After a frustrating but spirited 3-2 overtime loss to the Blackhawks on Thursday in Chicago, the Montreal Canadiens continue to get good news on the health front.
Roster Filling Out Again
Habs winger Josh Anderson is expected to be back in the lineup when the Canadiens take on the Arizona Coyotes in the third game of their current seven-game road trip and on Sunday. On Sunday, some more good news came from the desert as Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme seemed even more confident that Habs forward Paul Byron will rejoin the team during the current road trip this week.
Byron is yet to play a game this season after undergoing hip surgery back on July 30 and just as he seemed to turn a corner, the 32-year-old winger came down with COVID on December 29.
“He was getting really close to coming back, but then he got COVID, so [his rehab] had to be stopped,” Ducharme told the media in a Zoom call on Sunday. “That conditioning, that preparation with his injury, just to make sure he’s well built up to come back, that took a setback. He’s going to be back pretty soon.”
After their 4 PM, ET tilt with the Coyotes in Glendale, AZ Monday, the Montreal Canadiens head to Dallas to face the Stars on Tuesday (8:30 PM ET), then to Las Vegas to play the Knights on Thursday (10 PM ET), the Avalanche in Denver on Saturday (7 PM ET) and then close out the trip on Jan. 24 in Minnesota against the Wild (8 PM ET).
There’s a chance the Montreal Canadiens may also get winger Tyler Toffoli back this week as well.
“It’s possible we might see him in an upcoming game, but probably not before Vegas (Thursday) or Colorado (Saturday),” Ducharme said Saturday. “It could be one of those two games or the game after [at Minnesota Wild Monday]. He’s getting there, he’s recovering from his injury, he’s getting back into game shape, so we’re very close to having him back on the ice.”
Primeau or Montembeault For Habs Monday?
It appears the starting goaltender for the game at Arizona Monday may not be determined until warmups at Gila River Arena but if it’s rookie goalie Cayden Primeau, he is excited and ready to go after spending time in COVID protocol.
“It’s exciting to be getting back to playing,” said Primeau after practice Sunday. “The last month or so has been out of my control, so over the past week, I’ve just been trying to get back into game shape,” explained, That’s been the biggest thing.”
Montreal Canadiens goalie Jake Allen is back in Montreal for further evaluation.
Back To The Desert For Dvorak
Montreal Canadiens forward Christian Dvorak spent five seasons with the Coyotes before being dealt to the Habs last September. Dvorak still keeps in touch with his old teammates and other people he befriended while paying for the Yotes.
“I have a lot of memories. This team drafted me and took a chance on me. I had a great time here. It was a great five years,” the 25-year-old Dvorak said Sunday. “It’s good to be back and good to see some old friends. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about the team and the organization.”
Here’s what the roster looked like at practice Sunday:
Mike Hoffman-Nick Suzuki-Jake Evans
Rem Pitlick-Christian Dvorak-Jonathan Drouin
Artturi Lehkonen-Jake Evans- Joel Armia
Michael Pezzetta/Laurent Dauphin-Ryan Poehling-Cole Caufield
Cedric Paquette (no contact)-Lukas Vejdemo-Tyler Toffoli (no contact)
Alexander Romanov-Jeff Petry
Ben Chiarot-David Savard
Brett Kulak-Chris Wideman
Kale Clague-Sami Niku