Canadiens hurting as they get ready for Maple Leafs (Jan 7, 2017)
TORONTO — While the Toronto Maple Leafs held off the New Jersey Devils 4-2 Friday night, the Montreal Canadiens were already in Toronto, rested and ready to face their traditional rivals at the Air Canada Centre Saturday night.
The Canadiens may be refreshed after a 4-3 overtime win over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday, but they are hurting.
They announced Friday that Brendan Gallagher will be out a minimum of eight weeks after surgery to repair a broken left hand after he was hit by teammate Shea Weber’s 97-mile-per-hour slapshot during the game in Dallas.
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“It’s the same hand he injured last season, but it’s a different spot,” Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said Friday. “It’s a tough break for him because he was starting to play some of his best hockey.”
The Canadiens also lost Paul Byron to an upper-body injury Wednesday and he will not be available Saturday.
The Maple Leafs scored four goals in the first period Friday in Newark, N.J., but did not have a shot on goal in the third period as the Devils scored twice in the final 3:24 of the third period and had a 32-14 advantage in shots overall.
Toronto has won six of its past seven games and has moved into a playoff position.
“I never really thought about that,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “If we just keep plugging along and doing good things, good things will happen to us. Like I said, we’ve got a long way to go as far as improving as a team and getting comfortable with the lead and all those things. We’ll just keep working at it.”
The Maple Leafs’ only loss in their recent surge was 6-5 in overtime against the Capitals in Washington on Tuesday.
“I knew going into this season that we’d get better and better,” said James van Riemsdyk, who had two assists for Toronto on Friday. “As the season has gone on, I think we’ve done that. Where that would leave us playoff-wise and points-wise, you never really know — there’s lots of unknowns.
“The guys that management has brought in have done a really good job and been key contributors. Now, again, we can’t be satisfied here. We have to keep pushing and keep trying to get better. I think we have a lot of upside still.”
The surging Alexander Radulov will be moved into Gallagher’s spot on the Habs’ first line with Phillip Danault and Max Pacioretty for the game in Toronto.
The Habs also called up Sven Andrighetto and Nikita Scherbak from St. John’s of the AHL.
Andrighetto, who has been shuttled between St. John’s and Montreal this season, will be teamed with Tomas Plekanec and Artturi Lehkonen against the Maple Leafs.
Scherbak’s NHL debut will be on the fourth line with Michael McCarron and Bobby Farnham.
“We like how (Scherbak has) progressed this year compared to last year,” Therrien said. “He had a fair training camp but since he’s been in St. John’s this year, his work ethic has been better. He’s more responsible on the ice, with the puck and without the puck. We know he has skill, but I’m interested to see how he handles the pace.”
Alex Galchenyuk, who has been out since Dec. 4 with a knee injury, and Andrei Markov, who has a groin injury, have rejoined the Canadiens on the road are not ready to play Saturday.
Montreal (24-9-6) is 9-6-4 on the road and Toronto (18-12-8) is 10-6-2 at home this season.