Coming off a 5-2 loss to the Coyotes Thursday night in Phoenix, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien decided to give his players a day off Friday in San Jose as they prepare to face the Sharks Saturday night (10 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690) in the final game of their four-game West Coast road trip. The Canadiens also announced there would be no media availability on Friday.
Fatigue seemed to catch up with the Canadiens Thursday night in Phoenix.
“We started the game like a team that had played last night (in Anaheim), travelled and got in here at 3 a.m.,” Therrien told reporters after the game in Phoenix. “We looked like a team that was playing its sixth game in nine nights. By the time we got our legs under us, we were playing catch-up.”
Thomas Vanek, who was acquired from the New York Islanders at Wednesday’s trade deadline, made his Canadiens debut in Phoenix, playing on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta. Vanek had 15:34 of ice time, including 4:11 on the power play, produced one shot on goal and was minus-1.
“They’re two great players but it doesn’t happen in one night. Practice will be important tomorrow,” Vanek told reporters in Phoenix about his linemates after the game and before Friday’s scheduled practice was cancelled. “Gio found me a couple of times out there. For me it’s just about studying their habits and getting to know their routes so I can contribute with them better.”
Defenceman Mike Weaver, acquired from the Florida Panthers this week, also made his Habs debut, getting 15:22 of ice time and finishing minus-1.
The Canadiens will return home after Saturday’s game and face the Boston Bruins Wednesday night at the Bell Centre.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)