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MTL@CAR: Lindgren, Vejdemo to face the Hurricanes

American goaltender gets the start against Carolina, while Swedish forward will make his NHL debut in Raleigh.

by Pierre-Antoine Mercier, translated by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL /

RALEIGH - The Canadiens are going with Charlie Lindgren in goal against the Hurricanes on Tuesday night at PNC Arena.

The 26-year-old backstop is making his first start with the Habs since April 6, when he helped the Canadiens win their final game of the season 6-5 in a shootout over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Head coach Claude Julien explained his thinking for going with the American netminder following morning skate.

"We need two goalies. For sure, we're giving a lot of games to Carey Price, but it's going to get tough if we don't have another goalie who can win us some games," mentioned the veteran bench boss. "We have to give the other goalie a chance to win games and that's what Charlie is going to try to do for us tonight."

Video: Claude Julien's pregame press conference in Carolina

The netminder from Lakeville, MN actually played his first career NHL game against the Hurricanes in Raleigh back on April 7, 2016, winning it 4-2.

NHL debut for Vejdemo

Speaking of NHL debuts, Lukas Vejdemo will be making his after Julien made changes to his forward lines that will see the Swedish forward take Riley Barber's spot on the fourth line alongside Nate Thompson and Jordan Weal.

The 23-year-old wants to keep things simple in his first career NHL game.

"I just want to play a solid two-way game, use my speed, get on the forecheck, and just enjoy my time out there," expressed Vejdemo.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Lukas' New Year's Eve party just got a whole lot better. 🙌#GoHabsGo

Before moving up to the Habs, Vejdemo was enjoying a lot of success with the AHL's Laval Rocket.

The Canadiens' third-round pick (87th overall) in 2015 had scored eight goals and 16 points in 30 games with Joel Bouchard's squad.

That said, Vejdemo says he's happy to be up with Montreal and has been taking full advantage of an excellent educational opportunity.

"It's been so much fun and an experience for me to be around these guys and to follow the team. I've learned a lot. Some of these guys have been here for a long time and they're professionals," outlined Vejdemo. "You try to watch them every day and take in as much information as you can."

Video: Lukas Vejdemo on his first career NHL game

Meanwhile, Ryan Poehling earned himself a promotion up to the third line, where he'll join Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Cousins.

Julien acknowledged that he's liked the progress he's seen from the 20-year-old American.

"He's a player who's improving. He seems to be winning his battles and free pucks. He's keeping his game pretty simple but I find he's playing some good hockey," shared the Habs skipper. "We're making some changes to try to improve."

A well-earned honor

Captain Shea Weber was selected to represent the Canadiens at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game, marking the seventh time the veteran defenseman will take part in the event.

According to his coach, it's an honor that's very well-deserved.

"I think he very much deserves it with the season he's having. It's quite the season. He has all the qualities and they're showing this year. His leadership, his production, his ice time, etc," outlined Julien. "He's playing some good hockey this year. I'm happy for him and proud of him."

The man in question is thrilled to be able to take part in this time-honored NHL tradition.

"They're all special. It doesn't matter when. The first one, the middle, the seventh… it's as special as the first time," shared Weber. "It's an exciting feeling, a special feeling, and definitely a huge honor."

Video: Shea Weber on his selection to the All-Star Game

Weber and the Canadiens play their final game of 2019 against the Hurricanes at 7:00 p.m. at PNC Arena.

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