Montreal Canadiens forward Mike Hoffman was back at practice with his teammates this morning. Hoffman skated on a line with newcomer Adam Brooks and Brendan Gallagher at the Bell Centre as it was picture day for the team. He has missed all of training camp and the pre-season with a lower-body injury.
Hoffman could make his debut either tomorrow against the Sharks or Thursday against the Hurricanes in Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s return to the Bell Centre.
As a power-play specialist, Hoffman could be vital to reversing the team’s fortunes on the man advantage three games into the new season. He was on a new-look power-play unit with Jonathan Drouin on the left, Tyler Toffoli as the net-front presence, Jeff Petry up top, and Christian Dvorak in the bumper. The other unit on the man advantage was Nick Suzuki on the right, Cole Caufield on the left, Brendan Gallagher in front of the net, Josh Anderson in the bumper spot and Chris Wideman on the blueline. The Montreal Canadiens are one of seven teams yet to score on the power play so far this year.
Brooks found himself centering the third line because centreman Jake Evans was curiously absent from practice for what the team is calling a maintenance day. Goaltender Jake Allen was also not at practice but will skate with goaltending coach Eric Raymond after practice. Both finished Saturday night’s loss to the New York Rangers.
Defenceman Sami Niku was also on the ice, taking Brett Kulak’s spot next to Chris Wideman on the third pairing. Niku suffered a concussion in a pre-season game against the Ottawa Senators on Sept. 30. He signed a one-year, two-way deal with the Montreal Canadiens Sept. 24.
Montreal Canadiens Lines:
Up front, head coach Dominique Ducharme reunited Tyler Toffoli, Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. On the fourth line, the two Finns, Artturi Lehkonen and Joel Armia, flanked Mathieu Perreault who was skating down the middle.
Chris Wideman skated as the spare d-man.
Forward Jake Evans was absent from practice. As was goalie Jake Allen, who worked out with goalie coach Eric Raymond.