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Practice notebook: Phoenix

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

GLENDALE – In today’s notebook from the desert, Condon gets the call, Sven goes on the offensive, and Nate inches closer to a return.

MUSICAL GOALIES: Having replaced Ben Scrivens with Mike Condon after Buffalo’s third goal on eight shots on Friday night, Michel Therrien confirmed that Condon will be between the pipes on Monday against the Coyotes after ceding the crease to his fellow netminder for the three previous starts. With usual All-Star starter Carey Price still out with a lower body injury, Therrien has adopted a win-and-you’re-in strategy when it comes to doling out goaltending assignments.

Condon will start against Arizona.

“We have the philosophy where the goalie who wins is the one who plays,” confirmed Therrien, who saw Scrivens win three-straight games before sending Condon in mid-way through the second period in Buffalo. “We want to avoid playing musical chairs.”

For his part, Condon has no problem hitting the ice knowing he needs to win if he wants to keep his crease.

“You’re not going to keep a losing goalie in the net over and over,” underlined Condon, who is tied for the NHL lead in wins by a rookie netminder, with 13. “You have to win games if you want to stay in this league. I just have to get the job done.”

WILD CARD WATCH: About to face a team sitting one spot out of a wild card berth and currently on the outside of the playoff picture looking in themselves, the Habs haven’t started standings watching with 26 games to go in the season. Instead of following the progress of division rivals with a third of the season still to be played, the only win-loss record the Canadiens are focusing on at the moment is their own.

“I don’t pay attention to the standings that much. It can’t benefit the mentality right now,” explained Condon. “It’s just about winning as many games as possible. All that matters is the next game. That’s all we’re focused on. Every game is a great opportunity for us. We have to make the most of it and it starts tomorrow night.”

SNIPE SHOW: After potting a pair of goals in his first game on a line with Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais, Sven Andrighetto has earned his spot on the high-flying trio for a second-straight game. Therrien admits he liked what he saw from the 22-year-old rookie on Friday, but he confirmed that the Swiss winger won’t be able to rest on his laurels if he wants to settle into his spot to the right of the two veteran forwards on a more permanent basis.

“We want to put him in a position where he can show what he can do offensively. We put him with two good offensive guys and it went well, but he’s a guy who needs to produce,” stressed Therrien. “He’s done that at every level he’s played, be it Junior or in the American League. I sat with him and explained that. If he wants to have a career in the National Hockey League, he has to produce in the National Hockey League. He responded well last game and we hope that continues.”

Andrighetto celebrates one of his two goals against the Sabres.

He may have benefitted from playing with two offensive veterans, but Andrighetto gave as much as he received in his debut alongside Desharnais and Pacioretty. In nine games prior to Friday night, the two had combined for just two goals and two assists. Joined by Andrighetto against the Sabres, Pacioretty and Desharnais racked up a combined three assists after chipping in with helpers on both of Andrighetto’s goals.

“Playing with these two guys is pretty easy. I try to bring my speed and help them out and I’m trying to make the line better,” shared Andrighetto, who was drafted in the third round by the Canadiens in 2013. “You look at Davey at center and he just finds you. He has an incredible eye to find you. Me and Patch with speed outside, if we support each other well like we did [in Buffalo], we’ll work really well.

“With my skills and what I can bring, I can develop into a Top 6 guy. That’s what I believe and I have confidence in myself,” he continued. “The biggest challenge is the same thing for any young guy: consistency. You have to bring your ‘A’ game every night and every shift. If I’m playing, I’m not thinking about points. That’s the end result. If you concentrate on points, you’ll get driven away from your game. You have to focus on the little details in the game and in the end, the goals will come.”

IN THE MIX: Skating in a full practice for the first time since leaving Tuesday’s game early after blocking a shot, Nathan Beaulieu could make his return to action on Monday after missing Friday’s game with a lower body injury. Having been paired with Tom Gilbert during Sunday’s skate, Beaulieu was happy to be back on the blue line, but couldn’t confirm if he would be in the lineup against the Coyotes.

“I’ve felt better every day. Today was a big day trying to get my wind back. If I feel 100% tomorrow, I’ll be in and ready to go,” said Beaulieu. “At this point in the season when we’re trying to push for the playoffs, I don’t want to aggravate anything, so I feel like the best time for me to come in is when I feel comfortable to play. The guys who have come in have done a good job, but if I feel ready to go tomorrow, I’ll play.”

Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.

LINES AND DEFENSE PAIRINGS AT PRACTICE

Pacioretty- Desharnais- Andrighetto
Galchenyuk-Plekanec- Gallagher
Fleischmann-Eller-Byron
Weise-Mitchell-De La Rose
Smith-Pelly- Lessio

Markov-Subban
Beaulieu-Gilbert
Emelin-Pateryn
Barberio

Condon
Scrivens

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