Price ready for rare homecoming
Wednesday, 10.07.2009 / 7:00 PM
CANADIENS (2-1-0) at CANUCKS (0-3-0)
: The Canadiens and the Canucks met twice in 2008-09 season within a period of ten days. Montreal's 4-2 defeat at the hands the Canucks on Feb. 15 was part of a disastrous road trip where the Habs managed only one win in six games. Daniel and Henrik Sedin
contributed a goal and assist each in the win. Vancouver repaid the visit on Feb. 24, when Montreal was able to pull rebound with a 3-0 victory.
: The Canucks are still seeking their first win of the season after three straight loses, with goaltender Roberto Luongo
allowing 12 goals in that span. The Canucks' captain was pulled five minutes into the second period Monday against the Blue Jackets in favor of backup Andrew Raycroft. It marks the first time Vancouver has opened the season with three straight losses since 2002.
"Roberto is one of the best goaltenders in the League and definitely one of the hardest workers in this League, so he's going to find his game like he always does," Vigneault said. "The other parts of our game are pretty good. Obviously, we're making a few mistakes, but we are generating a lot. We're not that far away."
: Montreal suffered its first lost of the season in Calgary on Tuesday after opening with two straight wins. Scott Gomez
and Guillaume Latendresse scored 32 seconds apart late in the first period on Tuesday night.
For a team that has been criticized for its lack of size, the Habs also managed to hold their own and outhit Dion Phaneuf and the Flames, 16-14.
With Andrei Markov
and Ryan O'Byrne out for two and four months respectively, defenseman Yannik Weber was called up from AHL Hamilton and played solidly alongside Paul Mara on Tuesday, logging 17:32 of ice time. The Canadiens also signed free-agent defenseman Marc-André Bergeron on Tuesday to help ease the loss of Markov. Bergeron, a power-play specialist, will report to Hamilton for conditioning.
: Despite the loss in their season opener loss and the shaky goaltending, the Canucks outshot the Jackets, 43-24. Willie Mitchell ended a 41-game drought when he made it a one-goal contest midway through the third period, but his team was unable to come up with the equalizer in a 5-3 loss.
Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault is expected to shuffle his lines for this upcoming game. Left wing Tanner Glass, who has yet to suit up for Vancouver during the regular season, skated with center Kyle Wellwood and right wing Steve Bernier at practice on Tuesday, replacing rookie Sergei Shirokov. Glass, an off-season acquisition, collected 13 points last season with the AHL's Rochester Americans.
: Carey Price
is not resembling the goaltender who struggled at the end of last season. The 22-year-old was sensational in his first two games of the season with 43 and 24 saves, respectively. Price was rested Tuesday against Calgary, but the native British Columbian will be given the start in Vancouver on Wednesday in front of friends and family. Travis Moen
has made quite a few heads turn and the lone player on Montreal's roster to register a point in each of his first three games. The left winger was also involved in a pair of fights in the season opener in Toronto.
Defenseman Willie Mitchell currently leads the Canucks with three points. Mikael Samuelsson
, Alexandre Burrows
, Christian Ehrhoff, Kevin Bieksa
and Henrik Sedin
follow with two points each. Burrows also leads the team in shots with 16 in his first three games.
: O'Byrne's knee injury, previously thought to keep him off the ice for just six weeks, will now take eight, but will not require surgery. He joins fellow blueliner Markov in the infirmary, who is out for four months with severed ankle tendons. Center Glen Metropolit is day-to-day with a rib injury.
Right wing Pavol Demitra and defenseman Mathieu Schneider continue to be on the injured reserve for the Canucks, although Schneider skated with the team on Tuesday. Right wing Jannik Hansen
is recovering from surgery to repair the fingers he broke in a preseason fight.
: Jaroslav Halak was the starting goalie for the Habs in both of last year's games. Despite the loss in the first contest, the Slovakian backup was solid with 29 saves and recorded a 34-save performance and his first shutout of the season in the second.
: Luongo's unlucky streak simply can't go on forever. The talented goaltender is bound to bounce back, and perhaps the speed and creativity of Montreal's new forwards could give him the challenge he needs to step it up.
-- Magalie Lafrenière, NHL.com