Canadiens Notebook: Claude Julien won’t confirm his Saturday lineup vs. Senators

0218 spt canadiens

STU COWAN

The Canadiens practised Friday morning in Brossard before heading to Ottawa for the start of back-to-back weekend games against the Senators.

The Canadiens play the Senators Saturday night in the nation’s capital (7 p.m., SN, TVA Sports, TSN Radio 690) and then the teams will meet again Sunday night at the Bell Centre (7:30 p.m., SN, RDS, TSN Radio 690). 

Coach Claude Julien wouldn’t confirm his lineup for Saturday and whether defenceman Nathan Beaulieu will be a healthy scratch for the second straight game after sitting out Tuesday night’s 4-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bell Centre.

“I haven’t talked to the guys yet,” Julien said. “I’m going to make a decision today. I haven’t made my final decision as we speak, but definitely by the end of the day we’ll have had our lineup made up.”

Julien did confirm that Carey Price will start in goal for the Canadiens Saturday, but the coach wouldn’t say who his goalie will be Sunday.

You can watch Julien’s entire Friday news conference from Brossard on the HI/O Facebook page.

(Photo: John Mahoney/Montreal Gazette)

The lines and defence pairings

Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked during Friday’s practice, but there was a lot of rotation on the fourth line and with the defence pairings. Injured forward Brian Flynn and defenceman Nikita Nesterov were the only two players to miss practice

Pacioretty – Galchenyuk – Radulov
Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
Lehkonen – Danault – Shaw
King – Ott – Mitchell (Martinsen-McCarron)

Markov – Weber
Davidson – Petry
Beaulieu – Benn (Emelin)

Beaulieu not happy

Beaulieu wasn’t happy about being a healthy scratch for the first time this season against the Blackhawks and was still upset after practice Friday.

When asked what he learned from watching the game instead of playing, Beaulieu said: “Nothing.”

Said Julien: “For him to be disappointed, it’s normal … I think everybody wants to play. We have a rotation of seven Ds right now and guys are healthy so we’ve had to put players in and out, like many teams. I think Washington is going through the same situation right now. You get players who come in at the end of the year so you can have depth. But if you’re leaving depth on the shelf it’s no good to you. So you got to make sure everybody’s ready and we’re making a rotation here of players, so that’s all it was. At the end of the day, you want your players to be ready to play. If Nathan’s in the lineup tomorrow, he’s got to be ready to go.”

Beaulieu has 2-21-23 totals in in 63 games and is plus-7. Alexei Emelin was minus-3 against the Blackhawks and is minus-6 in the last three games after being made a healthy scratch last week in Vancouver.

Beaulieu, who is earning US$1 million this season, can become a restricted free agent in the summer, while Emelin has one more season on his four-year, US$16.4-million contract. In 67 games this season, Emelin has 2-7-9 totals and is minus-2.

Power-play work

The Canadiens spent much of Friday’s practice working on the power play, which is 0-for-13 in the last six games and now ranks 12th in the NHL with a 20.1 per cent success rate.

The two power-play units looked like this:

Radulov – Byron – Galchenyuk
Pacioretty – Weber

Lehkonen – Plekanec – Shaw
Markov – Petry

“I think the power play is an important part of the game nowadays because as you can see there’s a lot of tight games, there’s a lot of low-scoring games five-on-five,” Julien said. “I think it’s important that your power play helps you produce. We’ve changed some of the people around a little bit, so just trying to get them to be a little bit more familiar with each other and maintaining the goals and the plays that we’re looking for.”

Blackhawks do Canadiens a favour

After beating the Canadiens Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, the Blackhawks did Montreal a favour by beating the Senators 2-1 Thursday night in Ottawa.

The Senators (39-23-7) could have moved ahead of the Canadiens (39-23-8) and into first place in the Atlantic Division with a victory. Instead, the Senators head into the weekend series one point behind the Canadiens with one game in hand. 

The third-place Boston Bruins (38-27-6) also lost Thursday night, pounded 7-4 by the Oilers in Edmonton. Boston is four points behind the Canadiens.

Julien wouldn’t compare this weekend’s back-to-back series with the Senators to a playoff scenario, but realizes the importance of the two games.

“I’m not going to stand here and say this isn’t an important weekend for both teams, I think it is,” the coach said. “There’s first place that’s in play. You want to establish some sort of not dominance, but hopefully some success against the team. So it’s important for both teams. I think it’s a big weekend for both organizations and that’s the way you have to look at it.

“Your goal is always to finish as high as you can,” Julien added. “First place is certainly a goal of ours right now, but it’s not the end of the world if something happens and we’re not there. The main thing in this new NHL is you better be in the playoffs. You got to make the playoffs. We’ve seen teams that have finished seventh or eighth and go all the way. The main goal is to get yourself in the playoffs. If we can get higher (in the standings) that means we get home-ice advantage. So no doubt that would please us as well.”

The Canadiens and Senators have met twice before this season with Ottawa winning both games, 4-3 in overtime on Oct. 15 in the nation’s capital and 4-3 again (in regulation time) at the Bell Centre on Nov. 22.

Senators and Habs will meet outdoors next season

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Friday that the Senators and Canadiens will meetin in a Heritage Classic outdoor game next Dec. 16 at TD Place — home of the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks — to mark the league’s 100th anniversary. Ottawa and Montreal played against each other on the NHL’s opening night on Dec. 19, 1917 with the Canadiens winning 7-4.

Lack of offence

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin acquired three forwards before the NHL trade deadline on March 1: Steve Ott, Andreas Martinsen and Dwight King, adding size to his lineup.

But on a team that struggles to score goals, none of three have scored a single goal since coming to Montreal and combined they have only one assist by Ott. King is minus-3 in six games.

