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Beaulieu returns to Canadiens to face Canucks

by Sean Farrell

CANUCKS (18-8-2) at CANADIENS (17-10-2)


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."

Beaulieu had two assists in 14 games with Montreal when he was assigned to Hamilton on Nov. 24.

"This time I felt like I needed a few games down there," Beaulieu said. "I wasn't playing a whole lot and sometimes you lose little aspects of your game, so I went down and I've played lots of hockey and I got my confidence, a little bit of my swagger, back and I was more offensive, like I usually am, and I thought I played good hockey. So it was important to go down for a few games and get that mental aspect back before I came back."

Therrien has shaken up his lines by separating center David Desharnais and left wing Max Pacioretty, who leads the Canadiens with 12 goals and 20 points.

Alex Galchenyuk moves from left wing to center between Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher. Desharnais will center an all-Quebec line with Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and Michael Bournival, who returns from a shoulder injury.

Vancouver ends a seven-game road trip, its longest of the season.

Canucks coach Willie Desjardins doesn't expect Montreal's line shakeup to be a significant opportunity for his team to exploit.

"We know they've got good depth throughout their lineup," Desjardins said. "All four lines can come after you. If they didn't have the depth then that would make a difference, but they have good lines all the way through."

Desjardins hopes to see better production from his second line with Nick Bonino centering Chris Higgins and Alexandre Burrows. The trio has no points in their past five games.

"They haven't played as well as they had previously," Desjardins said. "They're a good group, a character group. It's not from a lack of effort. For me, effort's a big part of it. If I didn't think they were trying it would be different, but I do think they're working hard. But saying that, you've got to find a way. Trying's not enough sometimes."

It will be the Canadiens' first home game since Hall of Fame center Jean Beliveau died on Dec. 2. Players and coaches from each team paid their respects to his family Monday, when Beliveau lay in state for the second day in a row at Bell Centre.

The Canadiens will have a pregame tribute for Beliveau, whose funeral is on Wednesday.

"This is special because of the man he was, how big he was in this community and for this organization," Canucks left wing Daniel Sedin said. "So this is special for sure. I think as a player you go through ceremonies pretty much every time you play in Canada. But nothing like tonight. It's going to be a little bit special for sure because of what happened."

Here are the projected lineups:


Daniel SedinHenrik SedinRadim Vrbata

Chris HigginsNick BoninoAlexandre Burrows

Nicklas JensenBrad Richardson - Linden Vey

Jannik Hansen - Bo HorvatDerek Dorsett

Alexander EdlerChristopher Tanev

Luca SbisaKevin Bieksa

Ryan StantonYannick Weber

Ryan Miller

Eddie Lack

Scratched: Frank Corrado

Injured: Tom Sestito (undisclosed), Zack Kassian (finger), Dan Hamuis (lower body), Shawn Matthias (head)


Max PaciorettyAlex GalchenyukBrendan Gallagher

Jiri SekacTomas PlekanecSven Andrighetto

Michael BournivalDavid DesharnaisPierre-Alexandre Parenteau

Brandon PrustManny MalhotraDale Weise

Andrei MarkovP.K. Subban

Alexei Emelin - Sergei Gonchar

Nathan BeaulieuTom Gilbert

Carey Price

Dustin Tokarski

Scratched: Eric Tangradi

Injured: Mike Weaver (concussion), Lars Eller (undisclosed), Bryan Allen (flu)

Status report: Matthias took alternate line rushes at the morning skate at Bell Centre and will be a game-time decision.

Who's hot: Richardson has three goals and five points in his past three games. Daniel Sedin has two goals and five points in his past four games. Vrbata has two goals and five points over the same stretch … Subban has two goals and five points in his past five games.

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