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Posted On Saturday, 01.17.2015 / 1:36 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Islanders at Canadiens

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens will not have Carey Price at their disposal when they face the New York Islanders at Bell Centre on Saturday.

Price is day-to-day with an upper-body injury he sustained during a 3-2 win at the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday. He backed up Dustin Tokarski on Thursday during Montreal's 4-1 loss at the Ottawa Senators.

"(Friday) morning he was stiff and that's the reason we made our decision," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said after the morning skate at the team's suburban practice facility.

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Posted On Saturday, 01.10.2015 / 1:57 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Penguins at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- One week after losing to the Montreal Canadiens at home, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins look to pay them back at Bell Centre on Saturday.

Crosby said he expects another tight-checking game after Montreal won 4-1 at Consol Energy Center last Saturday.

"I think if you look at the last game especially, there wasn't a ton of room out there," Crosby said after the morning skate. "They capitalized on some chances, but I think we'd like to generate a few more chances. I thought we did a pretty good job in the first period, but in the second two they seemed to shut those chances down pretty well."

A key for Penguins coach Mike Johnston is denying the Canadiens transition opportunities.

"They're a good team in transition, they have very good skill, very good speed up front, and we just don't want to give them those easy transition opportunities," Johnston said. "So we talk about turnovers through the neutral zone, make sure we manage the puck real well through there, and making sure our backcheck is solid off the forecheck."

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 1:52 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Lightning at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- The Tampa Bay Lightning want to exorcise bad memories of a Stanley Cup Playoffs sweep at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper wasn't sure after the Lightning's morning skate if he was dealing with memories or nightmares about the Montreal arena. And he couldn't resist referencing Ryan Callahan's disallowed goal in Game 3 of his team's four-game loss to the Canadiens in their Eastern Conference First Round playoff series.

"I can't believe it's been eight-plus months since we've been here," Cooper said. "It's clearly negative memories just because of the way the games turned out and the series turned out. I don't believe we played poorly here, I thought we gave ourselves a chance to win both our games here. I was looking for the yellow tape around the goal on our side there to see if it was still there."

Tampa Bay (25-12-4) and Montreal (26-11-2) are tied for the Eastern Conference lead with 54 points.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 9:45 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

Canada views U.S. game as but one on way to goal

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Goalie Eric Comrie will start for Canada against the United States in the much-anticipated 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship Group A showdown on New Year's Eve.

It will be the second start for Comrie (Winnipeg Jets) in the tournament. The 19-year-old made 17 saves in a 4-0 win against Germany on Saturday.

"I think he's going to be ready," Canada coach Benoit Groulx said. "He's had a good day every day so far. We're very confident with both goalies."

First place in Group A will be at stake when Canada (3-0-0-0) plays the U.S. (2-1-0-0) at Bell Centre on Wednesday (4 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, NHL.com).

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.30.2014 / 7:00 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship blog

U.S. captain Eichel focused on Canada, not McDavid

BROSSARD, Quebec -- United States captain Jack Eichel is focused on a showdown of two powerhouse teams at Bell Centre on New Year's Eve rather than his much-anticipated 1-on-1 matchup against Canada's Connor McDavid at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The consensus top-two 2015 NHL Draft prospects will face each other with their respective undefeated teams Wednesday with a first-place finish in Group A at stake (4 p.m., NHL Network).

"It's not at all about me versus Connor," Eichel said after the United States practiced at the Montreal Canadiens' suburban training facility Tuesday. "It's a huge matchup for the top seed in our bracket, so it's Canada and the U.S."

Eichel, who has a goal and an assist in three U.S. wins (2-1-0-0), said he hasn't watched McDavid much this year.

"He's obviously a good player for a lot of reasons, so that's probably my only comment," the 18-year-old Boston University center said.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.20.2014 / 2:17 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Senators at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- It looks like the Montreal Canadiens will have left wing Max Pacioretty in the lineup against the Ottawa Senators at Bell Centre on Saturday.

Pacioretty took part in the morning skate at the Canadiens' suburban practice facility. He went to the hospital Thursday night for precautionary reasons after he fell headfirst into the boards on a check by Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner.

"I think maybe people hear the word hospital and they assume the worst, but whenever someone gets a little injury they have to obviously get tests, and at that time of the night the only thing open is the hospital," Pacioretty said. "So I don't want it to be blown out of proportion. I feel really good."

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Posted On Thursday, 12.18.2014 / 1:39 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Ducks at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- The Anaheim Ducks look to put a rare lopsided loss behind them Thursday against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

Anaheim ended a seven-game winning streak with a 6-2 loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday. The Ducks lead the NHL with a 21-7-5 mark for 47 points.

"Good teams bounce back and we consider ourselves a good team," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said after the morning skate. "We've had a good stretch here but we don't want it to end on a bad note. There's a lot of character and pride in that room and I know we're going to put our best foot forward (Tuesday)."

The Ducks wrap up their five-game road trip Friday at the Ottawa Senators.

Forward Emerson Etem will play against the Canadiens in place of Kyle Palmieri, who sustained a shoulder injury Tuesday. Etem, who was recalled from Norfolk of the American Hockey League on Wednesday, has two goals and four points in 21 games this season with Anaheim.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.16.2014 / 2:08 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Hurricanes at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- The Carolina Hurricanes face a tough task Tuesday in taking on the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre.

Carolina saw its losing streak reach five games after a 5-1 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. Hurricanes coach Bill Peters sees hope though, despite his team's 8-18-3 record.

"Obviously we didn't like our effort in Philadelphia," Peters said after Carolina's morning skate. "We've probably had two or three like that this year where we've been disappointed with ourselves, but other than that we've played well and it's been a one-goal game with five minutes to go one way or the other just about every night, so you're in every game and you've got to find a way to make that one more play to make a difference."

Hurricanes center Jay McClement and defenseman John-Michael Liles are game-time decisions because of illness. Peters said neither player is at risk of the mumps, which have sidelined a number of NHL players this season, including Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.

"It's obviously a scare for everybody in the League, but that's not the issue," said Peters, who will dress seven defensemen and play one as a forward if both McClement and Liles are unable to play.

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Posted On Friday, 12.12.2014 / 2:06 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Kings at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- Anze Kopitar and the Los Angeles Kings are ready to face the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Friday.

Kopitar scored his first goal in 11 games Thursday and Los Angeles ended a two-game losing streak with a 5-3 win at the Ottawa Senators.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter acknowledged Kopitar's lack of offensive production recently is cause for concern.

"Sure it is. (Kopitar's) a point-per-game guy," Sutter said. "He's still our most complete forward in terms of the whole package, but at the same time you want him feeling good about his game and his numbers too, and how he's playing, so I was the happiest guy in Ottawa last night to see (Kopitar) score."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 2:09 PM

By Sean Farrell -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Canucks at Canadiens

MONTREAL -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will get another crack at establishing himself in the NHL against the Vancouver Canucks at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

Beaulieu was recalled from Hamilton of the American Hockey League on Monday with Mike Weaver out with a concussion and Bryan Allen sidelined by the flu.

Montreal coach Michel Therrien says it's up to Beaulieu to show that he's ready to stay in the League.

"It's always the player that makes the decision by the way he performs," Therrien said. "We hope he will play well, that he'll be responsible, as much with the puck as without the puck. He's a young player who at the beginning of the season had opportunities to play and he had some difficulty, so the fact that he went to Hamilton was good for his confidence.

"I spoke with him this morning. To play in the NHL, you have to be responsible. You can continue to develop a player as long as he is responsible. You can't be high-risk and causing turnovers, not be able to defend well, and hope to have a long career in the NHL. It's impossible, so that's the foundation of any player and it has to be solid, and after that you can continue to develop. If your foundation isn't solid, then it becomes difficult. That's one of the reasons we returned him to Hamilton and so we'll see how he handles himself."

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Quote of the Day

Obviously there's a lot of expectations around me but it's something I try not to focus on. I'm just trying to go out there, be myself on the ice every day, try to get better, be myself around the guys in the locker room. I think that's what's made me successful and the person that I am.

— Sabres forward Jack Eichel on transitioning from college hockey to the NHL