Goaltender Dustin Tokarski made an impressive debut in a Canadiens uniform Wednesday night, backstopping the Habs to a 4-3 shootout win in Anaheim.
And now Habs fans can get excited about Thomas Vanek making his Montreal debut Thursday in Phoenix against the Coyotes (9 p.m., TSN-HABS, RDS, TSN Radio 690). Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin acquired Vanek from the New York Islanders just before Wednesday’s 3 p.m. NHL trade deadline and the forward joined the team in Phoenix Thursday.
“Any time (you get traded) you’re excited to come in and meet the guys,” Vanek told reporters Thursday in Phoenix. “It’s a little bit overwhelming, but since the minute I found out I had been traded to Montreal, they’ve treated me first class. We just had a quick meeting this morning and I’m sure coach will let me know (who I’m playing with) later.”
Josh Gorges won’t be in the Canadiens’ lineup against the Coyotes. There were reports after Wednesday’s game that the defenceman has a broken hand and he returned home to Montreal Thursday to be re-evaluated by team doctors. Gorges is believed to have suffered the injury during last Saturday’s game against Toronto, but continued to play, including 21:28 of ice time in the win over Anaheim.
Tokarski, who was called up from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs after Carey Price was sidelined with a lower-body injury, said he only worried about one thing in his Habs debut Wednesday night.
“I had to take it as any other game and just do what I did to get here,” he told reporters in Anaheim after the game. “I had to go out there and worry about one thing, stopping the puck. I just had to block everything else out. I think it’s good to have nerves. I had to fight them off and at the end of the first I got a lot of saves in after not many in the first 10 minutes. It felt good going into the second to have some shots.”
The Canadiens didn’t have a morning skate in Phoenix, but injured players Brandon Prust (upper body), Michael Bournival (concussion) and Price all skated at Jobing.com Arena.
GM Bergevin, who was in Chicago Wednesday for the funeral of his mother-in-law, was to join the team Thursday in Phoenix and meet with reporters shortly before the start of the game.
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)