When the Montreal Canadiens take on the Dallas Stars tonight, they’ll be doing so without the help of Daniel Briere or Alexei Emelin. Both players are healthy, but coach Michel Therrien isn’t interested in using either of them, according to the Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey.
This isn’t the first time Briere has been sent to the press box and on top that, his playing time has been limited this season. The 36-year-old forward is averaging just 12:38 minutes per game after agreeing to a two-year, $8 million contract that runs through 2014-15.
Speaking about contracts that Montreal might regret, the decision to scratch Emelin comes just a couple months after they signed him to a four-year, $16.4 million contract. That deal doesn’t even take effect until next season and already there are causes for concern.
He started the season on the sidelines due to a knee injury and his playing time has dipped from 19:40 minutes per contest in the shortened campaign to just 17:35 since his return. It’s also a discouraging sign for Team Russia when it comes to the 2014 Winter Olympics. Their defensive core was already a significant question mark and Emelin’s struggles serves to further complicate things for them.
The Montreal Canadiens continue to roll, right on up to the top of the Atlantic Division.
The Canadiens took over first place in the division thanks to a 2-1 win over their long-time rivals, the Boston Bruins. In fact, the Habs jumped past the Bruins in the division standings.
The win improved Montreal’s record to 18-9-3, however the Bruins do have two games in hand on the Habs.
Trailing after the first period, the Canadiens got a pair of second-period goals from Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty, before holding on for the win after that.
Pacioretty now has four goals in his last five games.
But the story of this game wasn’t the score. In the first period, Bruins’ defenseman Johnny Boychuk was taken off the ice on a stretcher after being hit into the corner boards by Pacioretty.
The incident occurred less than five minutes into the game. Pacioretty was assessed a minor penalty for boarding.
“As soon as I saw the stretcher come out I wanted to puke. I felt awful,” said Pacioretty of the Boychuk incident, according to TSN’s John Lu.
According to Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com, a source indicated that the injury is to the lower back, but isn’t expected to be serious.
The New Jersey Devils lost Monday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens in the third period, but lost Adam Henrique to injury before that.
The Devils fell to the Canadiens by a final score of 3-2, after Montreal center Alex Galchenyuk scored just before the midway point of the third period to give his the lead.
Not only did the Devils lose this game in regulation, but Henrique suffered a lower-body injury and did not return for the third period, according to NHL.com.
The 23-year-old Henrique has six goals and 11 points in 28 games.
All the news and notes from around the crease…
Flyers turn to Sugar Ray
Ray Emery will be in goal tonight when Philly takes on the Wild in Minnesota.
Emery is 3-2-0 with a 1.42 GAA and. 947 save percentage in his last five starts, but is coming off a loss to Tampa Bay last Wednesday (in which he played well, stopping 31 of 34 shots). It’ll be interesting to see how he fares against a Wild team that has struggled offensively as of late, scoring just four goals over its last four games.
Speaking of the Wild, Josh Harding will be in goal. He last played in a 3-2 shootout loss to Colorado on Saturday, stopping 23 of 25 shots.
Brodeur goes for Devils
Tonight promises to be an emotional one for Martin Brodeur, as he’ll start at the Bell Center in Montreal for the first time since his father’s passing in late September.
Denis Brodeur was a longtime team photographer for the Canadiens, and Martin’s starts against the Habs have always carried a special narrative because of that. As such, Monday’s game promises to be especially poignant.
Brodeur hasn’t played in a while — Cory Schneider went back-to-back in wins over Carolina and Buffalo — so it’ll be curious to see how Brodeur reacts to an extended time off. The veteran netminder will be up against Carey Price in the Habs’ goal.
— Covered it fairly extensively on PHT already, but Cam Talbot will make his second straight start for the Rangers tonight at MSG vs. Winnipeg. Ondrej Pavelec goes for the Jets.
— Ben Scrivens is confirmed for L.A. tonight vs. St. Louis, but the Blues have yet to announce who the starter will be.
The Montreal Canadiens started early and finished strong against their long-time rivals from Toronto.
In a classic Saturday night match-up, the Canadiens triumphed over the Maple Leafs by a final score of 4-2, claiming their fifth victory in the last six games. The Habs have 11 of a possible 12 points in that span.
They didn’t waste any time putting the Leafs in the rear-view mirror.
Max Pacioretty scored 58 seconds into the game on a rebound opportunity, after his initial shot on a breakaway was stopped, as were the other two second chances he got on Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier.
Pacioretty also scored short-handed in the second period to put the Habs up four goals. He then used his stick like an sword, which seemed to fire up the Leafs.
Toronto got a pair of goals from James van Riemsdyk and Mason Raymond 22 seconds apart to make it interesting heading into the third period.
The comeback would fall short.
The Habs improved their record to 7-1-2 over the last 10 games. There are three other teams in the East with that many wins over this most recent 10-game stretch. They include the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers.