- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Sunday morning, ahead of a rare Sunday night game against the visiting Winnipeg Jets. As the first team to reach double-digit wins this season, the Habs will already be looking to secure their 11th victory of 2015-16 when they end the weekend at the Bell Centre.
|The Canadiens skated in special purple practice jerseys as part of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative. |
- Carey Price was absent from the morning practice. Currently suffering from a lower-body injury, the team announced on Sunday morning that Dustin Tokarski was recalled from the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps. Head coach Michel Therrien also announced following practice that Price will be sidelined for at least the team’s entire four-game homestand.
“It happened on Thursday, but it’s nothing major. He underwent treatment, and let us know on Friday morning that he was still feeling a bit of pain,” explained Therrien. “We didn’t want to take any chances, and our medical staff recommended yesterday that he takes a week off.”
- Rookie goaltender Mike Condon will therefore make his fourth start of the season, and first at the Bell Centre on Sunday. With three wins in as many starts and a 0.944 save percentage with a 1.67 goals against average to start his NHL career following Friday’s most recent win in Calgary, the Habs have every reason to believe the 25-year-old netminder keep that streak going, beginning against Winnipeg.
“You don’t have to say how important Price is to our team. He’s been our backbone game after game, but looking at the way Condo’s played this season we’ve got that same confidence playing in front of him,” admitted Brendan Gallagher, who has 10 points in 12 games so far this season, third-most among his teammates. “He’s going to come in and do the job. He’s a hard-working and very talented kid.”
The Habs have also been getting the job when Condon has been in goal, scoring a combined 16 goals over his three starts to date, to help ease the Needham, MA native into his new role.
“It’s a tough position to play. He has a lot of pressure on him, but he’s been flawless in every start so far. He’s made big saves for us, allowed us to get the lead, and given us the chance to play a comfortable style of hockey from there on out,” continued Gallagher. “He’s been great, and we expect nothing less from him tonight.”
- The Jets are off to a fast 7-3-1 start following the franchise’s first playoff appearance last spring since returning to the Manitoban capital in 2011.
Winnipeg native Dale Weise, who scored his first career NHL hat trick on Friday in Calgary, is expecting a tough test from his hometown team.
“I’ve watched a lot of their games, being from there obviously, and they’re a fast team. Their top line is on fire -- I know Wheeler had an eight-game point streak or something crazy like that -- so they’ve got some good offense, they’re a big team, they’re physical, they skate well, and they do a lot of good things,” underlined the 27-year-old. “We’re coming back from a road trip where we didn’t play very well to a team like Winnipeg that’s playing extremely well. We’ve got to get back to playing the right way. Calgary was a good first step for us and we’ll try to right the ship here tonight.”
- The Canadiens skated in special purple practice jerseys as part of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative. The cause is one Gallagher, whose grandfather Matt passed away with prostate cancer, holds close to heart.
“My grandpa is someone who meant a lot to me and my family growing up. Ever since his passing, I’m reminded of when this month comes along. It’s a time to remember what he meant to us, everything he taught us, and we’ll honor him, and others like him the best we can. It means a lot to myself and many others as well."
- Puck drop is scheduled is for 7:00 p.m. at the Bell Centre, on RDS and Sportsnet.
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