Coyotes look to continue recent success vs. Montreal

MONTREAL — While the Montreal Canadiens appear on the verge of getting their starting goaltender back, the Arizona Coyotes will be without theirs for at least one game.

Starter Mike Smith suffered a lower-body injury in the third period of the Coyotes' 7-4 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night and was replaced by Montreal native Louis Domingue. The 24-year-old made his first NHL start at the Bell Centre on Feb. 1, 2015, when he overcame two first period goals-against before helping the Coyotes to a 3-2 comeback win.

Last season, he took over between the pipes while Smith missed approximately three months while recovering from injury.

“He's done this before,” Arizona coach Dave Tippett said. “He's a veteran of jumping in and being the lead guy for a team when a goaltender goes down … He came in and played really well last year and we expect the same from him this year. He's matured as a player and as a person. He's done it before, there's no reason to believe he can't do it again.”

Tonight's game can be seen on FOX Sports Arizona and FOX Sports GO, starting at 4 p.m.

The Coyotes have won their last two games in Montreal and swept the season series last year for the first time in franchise history. Anthony Duclair has scored a point — one goal and four assists — in each of his four games vs. Montreal.

The Coyotes (1-1-0) will be looking to bounce back after Tuesday's effort. Trailing 3-2 when Smith went down, the Senators scored a pair quickly and the visitors never recovered.

“After (Smith) goes down, they get two quick ones and that's tough,” Arizona forward Jordan Martinook said. “With Louis coming in there, you can't fault him on any of those but they get the two quick ones and we're pretty much out of it, we're just chasing.”

Montreal, meanwhile, could have Carey Price back for his first start in nearly 11 months. He was sidelined with a flu bug for about a week, during which time he says he lost about seven or eight pounds, which drained his energy, Price participated in his first full team practice on Wednesday. He'll see how he feels energy-wise on Thursday before deciding on his playing status.

The Canadiens (2-0-1) have fared well in his absence thanks to strong efforts from back-up Al Montoya. The 31-year-old was sharp in the first period against the Penguins on Tuesday, stopping all 17 shots he faced, and kept at it the rest of the night en route to a 36-save effort in 4-0 win over the defending Stanley Cup champions.

“He just looks so calm. He reminded me a lot of Pricey (Carey Price),” defenseman Nathan Beaulieu said of Montoya. “He was seeing everything, making everything look easy, and he made some really difficult saves, especially early on.

“It's nice knowing that we have two goalies that can step in and do the job.”

It was also a good night for a couple of Montreal forwards who sputtered offensively in the first two games. Center David Desharnais scored twice and left winger Max Pacioretty showed off his talent with a goal just 23 seconds into the game and a no-look backhand feed to Desharnais in the third period. With both looked upon to produce, especially Pacioretty, both had just one assist heading into the game.