MONTREAL – Michael Frolik’s second NHL game may be as memorable as his first.
The rookie forward will play tonight here at the Bell Centre when the Panthers meet the high-flying Canadiens who are 4-0-1 in their first five games of the season.
Frolik, who made his NHL debut Oct. 11 against Atlanta, will dress tonight while coach Peter DeBoer sits out Wade Belak and Anthony Stewart.
“It’s exciting,” said Frolik, who played two seasons in juniors for Rimouski in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. “It’s my second (game), and to play in front of this crowd in Montreal…it’s sure exciting. I just have to be ready and show up.”
DeBoer, who praised the play of Belak after Saturday’s 2-0 victory over the Islanders, said the decision to play Frolik was based simply on needs.
“It was a question of what we need more,” DeBoer said. “A presence on the lineup or some speed. We’re playing four (games) in six nights here, we’re on the road, we have a tough schedule. We want to utilize our depth. We have depth up front and it’s a chance for Michael to come in here and play. He had a real good game in here last time here (in preseason). I know he’s anxious to contribute.”
Tomas Vokoun, coming off a 2-0 shutout over the Islanders, will be back in goal. The Canadiens will start Jaroslav Halak in goal over Carey Price. Halak was in goal Oct. 11 when the Canadiens beat Toronto 6-1.
CELEBRATING 100 YEARS
The Canadiens are celebrating their 100th anniversary with a long list of events, including a special stamp, coin and jerseys. For the Panthers, visiting Montreal has been rewarding. They’re 13-7-3-4 all-time in Montreal and 5-0-1-3 here dating back to January of 2003.
“It’s unique atmosphere to play, regardless of what the celebration or anniversary is,” said defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. “It’s a good crowd, great energy. It’s what you want.”
Defenseman Keith Ballard will be playing in Montreal for only the second time in his career and his first since his rookie season in 2005-06.
“It’s really a cool place to play,” he said. “With the history, and this being the 100th year of the franchise, it’s awesome.”