The Montreal Canadiens had their final practice before heading to Boston to play the Bruins Wednesday in their first game since losing 5-2 to the Florida Panthers on New Year’s Day.
The Habs will play the red-hot Bruins – winners of five of their last six games – at TD Garden Wednesday night (7 PM ET, TNT, SN, RDS), and then travel to Chicago to face Marc-Andre Fleury and the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night (8:30 PM ET, SN, RDS, NBCSCH). They will then have five more games on the road before finally playing another game at the Bell Centre on Jan. 27 against the Anaheim Ducks.
Roster TBD For Wednesday
The Montreal Canadiens continued to get players back on the ice at practice at Bell Sports Complexe in Brossard as defenseman Jeff Petry (COVID) and forwards Michael Pezzetta (COVID) and Tyler Toffoli (hand) were back on the ice. Petry and Pezzetta skated in full-contact jerseys after being cleared to play but Toffoli – who underwent hand surgery back on Dec. 11 – was in a non-contact jersey. He joined Josh Anderson as the only two Canadiens players in non-contact jerseys at practice on Tuesday.
Montreal head coach Dominique Ducharme confirmed that every player, except Toffoli and Anderson, who skated Tuesday, is eligible to play against the Bruins Wednesday. Forwards Brandon Baddock and Jake Evans, defensemen Alexander Romanov and Louie Belpedio, and goaltender Cayden Primeau, who were all released from COVID protocol recently, will join the team for their game-day skate Wednesday morning.
Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme once again stressed that the roster is still very much in flux and couldn’t commit who’s in for the game Wednesday night.
“We’ll skate tomorrow morning and make decisions after that because we have to see what condition each of them is in,” Ducharme told the media Tuesday. “With the guys coming to Boston, they’re all available, but are they in optimal condition to play a game? Maybe not. We need to evaluate that.”
Byron, Gallagher, Price Updates
Montreal Canadiens forwards Paul Byron (COVID), Brendan Gallagher (lower-body), and goalie Carey Price remained absent from practice Tuesday. Ducharme said that Byron is ‘probably closest’ to returning during the road trip and that there is a chance that Gallagher could join at some point.
On Sunday, Ducharme said that Price was yet to take part in a meeting with him, team staff, and an outside doctor. After that meeting and when Price got cleared to play, the next step would be to ramp up workouts and on-ice sessions. It appears that will take place in Brossard for now and Price will likely remain back in Montreal for the entire trip to get into game shape.
Here’s what the lineup looked like at practice on Tuesday:
Mike Hoffman-Nick Suzuki-Artturi Lehkonen
Jonathan Drouin-Christian Dvorak-Joel Armia
Laurent Dauphin-Ryan Poehling-Cole Caufield
Cedric Paquette-Lukas Vejdemo-Michael Pezzetta
*Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli non-contact.
Ben Chiarot-David Savard
Brett Kulak-Jeff Petry
Sami Niku-Chris Wideman
Cory Schueneman (rotating in)