The Montreal Canadiens will try and get their first win of the season against the San Jose Sharks tonight at the Bell Centre. The two newest Montreal Canadiens, left-winger Mike Hoffman and centreman Adam Brooks, will make their Habs and home debuts. The Canadiens are trying to avoid going 0-4 to start a season for the first time since 1995.
Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme tinkered his lines at practice yesterday partly out of necessity. The introduction of Hoffman and a minor injury to centreman Jake Evans means that Brooks will centre the third line between Hoffman and Brendan Gallagher. Evans did take limited line rushes at practice this morning and did not look like he was struggling. Jake Allen was back at practice with his teammates and will get the start in goal tonight.
Here were the lines at practice in Brossard this morning
Montreal Canadiens Lines
Toffoli – Suzuki – Caufield
Drouin – Dvorak – Anderson
Hoffman – Brooks – Gallagher
Lehkonen – Paquette – Armia
Romanov – Petry
Chiarot – Savard
Kulak – Wideman
Forward Mathieu Paquette and defenceman Sami Niku will both be healthy scratches tonight.
Ducharme said that he expects Evans could be ready to return very soon. The centreman could be back as early as Thursday against the Hurricanes in Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s return to the Bell Centre.
Unit 1 Unit 2
Drouin – Dvorak – Hoffman. Caufield – Anderson – Suzuki
— Jon Still (@Imstilljon) October 19, 2021
Quote of the Day: After calling Mike Hoffman’s shot an “absolute missile,” Josh Anderson was asked after practice how a smaller guy like Hoffman generates so much power on his shot. “Yeah, I don’t know what to tell ya,” chuckled a smiling Anderson. “Maybe he shoots a lot of pucks like Cole. He’s got a rocket and he’s, what, 5’5 and 70 pounds?”
Choppy waters in the Shark tank
The Montreal Canadiens opponent tonight, the San Jose Sharks, are 1-0 on the season. But it’s what happening off the ice that is making headlines. Forward Evander Kane was suspended 21 games by the NHL yesterday for violating the league’s COVID protocol for trying to use a fake vaccine card. It is the latest development with Kane that caps a horrific off-season for the player after being accused of betting on games and domestic violence by his estranged wife. The NHL admitted yesterday that they are investigating the domestic violence allegations but that they “could not be substantiated.”
Another newsworthy part of the Sharks off-season was the contract status of centreman Thomas Hertl. The 27-year old is entering the final year of his deal that pays him $5.625 million dollars per season. The Czech centre was a player many Montreal Canadiens fans had on their list as a potential replacement for Jesperi Kotkaniemi after he signed the one-year, $6.1 million dollar offer-sheet with Carolina. GM Doug Wilson reportedly is yet to offer Hertl a contract extsension and with the Sharks in the middle of what looks to be a rebuild, he could be an attractive trade target in-season for teams looking for a top two-line centreman (cough, Marc Bergevin, cough). He had a goal and an assist in San Jose’s season-opening 4-3 win over the Jets.
Habs fans will also get their first look at 2021 seventh overall pick forward William Eklund. The 19-year old Swede will play on the left of Hertl and Rudolfs Balcers. He picked up his first NHL point, an assist, against Winnipeg.
Here’s how the Sharks are expected to line up against the Montreal Canadiens tonight per Puckpedia
Dahlen – Couture – Meier
Eklund – Hertl – Balcers
Nieto – Bonino – Balcers
Cogliano – Weatherby – Pederson
Ferraro – Burns
Vlasic – Karlsson
Simek – Middleton
Sharks injuries: Forward Jeffrey Viel is only expected to return in mid-November. He underwent finger surgery after getting injured in a pre-season fight. Evander Kane is suspended until the end of November for violating the NHL/NHLPA’s COVID protocol.
- The Sharks are one of the few teams in the NHL the Montreal Canadiens have a losing record against. The Habs are 15-20-4-2 against San Jose all-time.
- In their last 10 meetings, the Sharks are 8-2 against the Habs.
- San Jose defenceman Brent Burns has points in each of his last eight games against the Montreal Canadiens.
- The last time the Habs started a season 0-4 in 1995, head coach Jacques Demers and general manager Serge Savard were fired
How to Watch: RDS, TSN (Regional), NBC Sports California
How to listen: TSN 690, 98.5
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