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Canadiens-Canucks Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 1:49 AM

Associated Press

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Montréal Canadiens vs. Vancouver Canucks
Price ready for rare homecoming
3 GP 3
2 W 0
1 L 3
0 OT 0
4 P 0
0.667 P% 0.000
3.00 G/G 2.00
2.67 GA/G 4.33
20.0 PP% 20.0
63.6 PK% 58.3
24.7 S/G 40.0
36.3 SA/G 24.7
50.6 FO% 55.5
Feb 24, 2009 VAN@MTL MTL, 3 - 0
Feb 15, 2009 MTL@VAN VAN, 4 - 2

CANADIENS (2-1-0) at CANUCKS (0-3-0)

Season series: The Canadiens and the Canucks met twice in 2008-09 season within a period of ten days. Montreal's 4-2 defeat at the hands the Canucks on Feb. 15 was part of a disastrous road trip where the Habs managed only one win in six games. Daniel and Henrik Sedin contributed a goal and assist each in the win. Vancouver repaid the visit on Feb. 24, when Montreal was able to pull rebound with a 3-0 victory.

Big Story: The Canucks are still seeking their first win of the season after three straight loses, with goaltender Roberto Luongo allowing 12 goals in that span.  The Canucks' captain was pulled five minutes into the second period Monday against the Blue Jackets in favor of backup Andrew Raycroft. It marks the first time Vancouver has opened the season with three straight losses since 2002.

"Roberto is one of the best goaltenders in the League and definitely one of the hardest workers in this League, so he's going to find his game like he always does," Vigneault said. "The other parts of our game are pretty good. Obviously, we're making a few mistakes, but we are generating a lot. We're not that far away."

Team Scope

: Montreal suffered its first lost of the season in Calgary on Tuesday after opening with two straight wins. Scott Gomez and Guillaume Latendresse scored 32 seconds apart late in the first period on Tuesday night.

For a team that has been criticized for its lack of size, the Habs also managed to hold their own and outhit Dion Phaneuf and the Flames, 16-14.

With Andrei Markov and Ryan O'Byrne out for two and four months respectively, defenseman Yannik Weber was called up from AHL Hamilton and played solidly alongside Paul Mara on Tuesday, logging 17:32 of ice time. The Canadiens also signed free-agent defenseman Marc-André Bergeron on Tuesday to help ease the loss of Markov. Bergeron, a power-play specialist, will report to Hamilton for conditioning.

: Despite the loss in their season opener loss and the shaky goaltending, the Canucks outshot the Jackets, 43-24. Willie Mitchell ended a 41-game drought when he made it a one-goal contest midway through the third period, but his team was unable to come up with the equalizer in a 5-3 loss.

Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault is expected to shuffle his lines for this upcoming game. Left wing Tanner Glass, who has yet to suit up for Vancouver during the regular season, skated with center Kyle Wellwood and right wing Steve Bernier at practice on Tuesday, replacing rookie Sergei Shirokov. Glass, an off-season acquisition, collected 13 points last season with the AHL's Rochester Americans.

Who's Hot
: Carey Price is not resembling the goaltender who struggled at the end of last season. The 22-year-old was sensational in his first two games of the season with 43 and 24 saves, respectively. Price was rested Tuesday against Calgary, but the native British Columbian will be given the start in Vancouver on Wednesday in front of friends and family. Travis Moen has made quite a few heads turn and the lone player on Montreal's roster to register a point in each of his first three games. The left winger was also involved in a pair of fights in the season opener in Toronto.

Defenseman Willie Mitchell currently leads the Canucks with three points. Mikael Samuelsson, Alexandre Burrows, Christian Ehrhoff, Kevin Bieksa and Henrik Sedin follow with two points each. Burrows also leads the team in shots with 16 in his first three games.

Injury Report
: O'Byrne's knee injury, previously thought to keep him off the ice for just six weeks, will now take eight, but will not require surgery. He joins fellow blueliner Markov in the infirmary, who is out for four months with severed ankle tendons. Center Glen Metropolit is day-to-day with a rib injury.

Right wing Pavol Demitra and defenseman Mathieu Schneider continue to be on the injured reserve for the Canucks, although Schneider skated with the team on Tuesday. Right wing Jannik Hansen is recovering from surgery to repair the fingers he broke in a preseason fight.

Stat Pack
: Jaroslav Halak was the starting goalie for the Habs in both of last year's games. Despite the loss in the first contest, the Slovakian backup was solid with 29 saves and recorded a 34-save performance and his first shutout of the season in the second.

Puck Drop
: Luongo's unlucky streak simply can't go on forever. The talented goaltender is bound to bounce back, and perhaps the speed and creativity of Montreal's new forwards could give him the challenge he needs to step it up.

