Leblanc, Beaulieu will be in lineup for Habs against Penguins

LouisLeblanc

Canadiens first-round draft picks Louis Leblanc and Nathan Beaulieu will be in the lineup Wednesday when the Canadiens play the Penguins in Pittsburgh (7 p.m., TSN, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

Leblanc was called up from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs late Monday afternoon and Beaulieu was recalled on Sunday after playing the night before against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Penguins lead the Eastern Conference with 70 points, 11 points more than the fourth- place Canadiens. The Habs won their last battle with the Penguins, a 3-2 victory at the Bell Centre on Nov. 23 when Tomas Plekanec’s line kept Sidney Crosby off the scoresheet.

“We’re all aware of the challenge that awaits us there,” coach Michel Therrien said.

The Canadiens will have to play a really tight game because if they give the Penguins time and space they’ll hurt you, Therrien said.

“We’ll have to follow the game plan to the letter,” the coach added.

It’s the second time that Leblanc has been called up this season. He practised Tuesday on a line centred by Michaël Bournival with Travis Moen.

“It feels good,” Leblanc said after practice about being back with the Habs. “It was a long wait. You never know with the injuries up here and whatnot. I’m happy to be back and it’s always fun to be in Montreal.”

Leblanc, who has nine goals and 11 assists in 36 games this season with the Bulldogs, said he feels his season has been going well.

“I’m contributing offensively and also improving my defensive game,” Leblanc said. “Getting better on the (penalty kill). Just little details of the game that I never really paid attention to before in my career and it’s for sure helping me out.”

Carey Price will start in net for the Canadiens in Pittsburgh.

Alex Galchenyuk, who is out with a fractured hand, skated on his own for the second day Tuesday. Ryan White (upper-body injury) also skated, but Therrien said the injury has been slow to heal.

“We’re still talking about weeks,” the coach said.

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

Pacioretty-Desharnais-Gallagher
Eller-Plekanec-Gionta
Prust-Brière-Bourque
Moen-Bournival-Leblanc
Parros

Markov-Subban
Emelin-Diaz
Beaulieu-Gorges
Murray-Bouillon

(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)

Canadiens vs. Penguins preview, NHL.com

Precision engineering for Habs, Canadiens.com

Pacioretty and Desharnais The Odd Couple, Canadiens.com

Post-practice interviews (video), Canadiens.com

Canadiens scouting report (video), pittsburghpenguins.com

Latest Penguins news, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Martin Brodeur at home in Montreal (video), NHL.com

831 Comments

  1. Feraco says:

    Habs win Beaulieu with a hat trick

  2. Harditya says:

    As per RDS, these are the defensive pairings for tonight:
    Markov-Subban
    Beaulieu-Gorges
    Murray-Bouillon
    Emelin, Diaz scratched. Sorry if this was posted earlier.

  3. Eddie says:

    If we weren’t so concerned about Briere, Eller would be playing center and taking Malkin, while Plekanec takes Crosby.

    That would actually work.

    Now we have Desharnais or Briere against Malkin? Really?

    And if Subban and Markov are together, they need to match up against Crosby for sure.

    So what defensive pairing, with Desharnais or Briere at center, goes against Malkin?

    I’m lost.

    Someone tell me how we stop Malkin tonight?

  4. Maritime Ronn says:

    A lot of people wondering if it’s better to have their team’s players in the Olympics or not.

    The NHL is closing down between Feb 9-25.

    May be off by a day, yet the players not chosen will have a full 9 days off – no official practises are allowed, then they will report to their team’s for the final 7 days when practises are allowed.

  5. GL says:

    most of the good teams are well managed. they make sure they can compete with the best each year and have a chance to win it all. Let the other teams catch up and you fall out of competing. must keep changing the weak links and a team won’t fall into that problem. Don’t blame money. Every team gets the same amount mismanagement is not an excuse!!

