Jeff Halpern, claimed off waivers from the New York Rangers on Saturday, will be in the Canadiens lineup when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday night (7 p.m., RDS, TSN-HABS, TSN Radio 690).
“We’re really happy to have him in our lineup,” coach Michel Therrien told reporters in Brossard after Monday’s practice. “He’s going to add some depth to our club. He’s good on faceoffs, he’s good killing penalties. He’s blocking shots. Experience is always a big part of that second half — that stretch to finishing the year.”
Therrien called the game against the Penguins, who have won 12 straight, a “huge challenge.”
“Right now, this is the hottest team in the NHL,” the coach said.
The Canadiens will be in Boston on Wednesday night to face the Bruins in a challenging back-to-back part of the schedule.
“We’ll worry about the Bruins after we worry about the Penguins,” defenceman Josh Gorges said.
The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs caught up with Halpern, who discussed his return to the Canadiens – a team he played for during the 2010-11 season – and his new business, Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken, which recently opened its doors in Washington, D.C.
“We love losing our money in restaurants,” Halpern joked of hockey players, the taverns/brasseries of Canadiens legends Butch Bouchard, Henri Richard, Yvan Cournoyer and coach Toe Blake preceding former Habs Sheldon Souray and Saku Koivu into the pizza business.
The Canadiens held an optional skate Tuesday morning in Pittsburgh. The only players who didn’t skate were Brian Gionta and Michael Ryder. Therrien confirmed Carey Price will start in goal, while Halpern will play centre on a line between Gabriel Dumont and Travis Moen.
At the Penguins morning skate, Evgeni Malkin did not work with a line and Kris Letang worked on the fourth defence pair, meaning they both most likely won’t play against the Canadiens. Newcomer Brenden Morrow skated on the second line with Dustin Jeffrey and James Neal and worked on the second power-play unit.
(Photo by Pierre Obendrauf/The Gazette)