his ninth on a slap shot at 8:22 off an assist from defensive partner Weber, putting Nashville up 2-0.

    The Predators made it 3-0 just after a man advantage ended, with Ellis scoring his third off an assist from Wilson at 3:08 to chase Tokarski from the Montreal net. Jarnkrok padded the lead at 8:58 with a wrister off Wilson’s second assist of the game.

    Montreal thought it at least avoided a shutout when Daniel Carr scored off a rebound midway through the third, but Nashville coach Peter Laviolette won his challenge for contact with Rinne.

    The Canadiens finally did prevent a shutout when Galchenyuk scored his eighth off a slap shot on a 4-on-3 at 12:08.

    Wilson got his second goal this season with 2:05 left for the final margin.

    NOTES: Weber has 15 points in December. … Weber and Josi both are on three-game point streaks, and Weber posted his sixth multipoint game this season. … Nashville is 10 for 36 on the power play this month. … Nashville improved to 11-1-2 when leading after two periods.