Habs get Josh Anderson back as they face Coyotes
Not much has gone the way of the Montreal Canadiens this season, but they should get a major piece back Monday afternoon when they continue a 10-game road trip by facing the Arizona Coyotes in Glendale, Ariz.
Sidelined since Dec. 2 with an upper-body injury, key point-producer Josh Anderson is expected in the lineup for the red-white-and-blue crew when the two clubs meet for the first time this season.
Anderson, 27, last played six weeks ago when the Canadiens hosted the Colorado Avalanche, and his setback is just one line on the Canadiens’ massive injury list.
But the good news finally stepped onto the ice Saturday when Anderson practiced on the top line with left wing Mike Hoffman and center Nick Suzuki — assembling a trio of skilled forwards.
Montreal coach Dominique Ducharme stated in his post-practice press conference that he felt the right wing would play against the Coyotes, and Anderson himself echoed the notion, even though the club had announced at the time of his injury that he’d be out for eight weeks.
“It’s exciting. Whenever you’re out for any period of time, it’s difficult to not be out there with your teammates,” said Anderson, who has seven goals and six assists in 25 games. “All you want to do is try to help them, and you can’t do that from the stands.”
Also, Ducharme said forward Tyler Toffoli, following hand surgery on Dec. 11, should appear in an upcoming game — perhaps after the back-to-backs in Arizona and Dallas.
Ducharme did not commit to who would start in goal Monday in the desert but said Sam Montembeault and Cayden Primeau would split the crease time in the first two matches.
With eight of its scheduled games postponed in the last month, including five at home, Montreal has played just five times (0-3-2) since Dec. 16.
In their home-and-home set of back-to-back games against Colorado, the Coyotes lost twice over the weekend — 4-3 by shootout in Denver Friday, 5-0 on home ice Saturday.
Former Arizona backstop Darcy Kuemper stopped all 20 shots in the shutout, but the Coyotes previously got a 44-save outing from goalie Ivan Prosvetov in Colorado in his second NHL game this season.
A native of Moscow, Prosvetov idolized a fellow Russian netminder who happened to play for the Avalanche.
“Back in the day, when I was younger, the best goalie in the league was Semyon Varlamov,” Prosvetov said. “I was watching him when I was a very young kid and he played for the Avalanche. So I was always playing for the Avalanche in Xbox and stuff. Definitely funny how life goes.”
Added acting coach Phil Housley, who stepped in for head coach Andre Tourigny (COVID-19 protocol): “Provy made some huge saves for us.”
A fourth-round selection (114th overall) in the 2018 draft, Prosvetov is 0-2-1 in five career NHL games, with three of the appearances occurring against Colorado.
Tourigny has missed three games and is not the only team member sitting out because of the virus.
In Saturday’s rematch, Arizona played without defensemen Jacob Chychrun, Anton Stralman, Cam Dineen and Kyle Capobianco, plus goalie Scott Wedgewood — all in COVID-19 protocols.
–Field Level Media