The two forwards Bergevin traded away have had more success offensively. David Desharnais has 2-2-4 totals in six games with the Edmonton Oilers, while Sven Andrighetto has 1-2-3 totals in six games with the Colorado Avalanche.

Karlsson leading Senators

Defenceman Erik Karlsson is leading the Senators in scoring with 13-50-63 totals while averaging 26:42 of ice time per game and is plus-8. The San Jose Sharks’ Brent Burns (27-43-70) is the only defenceman in the NHL with more points.

The big three up front for the Senators when it comes to points are Mark Stone (22-28-50), Mike Hoffman (21-28-49) and Kyle Turris (23-22-45).

Former Canadiens backup goalie Mike Condon has done well with the Senators this season, posting an 18-12-6 record, five shutouts, a 2.52 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. Current Canadiens backup goalie Al Montoya has an 8-6-3 record with two shutouts, a 2.71 GAA and a .910 save percentage.

What’s next?

After Saturday’s game in Ottawa, the Canadiens will play their next six games at home, starting with Sunday’s rematch with the Senators (7:30 p.m., SN, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

The Detroit Red Wings will visit the Bell Centre next Tuesday night, followed by the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday and the Senators again next Saturday.

• Battling cancer changed Brandon Davidson’s out look on life, by Stu Cowan

• Pacioretty as handy with a shovel as a stick, by Stu Cowan

• Canadiens prepare for high-intensity games with Sens, by Pat Hickey

• Blackhawks keep Sens from moving into first place, montrealgazette.com

• Enticing first-round playoff matchups await Canadiens, by Pat Hickey

294 Comments

  1. Strabo says:

    UNB 3
    Acadia 0
    UNB to the finals
    Sask
    StFX
    Game at 4pm ADT on SN360

    “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” Albert Einstein

  2. Timo says:

    I don’t have a good feeling about this one.

  3. Mavid says:

    Section 200 row E behind the players benches….and if there is a ruckus you will have no trouble spotting me..

    GO HABS GO..

    º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º

    Weed Wacker -and now Flamethrower Grandma Smurf

  4. Mike D says:

    From careysubban3176 on the previous page of comments:

    “Back when the Habs had Kovalev and Cammy they were used along the half wall on the PP and would shoot near the dot. So why don’t they use Pacioretty the same way? Especially when the other team is keying on Weber on the point. Plus Markov is the probably the best passer on the team and needs to be on the point with Weber.”

    I agree with this 100%. Bang on! I do like that they use Chucky there frequently too.

    – Honestly yours
    Twitter: @de_benny

    • ebk says:

      because Max, as good as he is, doesn’t handle the puck or pass it anywhere as well as those two. Radulov and Glachenyuk would be the two I’d have on the half wall on the PP

      • on2ndthought says:

        I said yesterday, Markov should drop down there, and have Danault back him up.

        • ebk says:

          Monteal, when it’s had it’s best PP’s in the last few years, had a Kovalev/Cammelari on the half wall, A LH shooting threat(Streit, Souray) and Markov on the left point feeding one times to the D(Streit or Souray) or cross ice passes to(Kovalev, Cammelari etc).

          I’d always like to see Markov and Galchenyuk together on the PP. Markov seems to be able to always find Galchenyuk for a one-timer.

      • Mike D says:

        Rads and Chucky are excellent options in that spot too, but Max is our best scorer and you have to put him in the best possible position to get a goal when we’re on the PP. Because he’s a LH shot, that spot is the right-side halfwall.

        Of course, the three of them don’t HAVE to play on the same PP unit so one of them could take the same spot on the 2nd wave.

        – Honestly yours
        Twitter: @de_benny

    • MustardTiger1337 says:

      Kovalev and Cammy

      NO comparison between the two and Max

  5. SPATS says:

    This has probably been well covered already but since we don’t have much else to talk about… I was really hoping Bergy would dump Nate around the deadline. Much more so than Pateryn. Sadly Pateryn had a feisty gal to help him get out. But that is also telling about Pateryn’s maturity vs N8’s. (who I believe is unmarried?) In any case, I never liked N8 because of how he made headlines for all the wrong reasons before he made it to the big show. His father and himself arrested for fighting other kids at a house party? The way he consistently reacts (like a child pouting) and takes himself out of plays when he misses golden scoring opportunities? I’ve seen him look to the sky with a “why me?” expression while missing his breakout coverage resulting in odd man rushes while he tries to gather himself… In a word – Immature. Hearing him yesterday continue to mope and pout doesn’t surprise me on bit. He’s had his chance to wear the CH with pride but he’s shown his entitled attitude one too many times now IMO. I sure hope he’s sealed his own fate once and for all now and finds himself in Colorado or back in the AHL next year. Grow up FFS

  6. DDO_Habs_Fan says:

    IMO a succesfull PP has players who can shoot, pass, stick-handle, skate fast and are creative (i know d’uhhhh). Obviously it is very unlikely to have players with all those attributes. For example, Max can shoot and Byron can skate but neither are creative. The only players that fit these criteria are Chucky and Rads (and Rads speed is debateable). This is why I don’t understand why they don’t bring up Hudon to play the point on the PP. You can have players with single attributes like hitting but can’t have a PP specialist??? Makes no sense to me.

    • habitual says:

      It has to be that Hudon isn’t ready yet. I was big on Pateryn and couldn’t understand why he wasn’t a regular but if it is true that he’s been a healthy scratch with Dallas then obviously the coaches are seeing things we are not.

  7. HUDSONHAB says:

    If Habs take 2 of 6 pts from Sens they should have no problem hanging onto first. They’re schedule is easier than the Sens to finish.


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