The Habs continue their five game road trip tonight at the midway point, by visiting the Vancouver Canucks. Montreal is coming off their first loss of the season, a tough 4-3 defeat in Calgary last night. The match was a close one, with the Habs holding the lead for much of the night. Carey Price is expected to start the game, which will be his first time starting a pro game in his home province of British Columbia. Last season, the teams split two games, with Vancouver winning the first match 4-2 at home. The Habs extracted revenge with a 3-0 shutout for Jaroslav Halak back in Montreal.
The Canucks will be looking for their first win of this season, after losing their first three games. This has been their worst start to a season in eight years, especially after completing the pre-season with a 7-0-2 record. Vancouver has never started a season with four consecutive losses during their 39 year NHL existence. The team has managed only 6 goals in their first three games, but also fired 120 shots on goal. Roberto Luongo, arguably the finest Quebec-born goalie in the NHL today, is off to a bad start, with a 0-3 record, a 4.56 GAA, and a .820 save percentage. Luongo is traditionally a slow starter, so look for him to rebound with a better performance tonight against the Habs, a team he traditionally plays well against.
A report surfaced yesterday afternoon, to squash the rumours since last Friday of a new addition to the Habs defensive core. With the long term losses to two regular defencemen of Andrei Markov (4 months) & Ryan O’Byrne (2 months), Bob Gainey pulled the trigger by signing veteran UFA Marc-Andre Bergeron to help out. Bergeron has a reputation as a good offensive player, combining good speed and a cannon for a shot from the point (100+ mph). Bergeron was sent down to the AHL farm team in Hamilton for a conditioning stint, and should be called up to Montreal some time next week. For the short term, rookie Yannick Weber was called up from Hamilton to help the team ice six blueliners last night, and for subsequent games, until Bergeron is ready.
Please email Norm Szcyrek
with your comments about this Habsworld article.