  6. habsfan999 says:

    re: Matt Cooke

    Yesterday the TSN site brought to my attention the injury inflicted upon Karlsson by Matt Cooke. I’m sure everyone here remembers when Cooke took Markov out of our cup run a few years ago?

    So my question is, is it just to avoid an extra two minute minor that has every coach in the league not sending someone out to simply beat the ever-livin’ bejeezus outta Matt Cooke? Is it not time someone laid the whuppin’ of a lifetime on this guy? Will not some coach or GM take on this responsibility?

    It was just a few days ago that someone in baseball referred to hockey as a minor sport – a statement I completely disagree with, especially coming from a sport where almost all the players either stand still or sit down 99% of the time, but,

    what kind of league lets a player who repeatedly maims opponents continue to play?

  7. habs001 says:

    The odds are that based on all the players the Habs have in the organization(not on the present team) they will not be cup contenders in 2 to 3 years..It would be a miracle if they get more than 3 impact forwards from this group and even 3 is pushing it..they will have to pick up players thru trades and ufa…Many teams have comparable if not better forward prospects…and lot of these teams have allready better core players on the team that are young….not sure why i keep reading from posters that the Habs will be cup contenders in 2 years…

    • CJ says:

      You are correct, the forward position, including those high end talents are certainly our greatest weakness. That said, Montreal does have one of the better talent pools, albeit heavy in defencemen, in the league. Drafting and developing prospects is but one part of the process. It needs to be aligned with trades and key UFA signings. I agree with Bergevin, you don’t build a team through free agency. You can compliment or augment a team though through this process.

      Where I see the greatest cause for optimism is that our core players are all 26 and under. That is why I’ve pointed to a future filled with potential.

  8. mark-ID says:

    Not sure if its been posted yet, but it looks like Emelin and Diaz are in the press box tonight. Beaulieu should get a good amount of ice time if he sticks with Gorges.

    “I think I may have found a way for us to get Griffey and Bonds, and we really won’t have to give up much” -Costanza

  9. CJ says:

    To say that I’m surprised with the choice on defence this evening would be an understatement. I just read that Diaz and Emelin are scratched and Boulion and Murray are in. I just don’t see how Boulion makes this lineup. I have proven, if nothing else, that I’m a patient man, but this personnel choice is perplexing.

    I will wait to cast further judgement, but this makes no sense to me. Based on his inability to defend against the Leafs, Boulion could really get lit up tonight.

    • Landof10000lakesHab says:

      Flu? Trade? Injuries? Discipline?

      • CJ says:

        No denying Emelin had a brutal game in Toronto. I’d go as far as saying he was directly responsible for two goals against. That said, Bouilion was equally bad. I don’t get why or how he finds his way back into the lineup. I’m sure he’s a great guy, and I know he and Therien have a long history, but he is finished. Way to small. All the heart in the world can’t overcome his diminished skill set.

  10. JUST ME says:

    As it has been so many times the case in the past for the Habs another Bouchard will try to make the headlines tonight, this time though, tennis is the sport.
    Good luck to Eugenie !!! We may just be witnessing history in the making ! Quite cool !

  11. frontenac1 says:

    Habs going on win streak starting tonight amigos! Opening the Flood Gates! Saludos!

  12. CJ says:

    Is it just me or does Montreal always seem to struggle when the game is carried nationally by TSN? LA, Philly, Ottawa are just recent examples. Call me crazy, but I’d like to know their record on mid week TSN national broadcasts.

    Maybe I’m making something of nothing, but my wife and I can’t seem to recall the last time the team played really well on a TSN broadcast.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Not sure if you speak French, but perhaps when you get to watch the games on English you get to hear and understand criticism as opposed to just watching the games on RDS.

      I don’t speak French, but have spent most of my life watching Habs in French and only pick up on the odd things they say. But I love watching in French, as Houde’s voice and cadence is perfect and I don’t really judge the play based on analysts but rather what I see.

