Montreal Canadiens

DeKeyser earns high praise from Babcock


If Danny DeKeyser were a car, he wouldn’t be flashy like a Ferrari or Lamborghini, or even that awesome car Homer built that played La Cucaracha with its horn.

Which is to say, DeKeyser isn’t P.K. Subban or Erik Karlsson, two past Norris Trophy winners with the ability to both put up points and bring the crowd to its feet. (Nor is he a defenseman that sings La Cucaracha.)

That said, DeKeyser will get you from A to B, and he’ll do it with the minimum amount of hassle.

And as with cars, there’s a lot to be said for reliability.

Per the Detroit Free Press, Wings coach Mike Babcock says DeKeyser “makes the least mistakes of anybody on our back end. He’s an elite skater, he’s got an elite mind, he’s ultra competitive, he comes every day ready to play.”

That’s high praise for a 24-year-old who wasn’t even drafted. DeKeyser, you’ll recall, signed with the Wings in March of 2013 as a free agent out of college.

In the short time since turning pro, DeKeyser has become yet another late-blooming d-man to make an impact in the NHL, joining the likes of current undrafted players Mark Giordano, Dan Boyle, Dan Girardi, Chris Tanev, and Torey Krug, as well as past stars like former Wing Brian Rafalski.

Related: Undrafted Giordano has some draft advice for NHL GMs

Goalie nods: Calgary sticks with Ramo versus Boston


All the latest from the blue paint…

Karri goes for Flames

Karri Ramo will make his second consecutive start for the Flames tonight when they host Boston at the Saddledome.

Ramo, a surprise starter against Vancouver on Saturday, played very well in his rare appearance, stopping 28 of 30 shots for just his ninth win of the season. The decision to start Ramo came after Jonas Hiller — Calgary’s goalie of record for eight straight games from Jan. 27 to Feb. 12 — had lost two of his last three starts, including a 5-3 defeat in L.A. in which he was hooked in the third period.

For the Bruins, Tuukka Rask is likely to start in goal.


Rangers at Isles: Cam Talbot vs. Jaroslav Halak

‘Canes at Sens: Cam Ward vs. Robin Lehner

Habs at Wings: Carey Price vs. Jimmy Howard

Oilers at Jets: Viktor Fasth vs. Michael Hutchinson

Coyotes at Avs: Mike McKenna vs. Semyon Varlamov

Wild at Canucks: Devan Dubnyk vs. Eddie Lack

Bolts at Kings: Andrei Vasilevskiy vs Jonathan Quick

Report: Habs’ Gonchar to miss game vs. Red Wings

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Montreal Canadiens defenseman Sergei Gonchar is expected to miss Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings due to an upper body injury.

Gonchar suffered the injury Saturday night thanks to a first period hit from Leafs’ forward David Clarkson.

Clarkson was assessed a major penalty for interference, five for fighting and a game misconduct on the play.

According to Lavoie, Clarkson isn’t expected to face supplemental discipline for the hit.

Gonchar has 12 points in 38 games this season while registering a plus-8 rating and averaging 18:37 in ice time.

Habs’ Subban stands up for Phil Kessel


The Canadiens and Maple Leafs are fierce rivals, but Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban put that aside to support Toronto forward Phil Kessel following the Habs’ 2-1 shootout victory over them tonight.

“I don’t think Phil (Kessel) gets enough credit for his personality,” Subban told Montreal Gazette writer Dave Stubbs. “He’s a personable guy if he knows you. If you put a microphone in (Kessel’s) face and ask him stupid questions, he’s not going to show that (personable) side of himself.

“I don’t think (Kessel) gets enough credit for showing his personality. He’s an outgoing guy and he’s really funny.”

Kessel has certainly taken quite a bit of heat this season. Some of that comes with the fact that he’s the best and highest paid player on a team that’s in a free fall, but that’s not the extent of it. For example, after Leafs coach Randy Carlyle was fired, another former Toronto bench boss, Ron Wilson, called Kessel unreliable, which led to a heated exchange between Kessel and Toronto Star reporter Dave Feschuk over his coachability.

At this point Kessel might feel resigned to the possibility that the Maple Leafs will trade him, which wouldn’t be an unreasonable thing for Toronto to do for reasons that aren’t at all related to his personality.

Subban logs unreal minutes as Habs top Leafs


The Toronto Maple Leafs managed to survive until a shootout tonight, but as has become their standard in 2015, they were defeated. In this case it was a 2-1 shootout loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

Toronto has only won two of 19 games since New Year’s Day. Of those 17 losses, this is just the second time that the Maple Leafs have managed to secure a consolation point.

This one got off to an eventful start as Leafs forward David Clarkson sparred with Brandon Prust and then later slammed defenseman Sergei Gonchar from behind, which resulted in another fight against Nathan Beaulieu.

Clarkson was booted from the game, but Gonchar suffered an upper-body injury while fellow Canadiens blueliner Beaulieu was assessed five minutes for fighting, two for instigating, and a 10-minute misconduct.

That put incredible pressure on Montreal’s remaining defensemen and P.K. Subban in particular was asked to pick up the slack. He logged an incredible 35:21 minutes of ice time, which is 3:04 minutes more than his previous career-high, per the’s Аrpon Basu.

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price was also a big contributor, turning aside 28 of 29 Leafs shots prior to the shootout, although his counterpart Jonathan Bernier put forth a great performance as well.

Montreal has won four of its last five games, giving the squad a 36-15-4 record. The Canadiens are tied with Tampa Bay for the Atlantic Division lead with 74 points, although Montreal has played in three fewer games.