In 32 games with the Bulldogs this season, the 6-foot-2, 194-pound Beaulieu has 4-10-14 totals and 21 penalty minutes. The 21-year-old, who was the Canadiens’ first-round draft pick in 2011 (17th overall), played five games with the Habs earlier this season, recording one assist.
Nattinen, a 6-foot-3, 192-pounder, has spent all season in Hamilton, posting 5-6-11 totals and 12 penalty minutes in 37 games. The 23-year-old Finn was selected by the Canadiens in the third round (65th overall) at the 2009 NHL entry draft.
Defenceman Raphael Diaz and forward Lars Eller, both suffering from the flu, missed practice Friday afternoon in Toronto as the Canadiens prepare to face the Maple Leafs Saturday night (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690). Defenceman Douglas Murray also skipped practice, taking a therapy day.
Coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Beaulieu and Nattinen will both play Saturday night and that Carey Price will start in goal. No official decision has been made on who won’t dress to make room for Beaulieu and Nattinen.
Tweeted Bulldogs play-by-play announcer Derek Wills after the callups from Hamilton were announced:
“Nattinen is big and strong, a good skater and a smart player. … While Nattinen has been playing on the 4th line with Courtnal & Fournier, the 4th line gets a lot of ice time. … Nattinen is a regular on penalty kill, which has gone 25 for the last 26. Good player, good prospect.”
As for Beaulieu, Wills tweeted: “Fresh-off his first-ever “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” (Beaulieu) has been heating-up with 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in last 5 games.”
Nattinen told reporters in Toronto after practice that he wants to bring speed, size and a good defensive game to the Canadiens.
“Hopefully, I’ll also be able to create some offense,” he added. “The last eight games in Hamilton, we won seven. Things are going really well right now. Making the playoffs is a big goal for us, and hopefully the boys can keep it going.”
Said Beaulieu: “You try to stay current with everything going on (with the Canadiens), while hoping that something is going to happen. You never know. It was great news for me. I have to take advantage of these kinds of opportunities. This one is really important to me. Things are going really well for the Bulldogs. With team success comes success at the individual level. I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates over there for helping me play well in the past five or six games.”
Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at practice:
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)