      Just my thought. I know if the Habs aren’t winning TSN isn’t going to go out of there way to find much positive with the Habs.

      • habsonly says:

        Exactly, I have been a Habs fan since 1962 or earlier (can’t remember ), I speak English and can understand french ( not an expert though). I have always preferred to watch the Habs games in french for much of the same reasons HB. The game is more enjoyable not having to listen to the TSN or CBC (whom are IMO Hab haters and Laff fans) play by play.

      • CJ says:

        I always watch RDS HD. I’m not fluent, but my French is good enough to get by.

        • frontenac1 says:

          Pierre Houde and Marc Denis are the best. No question.

          • CJ says:

            Agreed. Like I’ve said on numerous occasions, how guys like Gary Galley get the privilege of calling nationally broadcasted games I’ll never know.

          • John Q Public says:

            And yet they make it up as they go along.
            Inferring what a player was thinking while not calling the play on ice.

          • ont fan says:

            I watch most games with no volume at all. Have to say, its easier to take when no one is jacking me up and we are always playing nail biters.

          • frontenac1 says:

            I thought The Hawks crew on WGN were good to. Very professional. The CBC is just bush league. Except for Andi Petrillo.

      • GGtheHab says:

        I also dont speak french, but understand the hockey terms..deirerre le but, le lign blue, and of course le tir et le but..(sorry for the spelling my franco friends), I used to wake up at 0200am in Croatia during my UN tour in order to tune into static filled. intermittent reception of Radio Canada french broadcasts of our Habs. Point being such is my loyalty an love for them. Tonight I will be watching in English on 52 glorious inches of high def..so regardless of he score I am happy. Go Habs Go..they are due for a big win and it may carry them through to critical victories over the wings.caps this week.

    • mushalain says:

      I think its just a matter of coincidence. Although I remember them always sucking bad on Sunday afternoon games. However those teams that you mention are physical teams and that’s where the habs fail. We can play with the hawks, wings, and pens. But when it comes to playing a physical team (other than Bos) we are terrible. Same goes for any team that has a coach who is known has an X’s and O’s guy. They will simply out smart MT while he fails to adapt during the game.

    • dr. gesundheit says:

      No, It’s not just you…I especially notice it vs the Leafs.

  13. bwoar says:

    I don’t think Beaulieu needs to be on the left side to be successful. He needs to have powerplay success, as I wrote last night, and simply staying afloat 5-on-5 will be enough.

    It’s obvious, or should be by how, that Gorges is more comfortable on the left side, so at least give him the spot he wants- if he’s able to help the kid better from that side, so be it.

    “thoroughbred”

    • Eddie says:

      I think the plays at both blue lines could be very challenging for him, and those plays make a big difference in the game, so I will have to disagree with you.

      Therrien also refers to “protecting” the young playes from failing, because this can really hurt their confidence.

      This was an easy choice because Gorges has a lot of experience on the right side.

      Te veteran takes the tougher challenge, the rookie gets protected.

    • CJ says:

      Agreed. Good post.

      • Eddie says:

        Playing your wrong side as a dman can be a tough challenge,
        and a young player needs to “comfortable” in his reads, his angling, his gap control, his pivoting.

        • krob1000 says:

          I think a guy like Emelin who is choppy in his pivots is hurt more than others. I see a guy like beaulieu as being able to play his offside due to his tremendous skating along with his grea thands…the puck handling and vision is o fgreat urgency in an unfamiliar position as well but I think BEaulieu will be fine there.

          • Eddie says:

            Certainly he has the skills. But when you’re nervous trying to make an impression, so you will stick with the big team, that’s not the time to stretch those skills out of his comfort zone.

