Blues can complete Canadian sweep Tuesday in Montreal

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The St. Louis Blues are four-for-four on their five-game Canadian road trip. After besting the Jets in a “street fight” yesterday, they can complete the perfect journey Tuesday in Montreal against the undefeated Canadiens.

Victories in Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver preceded Sunday’s win in Winnipeg. The Blues (5-1-0) have only lost once this season, 3-2 to the Wild in Minnesota.

Vladimir Tarasenko is leading the way offensively, as expected. But he’s not the only one who’s been scoring. Alexander Steen has three goals. Troy BrouwerScottie UpshallJori Lehtera, and rookie d-man Colton Parayko have two each. Add it up and no team has scored more goals (21) than St. Louis has.

The Blues didn’t get a ton of preseason love from the pundits. This is a team, after all, that’s repeatedly burned prognosticators with postseason letdowns. Perhaps people just got tired of picking them to win the Stanley Cup, only to watch them fall in the first round.

But at the very least, it looks like the Blues will once again win their share of games in the regular season.

Say, is it too early to debate which goalie should start in the playoffs?

Nope:

Canadiens’ first deficit of ’15-16 lasts less than three minutes

It’s finally happened.

For the first time this season, the Montreal Canadiens trailed in a game. Their deficit came courtesy of Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin, who flung the puck at goaltender Carey Price from a bad angle and was rewarded with his second career goal:

That extended Larkin’s season-opening point streak to five games as he continues to show why he’s playing for Detroit at the age of 19 despite the Red Wings’ tendency to wait for their prospects to hone their skills in the minors before earning a regular spot with the NHL club.

Of course, the fact that Montreal wasn’t behind in a game until its sixth contest of the season is remarkable. Even with the Canadiens’ rich history, their 5-0 start still set a franchise record.

Perhaps the Canadiens will be able to extend that winning streak. After all, their first deficit of the season lasted less than three minutes before Brendan Gallagher evened the game on a power play.

Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible:

 

 

Subban donates record $10M to Montreal Children’s Hospital

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On Wednesday, Habs blueliner P.K. Subban made a massive philanthropic gesture, donating $10 million dollars to Montreal Children’s Hospital.

“Montreal has become my second home,” Subban said, per CBC. “My love for Montreal is why I wanted to make a significant contribution to this city and this province.”

The donation is, per a release from the hospital, “the biggest philanthropic commitment by a sports figure in Canadian history.” Part of the money will go towards P.K.’s Helping Hands — a program that helps families struggling financially with their children’s illnesses — and the hospital has since named its atrium after Subban.

“As I was walking out of the backroom, I noticed the P.K. Subban lettering up there and I got goosebumps,” he said. “It’s not too many times I get goosebumps in what I do playing hockey for a very long time in front a lot of people. That’s probably the only time I got goosebumps in a long time.”

Though this latest gesture is by far the largest — at least financially speaking — Subban has a long history of community work, especially with children. Last year, a video of him giving local youths a tour of the Bell Center and an array of gifts — all while dressed undercover as a security guard — went viral; this summer, he joined some kids in an impromptu road hockey game in Westmount, a suburb of Montreal.

Canadiens move Galchenyuk to center

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The Montreal Canadiens could take a big step forward if Alex Galchenyuk does the same, so perhaps that will happen as he moves to his natural position.

That good news surfaced on Thursday, as the team discussed his transition from left wing to center heading into 2015-16.

It doesn’t sound like it was the easiest decision.

“Centerman is a hard position to learn,” Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said. “There’s a lot of responsibility as a centerman, offensively and defensively. There’s signs that hockey people, our staff, look for, and we felt that he wasn’t ready at the time. Now we feel that he is getting really close, and it’s time for us to know and for him to know if he can really fill that role.”

Galchenyuk isn’t just sliding into a more defensively taxing position; he’s doing so for a defensive-minded head coach in Michel Therrien.

It sounds like Therrien is taking a supportive approach, or at least he’s continuing to portray himself as a kinder and gentler bench boss.

“I don’t want Alex to lose any confidence,” Therrien said. “I think that’s a big part of having success as a player. But we’re at a time in his career where we have to go to the next level. This is what I shared with Alex and he embraced the challenge. He’s looking forward to it and I can’t wait for training camp to start.”

Therrien won’t be forced to stick with Galchenyuk if he flops down the middle, especially when you consider how rapidly coaches tweak line combinations.

Even so, it sounds like the team hopes to take a step forward along with the talented 21-year-old.