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Canadiens turn to Condon; Devils may debut Kennedy

by Mike G. Morreale / NHL.com

CANADIENS (17-4-2) at DEVILS (11-9-1)

TV: RDS, SNE, MSG+

NEWARK, N.J. -- The second tour of duty as the No. 1 for Montreal Canadiens rookie goaltender Mike Condon begins Friday against the New Jersey Devils.

Condon will replace starter Carey Price for at least one week while the latter recovers from an injury sustained against the New York Rangers on Wednesday. Price was placed on injured reserve Thursday.

Playing his third game since missing nine in a row, Price left after two periods when he re-aggravated the injury in a 5-1 win. His right leg appeared to bend awkwardly after making a save in the second period and he was replaced by Condon for the start of the third.

"[Condon] did a fantastic job for us, even in the last game when we put him out there in a tough position against the Rangers," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "It was a close game and when he got in there in the third he made some key saves and gave us a chance to gain the momentum.

"When we lost Carey early in the season, we didn't know quite what to expect and we didn't know how long Carey would be out. [Condon] did really well and I'm sure he's more confident right now than probably he was earlier when he started."

The Canadiens haven't provided any specifics to the extent of the injury to Price, but according to the Montreal Gazette the goalie was spotted limping through the lobby of the team hotel Thursday favoring his right leg.

Condon started all nine games Price missed from Oct. 30 through Nov. 19 and went 5-2-2 with a 2.39 goals-against average and .904 save percentage, including a 4-0-1 record with a 1.60 GAA and .937 save percentage in his first five starts. Condon, 25, has allowed 13 goals in his past four starts and went 1-2-1 with a 3.47 GAA and .857 save percentage.

"It doesn't matter about the game you played before, it just matters about being in the moment," Condon told the Canadiens website. "Whether it's a bad goal or a nice save, you've got to move on to the next one because there's a lot of games to be played."

Therrien said the game plan doesn't change with Condon in net. He credited all the players, in particular the veteran leaders.

"We want to play the same way, we want to play the right way and within our structure," he said. "We believe the way that structure is how we gain success.

"We got a really good start and have faced adversity early in the season when we lost Carey and then we lost another warrior in Brendan Gallagher, but for us it's business as usual. We have to make sure that we're solid and have a chance to win hockey games; this is what we've been doing."

The Canadiens, who lead the NHL with 36 points, have won three straight games. The Devils have scored seven goals and averaged 22.5 shots while losing three of four.

Devils right wing Tyler Kennedy could make his season debut on the fourth line with Bobby Farnham and Stephen Gionta. Kennedy on Friday signed a one-year, two-way contract worth $600,000 at the NHL level, and $200,000 at the American Hockey League level.

Kennedy, who was on a professional tryout with the Devils, is grateful for the opportunity. If he is inserted into the lineup, Devils coach John Hynes expects Kennedy to play with much energy.

"He plays with speed and pace and he's a difficult player to play against and has a high compete level," Hynes said. "He's shown the availability to play up and down your lineup in multiple situations."

Kennedy last played in a game on April 23, 2015 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the New York Islanders and finished with one shot on goal against the Washington Capitals. He spent his first six seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins before signing a two-year contract with the San Jose Sharks in July 2013.

Here are the projected lineups:

CANADIENS

Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Devante Smith-Pelly

Tomas Fleischmann - David Desharnais - Dale Weise

Lars Eller - Alex Galchenyuk - Sven Andrighetto

Paul Byron - Brian Flynn - Bud Holloway

Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban

Nathan Beaulieu - Jeff Petry

Greg Pateryn - Tom Gilbert

Mike Condon

Dustin Tokarski

Injured: Brendan Gallagher (hand), Torrey Mitchell (lower body), Carey Price (lower body), Alexander Semin (lower body)

Scratched: Alexei Emelin, Christian Thomas

DEVILS

Mike Cammalleri - Adam Henrique - Lee Stempniak

Sergey Kalinin - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri

Patrik Elias - Jacob Josefson - Jordin Tootoo

Bobby Farnham - Stephen Gionta - Tyler Kennedy

Andy Greene - Adam Larsson

John Moore - Damon Severson

Jon Merrill - Eric Gelinas

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Injured: Tuomo Ruutu (right foot fracture), David Schlemko (lower body), Jiri Tlusty (upper body)

Scratched: Brian O'Neill, Stefan Matteau

Status report: Tokarski was recalled from St. John's of the AHL on Thursday to serve as Condon's backup. … Semin has been placed on injured reserve and is expected to miss a week. The team recalled forward Thomas from the AHL on Thursday, but Holloway is expected to replace Semin in the lineup and make his NHL debut. "I think for me it's going to be skate, work hard, and try to get in on the forecheck," Holloway said. "I'm going to start with that and as soon as I start getting comfortable, I'll add things from there." … Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi was returned to the AHL for a two-week conditioning assignment. … If Kennedy plays, Matteau will serve as a healthy scratch. Tlusty was placed on injured reserve to clear a roster spot for Kennedy.

Who's hot: Pacioretty has five goals and 11 points in the past nine games. … Henrique has three goals and seven points in the past eight games.

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