        • CJ says:

          I worry more about Georges then Beaulieu. I don’t think there could be a sadder reflection of our ails then this.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      So my seats on Saturday were on the end of the rink where Habs shot for two periods, so I didn’t get to see Beaulieu in his own end as much as I would have liked, but I cannot overstate how beautiful a skater he is. Wow! There was one time in his own zone you could tell he thought he would just outskate the forecheck with a spin move and it didn’t work. He just needs to realize that while indeed he can skate, at the NHL level you can’t rely on that. You need to have the presence of mind of where to put the puck in certain situations.

  14. habsguru says:

    change of plans, and it looks like I can’t use my tickets for the WAS game saturday. if anybody is interested, let me know and we can communicate off line. club seats in 219. at least i get to see the bolts and the jets next weekend! sounds like Stamkos will be in.

  15. GL says:

    I don’t understand management and some of the fans for that matter. This team does not need to be dismantled. All we need is two or three good 20-25 goal scorers get rid of the deadwood and we are Stanley cup contenders. We do not have to wait for players to develop in junior or the AHL to have a Stanley cup winner. By doing that we’ll be waiting for years to come. To win a Stanley cup you have to improve every year not every 5 or 10 years. Every year it’s now or it will be never. This team is tied with Pittsburgh for the 2nd best defence in the eastern conference. Offence is our problem. The 8-teams in place right now for a playoff run. We are #8 on offence that’s not gonna cut it. Our “D” is OK. MB has to make a move for more offence to have a good playoff run if we should make it!! The deadwood will not get us pass the 1st round.

    • mushalain says:

      The problem is the Habs have a bunch of supposed 20-25 goal scorers and no elite talent upfront. We have carried these types of players for the past 25 years. When is the last time someone hit the 40 goal mark? (Vinny Damphousse?) 50 goals? (Stephane Richer?) 100 point player? (Mats Naslund?) As for them being in the top 3 for defense this is all due to Carey Price, without him we would be near the bottom in the league in this category.

    • CJ says:

      Respectfully we are further away then that. We still need depth to help sustain success when faced with injuries. We haven’t faced significant long term injuries this year. It is going to take improved depth, in addition to high end talent to get us to the next level. Fortunately the eastern conference is weak, so many of the existing deficiencies are not magnified.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      The Habs Goals Against Ave. per game is 6th
      The Habs Goals For Ave per game is 18th
      The Habs 5X5 play is ranked 23rd.

      Our Top 2 D are excellent, yet our Top 6 is not OK, as Price’s spectacular play this year camouflages the deep holes.

      20-25 goals scorers don’t grow on trees.
      In the last full season, only 52 players scored more than 25 goals – that’s less than an average of 2 per team, so when a team has one, it usually signs him long term.

      • Eddie says:

        I have no doubt that Galchenyuk, Gallagher, and Eller can all score 20 goals, if they are played correctly, which seems to be a problem.

        Add Plekanec and Paccioretty, and this team has 5 legitimate 20 goals scorers.

        I’m not including Gionta, Briere, Bourque, Desharnais, in the top 9, as that would be a real stretch for any of them to score 20 for sure.

        But 5 twenty goal scorers, Price, Subban and Markov.

        That’s a very good core if you’re asking me.

        • Stimpy007 says:

          Exactly!!

          We are stuck with Briere and you know what, playoffs are where he thrives. Suck it up and you never know (he is very frustrating tho). You always need some luck with players. We could and should surprise once the second season starts. DD is mostly the set up man so if he keeps feeding patch I’m cool with that and Wee Gally is there to clean up scraps so…. what more can you say??

          If pitty wants gionta by all means let him go. A sizable replacement is required for sure. If gio stays then DD must be upgraded. Bourque??? Ughhhhhh guy is killing us. I bet Stewart could be had in St Louis. He is playing bottom 6 minutes and could be better suited in a top 6 role. His work ethic is questionable tho. But has to be better than bourque’s.

        • B says:

          Going back to the AHL, Eller has yet to score more goals in a season than Desharnais. The way things are trending (he is only up by 2 now and that lead has really been evaporating lately), he may not do it again this season. It will be interesting to see how the Hab’s scoring stats look at the end of the season.

