Habs prepare for busy Super Bowl weekend; Thomas to make debut

Christian Thomas will make his Canadiens debut Saturday when the Habs take on the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre (1 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

Michael Bournival is the latest Habs player to come down with the flu and won’t be in the lineup against the Lightning, with Thomas taking his spot. Brandon Prust missed Friday’s practice with the flu, but is expected to play.

Thomas, who was called up from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs on Thursday, skated on a line with Rene Bourque and Lars Eller at Friday’s practice.

It will be a busy Super Bowl weekend for the Canadiens with a pair of games at the Bell Centre. On Sunday, the Winnipeg Jets will be the visitors (1 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

Thomas’s father, former NHLer Steve Thomas, is now an assistant coach with the Lightning.

“It would be awesome to play, especially against a team with my dad on the bench,” Thomas said after Friday’s practice. “I’ve worked hard in Hamilton and shown some good stuff. I think I deserve (the call-up).

“I’m just happy to be here,” added Thomas, who has five goals and nine assists in 23 games with the Bulldogs this season.

The Canadiens won’t have a morning skate Saturday.

Carey Price will start in goal against the Lightning, but coach Michel Therrien wouldn’t confirm on Friday who will start Sunday. Before the start of Saturday’s game, Price will receive the Molson Cup for January, based on three-star selections. Price was selected as the first star twice in January and was the third star three times to finish ahead of Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher in the Molson Cup standings. Plekanec and Gallagher each had one first-, one second- and one third-star selection.

“It’s a different crowd, an opportunity for young kids to see the Canadiens and the atmosphere there is always great for these afternoon games. I’m expecting the same thing,” Therrien told reporters in Brossard after Friday’s practice. “I have no problem playing at 1 o’clock on weekends. It’s a different feeling and it should be a lot of fun.”

Here’s how the forward lines and defence pairings looked at practice Friday:

Bournival – Plekanec – Gionta
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Gallagher
Bourque – Eller – Thomas
Parros – Moen – Briere
White

Subban – Gorges
Emelin – Markov
Murray – Beaulieu
Diaz – Bouillon
Drewiske

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Habs remain a rebuilding project, by The Gazette’s Pat Hickey

Matinee games are fun for Habs and young fans, by The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs

Habs vs. Lightning preview, NHL.com

Former Hab Ryan writes about life as an NHL footnote, by Pat Hickey

Thomas’s Habs debut could be a family affair, by Dave Stubbs

Post-practice interviews (video), Canadiens.com

Latest Tampa Bay Lightning news, Tampa Bay Times

Steven Stamkos update (video), tampabaylightning.com

Budaj keeps perfect record in Boston, by Pat Hickey

Budaj makes most of his opportunity, by Pat Hickey

Jammin’ in Beantown, Canadiens.com

Bruins want no part of Canadiens in playoffs, by Boston Globe

Power goes out on Bruins, Boston.com

Bruins don’t play their game, bostonbruins.com

Gorges, Price make Super Bowl predictions, Canadiens.com

464 Comments

  1. duffy says:

    I thought that was Parros job.

  2. Habs4LifeInTO says:

    Bob McKenzie says Desjardins is expected to be in net for Tampa…

    24 cups and counting….

  3. Cal says:

    Tomorrow is Super Bowl 48. Here’s a sneak peak at the Half-Time Show. Ladies and gents, Here’s Bruno Mars and B.o.B. with Nothin’ On You.

  4. Sportfan says:

    Is Bishop Healthy for today’s game?

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  5. HabFab says:

    John Bartlett -

    #Habs Bournival out (flu), Prust game time decision (flu). Christian Thomas makes Habs debut with Dad Steve on Tampa bench.

  6. habbytent says:

    Someday i will get my wish of Boone live blogging while fully inebriated, not the usual half cut:)

  7. Et le but says:

    Off to the Bell Centre shortly to enjoy the game with my son Dylan.

    Go Habs Go!

  8. Peter Young says:

    Red banner day for me. For the first time ever, I get to watch live on TV my two favorite sports teams : Manchester United at 7 a.m. Pacific time (which I’m watching now) and the Montreal Canadiens at 10 a.m. Hoping for two big wins. Both teams need it. And as I write, Stoke City go up 1-0 over United, courtesy of a wicked deflection catching the keeper wrong-footed. Liverpool supporter Mike Boone will like that. On, United. On, Canadiens.

  9. Peter Young says:

    Double post. Sorry.

  10. Sportfan says:

    I can’t stand afternoon games, I’ve gone to a few Matinees they are fun, but when the game is over its 4 and you are exhausted and have nothing to do at night lol

    Sports and Entertainment in the link click and enjoy, clicking is fun!
    http://nickolaisblog.wordpress.com/

  11. HabinBurlington says:

    Enjoy the game and the day everyone! Gotta run, hope I get to see some of the game today.

  12. Lafleurguy says:

    Boonie, 3 hours to puck-drop and no Live-Blog yet?

    “Bends but won’t break”

  13. L Elle says:

    Hey, Twi and I share the same birthday. But, he’s much older. :)

    Happy Birthday to all the Aquarians!

    Edit: And apparently Don Cherry. ewww is right!

  14. Day two in Regina

    Sorry to insult any members who live here, but now I know why so many people in Saskatchewan move to Brandon,MB

    To get away from the drunks who roam Albert St.

    Game three of my 7 game win streak. Just because TB is bringing in ECHL goalies doesn’t mean they are easy to beat. Over confidence is a killer….just ask the Bruins :lol:

    Can’t wait to see Mr. Genius coach the Habs to a win tonight. He’s that good!

    Shane Oliver
    Twitter @Sholi2000
    http://www.Sholi2000.com
    Custom Sports Figures
    Summit Member 29.31.1.20.33

    • SPATS says:

      I hear ya Sholi, I spent a week in Regina one night…

      PS, I am embarrassed and sorry our Gubmint (especially Fantino) is dropping the ball on you brave warriors. Peace brother

      OOH AAH – HABS ON THE WARPATH

    • ABHabsfan says:

      Regina; the city that rhymes with fun!

      “man, I love winnin’; you know, it’s like better than losin’?”-
      Ebby Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh


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