Habs defenseman Sergei Gonchar skated with teammates for the first time today since being knocked out of a game versus Toronto on Feb. 14, and discussed the incident that sidelined him — a hit from David Clarkson that netted the Leafs forward a game misconduct.
“The hit was from behind,” Gonchar said, per the Habs website. “Our game is rough enough, you don’t have to come up with such a hit.
“Maybe his excuse is that he didn’t see me turning at the last moment, but at the same time we should respect each other more and maybe slow down when you see somebody turning your back.”
Here’s the hit in question:
Gonchar, 40, has been a nice pickup for the Habs since coming over from Dallas in mid-November, scoring 12 points in 38 games while averaging 18:37 TOI per night. He said he’s approaching his return on a day-by-day basis and, while he was wearing a non-contract jersey on Monday, has been medically cleared.
With both Gonchar and Alexei Emelin out, Montreal has been going with a seven-man unit of P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov, Tom Gilbert, Mike Weaver, Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn.
Quick, Sedin, Pacioretty named NHL’s three stars of the week
Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick, Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin and Montreal’s Max Pacioretty were named the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 22, the league announced on Monday.
Quick went 3-0-0 with a 1.33 goals-against average and .959 save percentage to backstop the Kings (28-18-12, 68 points) to three consecutive victories, including a 2-1 triumph over the rival San Jose Sharks in the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
Sedin registered four consecutive multi-point games and shared the League lead with eight points as the Canucks (34-22-3, 71 points) won three of four starts.
Pacioretty shared first in the NHL with four goals and a +6 rating to lead the Canadiens (38-16-5, 81 points) to five out of eight possible standings points.
Huge week for Quick, who seemingly responded to head coach Darryl Sutter’s challenge from last month:
Interesting stuff from Sutter about goalies. Said .920 sv% won’t cut it in today’s NHL. Target is .950. Quick is at .917
Once again, the Montreal Canadiens leaned on Carey Price and, once again, he didn’t disappoint.
The league’s best goalie in goals-against average and save percentage, Price made 31 saves on 32 shots faced, as the Habs held on to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets by a final score of 3-1 on Saturday.
The Habs got the lead on a pair of goals from Max Pacioretty in the first period and from there, Price took over in net. Montreal was outshot 32-24. The Habs managed 11 shots through the final 40 minutes.
Perhaps the biggest save of the night was a team effort from Price and P.K. Subban, as both appeared to get their stick on a Cam Atkinson chance from in close, as it looked like the Columbus forward had a wide open net.
Price, as calm as one could be in a scramble, reached back with the large goal stick and appeared to knock the puck away at the same time as Subban did.
Andrew Hammond will make his second career start tonight when the Ottawa Senators play host to the Florida Panthers. Hammond made 42 saves in a win over the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night in his first career start. It was the 27-year-old’s second NHL appearance. He carries a 2.96 G.A.A. and a .916 save percentage into tonight’s action.
Roberto Luongo gets the nod for the Panthers.
Ducks at Oilers: John Gibson vs. Ben Scrivens
Hurricanes at Devils: Anton Khudobin vs. Keith Kinkaid
Blue Jackets at Canadiens: Curtis McElhinney vs. Carey Price
Jets at Maple Leafs: Michael Hutchinson vs. Jonathan Bernier
Penguins at Blues: Thomas Greiss vs. Brian Elliott
Red Wings at Stars: Jimmy Howard vs. Kari Lehtonen
Lightning at Coyotes: Ben Bishop vs. Mike Smith
Kings at Sharks: Jonathan Quick vs. Antti Niemi
Pressure on Bruins increases after Panthers win six-round SO over Habs
Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo deserves a lot of credit for this outcome as Montreal managed to out shoot the Panthers 39-21 prior to the skills competition. Despite that, Brendan Gallagher was the only member of the Canadiens that solved Luongo in regulation time tonight, although for a time it looked like that might be enough as he gave Montreal a 2-0 lead.
Florida clawed its way back into this one with 26-year-old defenseman Steven Kampfer eventually tying the contest with his first goal of the season:
Dave Bolland accounted for the deciding goal in the shootout.
Florida’s comeback is bad news for the Boston Bruins as it magnifies their recent struggles. After losing five straight games, Boston’s edge over Florida in the battle for the second Wild Card spot has been reduced to a single point. The fight between those two squads might come down to the wire and if that’s the case then they’ll have plenty of opportunities to directly gain an edge as the Bruins and Panthers are scheduled to meet on March 21, March 31, and April 9.