          –Go Habs Go!–

    • Stimpy007 says:

      I agree. Problem is nobody wants our deadwood and arent willing to let go any prospects to make it happen.

      Patch is on fire this year and that whole line is something to build on. Plecky is playing lights out also and shouldering his line. Checkers need to step up a bit but I think it is a motivation thing. Our D is going to be fine just need some time. Markov isnt getting younger and what more can be said about Subban. I think a bigger Gorges would put us right there with any D corps in the league. In nets??? Nuff said.

      A high profile Forward and some diggers and we are not far off. I say go for it!

      Mind you it will be tough to keep the cup out of the west this year.

  16. veryhabby says:

    I was all for building thru the draft. But then another fan on another forum made me think about something. It’s not about being impatient for another 4-5 yrs. But let’s look at the core of young NHL players we have NOW, and the kids we have in our prospect pool NOW.

    A.Right now our youth core is: Price, PK, Galchenyuk, Pac, Eller, Gallagher, Bournival.

    B.Plus our valuable vets right now are Pleks/Markov.

    C.We have 3 Dmen prospects that are ready, or just about ready for nhl.

    D. If we wait for our NOW prospects to develop to come into NHL and have some impact, the earliest we are looking at 4 yrs from now? Right? MacCarron, Dela Rose, Collberg, Hudon, Lekhenon, whoever we draft this off season in 1st/2nd round, and maybe a surprise from a player in AHL presently. This is the pool of draft picks that will be ready to play for us, most likely 4 yrs from now.

    So my question is….do any of those prospects seem to be worth the wait? will any of those prospects bring us the key piece in our “building thru the draft”? Of course no one knows for sure, but just assuming they hit top potential. Is it worth waiting for Pleks/Markov to possibly be gone by then. For Price/PAc to be about 30? Is it worth the wait?

    OR OR OR…do you take the A-B-C of above and add high end players to that now and next year. And then compete with this core for the next 1-4 yrs for the cup?

    So do we add to our NHL core now…or wait for our prospects to get here while the core we have now gets old? We have 2 allstars, one 30 goal guy, one allstar in the making, and a few valuable depth young kids now. Why are we waiting 4+ years for the kids we are drafting? I don’t think they will be better then what we have now.

    • krob1000 says:

      pretty well what I wrote the other day..agree completely..while the young core is affordable and is complimented by some decent vets I would start moving now…actuayll would have last year

    • gumper says:

      Adding through free agency is realistic. Adding quality through trades, considering what we have to trade, is less realistic but one can always hope. I just pray that MB can add more effectively this summer than he did last, because all he managed to do was dilute our talent base with mediocre players.

      The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.
      Mark Twain

      • krob1000 says:

        I would add through leveraged free agency…meaning picks for rentals with the intent o fsinging and exclusive opportunity to sign until JUly 1 in that situation….and you get them for this year and perhaps buy the kids more experience or better yet the team overachieves…worst case scenario it was a calculated risk that could help and given Montreal’s history in Free Agency may be a much needed opportunity to tlak while in a decent position.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      Core pieces come through the draft, yet they must be complemented by key trades and key UFA signings.

      For the trades, you have to have multiple assets (draft picks- A prospects) to make the trade attractive for the other team. (LA-Jeff Carter-Mike Richards)
      Habs are far from that

      To get key UFA guys, they usually want a legitimate landing spot where the winning the Cup is real. (Hossa)

      Some teams like Boston have built their team with mainly UFA signings (Chara) and incredible almost 1 sided trades.
      When they won their Cup, no goaltender or Dman was drafted by the Bruins, and only 5 forwards were originally drafted by them ( Bergeron-Lucic-Marchand-Krejci-Seguin).
      Seguin was the only 1st rounder, and was not a key in that Cup win


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