Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme is in wait-and-see mode in regards to his lineup for tonight’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Habs are sweating on the availability of forwards Nick Suzuki, Brendan Gallagher and Jonathan Drouin. The trio will be gametime decisions for the third game of the team’s five game homestand.
Suzuki missed practice for the first time yesterday but was on the ice for the optional skate this morning. Whatever injury he is dealing with remains unspecified by the team. Gallagher is reportedly dealing with a core injury that also saw him miss out on practice both yesterday and today. However the injury hasn’t forced him out of game action as of yet. Drouin was back on the ice yesterday. He missed Thursday’s loss to the Islanders despite having practiced earlier in the day. He took some friendly fire off the side of the head early in Tuesday’s win against Detroit.
“For me it’s can I help the team tonight,” Gallagher told reporters Thursday about playing through injury. “That’s what I’m concerned about. If I feel like I can help the team and the trainers feel like it’s not going to get worse than you’re in the lineup. Nobody’s going to be feeling 100%. You don’t selfishly want to play but you want to be out there helping your teammates…”
Ducharme confirmed that Jake Allen will get the start in goal for the Habs.
Here’s how the Montreal Canadiens are expected to line up against the Vegas Golden Knights tonight
Toffoli – Suzuki – Gallagher
Hoffman – Drouin – Anderson
Lehkonen – Dvorak – Armia
Pezzetta – Evans – Belzile
Chiarot – Petry
Kulak – Savard
Romanov – Wideman
Although the Vegas Golden Knights are going through an injury crisis of their own with Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and William Karlsson out for the foreseeable future, the huge news for them this week came off the ice.
If you’ve been living under a rather large boulder the last couple of days, Vegas acquired Jack Eichel and a 2023 third round pick from the Buffalo Sabres for Alex Tuch, prospect Peyton Krebs, a top 10 protected 2021 first round pick and a conditional third round pick in 2023. Vegas’ long-term search for a star first line centreman appears to be over while the Habs search continues.
So how long will we have to wait before we see Eichel in a Golden Knights jersey? The centreman provided an update on his injured neck and the subsequent surgery he will receive that led to such an acrimonious ending to his Sabres career.
“The rehab process, you’re working out probably a week to 10 days post-operation,” Eichel told NHL Network on Friday. “It’s not like you’re doing a workout with heavy weights or anything, but you’re able to move around. Hopefully at six weeks I’ll be able to get back on the ice and start skating. And I’m hoping around 12 weeks, three months, that I’ll be back playing.”
The artificial disk replacement surgery will be the first of it’s kind performed on an NHL player. Eichel is slated to go under the knife Nov. 12th. He said he expects to be 100 percent healthy in about six months time.
Tonight is the first meeting between the two teams since the Montreal Canadiens eliminated the Golden Knights in six games in last year’s Cup semifinals. Despite being depleted by injuries, Vegas have are .500 on the year at 5-5 and are coming off a 5-1 beat down of the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
Despite having the 29th ranked penalty kill in the league, the Habs haven’t allowed a power-play goal in consecutive games for the first time this season. They will be facing one of the few teams worse on the man advantage than themselves tonight. The Golden Knights are the only team in the league yet to score a power-play goal this season.
Here are your expected lines for the Vegas Golden Knights against the Montreal Canadiens tonight per Puckpedia
Marchessault – Roy – Smith
Carrier – Stephenson – Dadanov
Kolesar – Amadio – Janmark
Howden – Leschyshyn – Rondjberg
Hague – Pietrangelo
Martinez – Theodore
McNabb – Coghlan
Injuries: C Nolan Patrick, undisclosed (day-to-day). D Zach Whitecloud, lower-body (day-to-day). RW Mark Stone, lower-body (IR). LW Max Pacioretty, lower-body (IR). C William Karlsson, foot (IR).
- In the regular season, the Montreal Canadiens have never lost to the Golden Knights at home (3-0-0)
- Forward Mike Hoffman remains one point away from 400 for his career
- Brendan Gallagher continues to wait on his moments of Habs history. The Canadiens forward is two points away from 39th all-time in franchise history. With two goals he’ll tie Saku Koivu for the 27th most goals in franchise history