-- Magalie Lafrenière,

The Vancouver Canucks are not about to blame Roberto Luongo for their rough start.

The team's captain could be back in net Wednesday night as the Canucks look for their first win while trying to continue their recent dominance at GM Place over the Montreal Canadiens.

Vancouver (0-3-0) has been outscored 13-6 while opening the season with three straight losses for the first time since 2001-02. Though the Canucks are averaging 40 shots per game, the area of concern is on the defensive end, particularly Luongo.

Considered one of the NHL's best goaltenders and fresh off signing a 12-year, $64 million contract extension, Luongo - who has a 2.58 career goals-against average - is 0-3-0 with a 4.56 GAA.

"None of (the responsibility) is (Luongo's)," forward Alex Burrows told the Canucks' official Web site. "We win as a team and we lose as a team. We think he's the best goalie in the league and he's going to bounce back."

Luongo was pulled after allowing four goals on 12 shots in a 5-3 loss to Columbus on Monday. Andrew Raycroft stopped 11 of 12 shots the rest of the way to possibly earn some consideration to start this contest.

"(Luongo's) the least of my concerns," said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault, whose team tries to avoid going winless through its first four games since opening 0-3-1 in 1994-95. "Roberto is one of the best goaltenders and definitely one of the hardest workers in this league, so he's going to find his game, like he always does."

Luongo could find his game against his hometown team. The Montreal native is 8-8-2 with three ties and a 2.47 GAA against the Canadiens, who've lost seven straight at Vancouver since Nov. 30, 2000.

After opening the season with two overtime wins on their five-game road trip, the Canadiens (2-1-0) look to bounce back from a 4-3 loss at Calgary on Tuesday while being aware that they will next face a team desperate to get in the win column.

"Vancouver is going to be hungry after an 0-3 start, they're going to be waiting for us," first-year Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said. "We just have to come out and play three periods. We had some good intensity (Tuesday) and we have to be prepared to battle for 60 minutes."

Scott Gomez, who spent the last two seasons with the New York Rangers, scored his first goal with his new team. Michael Cammalleri added his third assist in his first season with Montreal, which has scored nine goals so far.

Gomez, Cammalleri and former New Jersey forward Brian Gionta were all brought in as part of offseason overhaul to boost a club that ranked in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference with 242 goals last season.

Cammalleri, who spent his first five seasons with Los Angeles and scored a career-high 39 goals for Calgary in 2008-09, has seven goals and 10 assists in 20 games against the Canucks. Gionta had a goal and assist with the Devils in a 5-3 win at Vancouver on Jan. 13.

Carey Price, who's 2-0-0 with a 1.89 GAA, should start for the Canadiens after sitting out Tuesday in favor of Jaroslav Halak. Price made one save in eight minutes in his only appearance against Vancouver, a 4-2 loss on Feb. 15.

Vancouver's Henrik Sedin scored a career-high 22 goals last season and has three with seven assists against Montreal. He scored his first of the season against Columbus.

2009-2010 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 02 '10 VAN 2 at MTL 3 T. Plekanec
Oct 07 '09 MTL 1 at VAN 7 M. Raymond
T. Plekanec4134+1200
P. Mara4044-1200
T. Moen4213+11200
M. Cammalleri4033+0000
B. Gionta4202+2411
J. Gorges4112+3001
S. Gomez4112+1400
G. Metropolit2112+0210
G. Latendresse4101+0000
A. Kostitsyn4101-1610
J. Spacek4011+1000
M. Lapierre4011-1400
G. Laraque4011-2500
R. Hamrlik3011+0200
M. Pacioretty4000+0200
H. Gill4000-31100
R. O'Byrne2000+1200
M. D'Agostini2000-1200
G. Stewart2000-2700
Y. Weber2000-3000
K. Chipchura2000-4500
A. Markov1000+0000
C. Price32-1-0111133.69.903
J. Halak20-1-04313.58.871
H. Sedin4336+2410
C. Ehrhoff4134+3200
R. Kesler4134-1200
D. Sedin4044+0200
A. Burrows4213+1600
M. Samuelsson4213-2220
W. Mitchell4123+1500
K. Bieksa4123+01310
S. Bernier4112+1010
A. Edler4022-2200
M. Raymond4101+2401
S. Salo4011-3000
S. O'Brien4000+2600
D. Hordichuk4000+0200
K. Wellwood4000+0000
R. Johnson4000-1200
R. Rypien4000-1500
S. Shirokov3000-4000
T. Glass1000+1000
R. Luongo41-3-012893.51.865
A. Raycroft10-0-01121.82.917