The Canadiens flew to Los Angeles after Tuesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Sharks in San Jose and will be back in action Wednesday night against the Kings (10:30 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
The Canadiens did not have a morning skate Wednesday in L.A. and there was no media availability before the game.
Claude Julien is probably very happy about that because he must be getting tired of answering questions about why his team is so bad — off to a 1-4-1 start to the season.
The Canadiens rank dead-last in the NHL in offence, averaging only 1.50 goals per game. Goalie Carey Price is also struggling with a 3.56 goals-against average and a .855 save percentage.
The Canadiens announced Wednesday afternoon that Al Montoya would start in goal against the Kings. This will be the first start of the season for Montoya, who played the final two periods of the Canadiens’ 6-1 loss to the Washington Capitals in the second game of the season when Price was pulled after allowing four goals in the first period. Montoya has a 3.00 goals-against average and a .778 save percentage.
The Canadiens haven’t been giving Price a lot of help defensively.
“Giving up a 5-on-3 is never the right choice and being undisciplined against a team that gets so much from their power play, there’s no excuse,” defenceman Shea Weber said after the Sharks scored two power-play goals on seven opportunities. “You got to just find a way to be better.”
Surgery for Schlemko
On Wednesday afternoon, the Canadiens announced that blue-liner David Schlemko, 30, underwent surgery to remove a bone fragment in his right hand. He will miss the next three to four weeks. Schlemko was acquired from the Vegas Golden Knights for a fifth-round pick in 2019 one day after he was selected from the San Jose Sharks at the NHL Expansion Draft.
Davidson playing better
After a tough training camp and pre-season, Brandon Davidson has started to play better on the Canadiens’ blue line.
Davidson was paired with Joe Morrow against the Sharks and logged 13:44 of ice time, going minus-1 with a team-high five hits. Davidson has played four games, averaging 14:54 of ice time and is minus-2.
Weber said he had a chat recently with the 26-year-old Davidson.
“I think he wanted to do so well early on,” Weber said about Davidson, who was acquired by the Canadiens from the Edmonton Oilers last season in exchange for David Desharnais. “I think he put a lot of pressure on himself. I think now he’s taken … not that you don’t think when you play, but I think he’s just letting his instincts take over and he’s really stabilized his game. I think he’s been rock solid for us back there just moving the puck, playing physical and doing a good job for us.”
What did Weber say to Davidson?
“That’s between him and I,” Weber said. “That’s just stuff that I think everybody talks amongst each other.
“You can ask him,” Weber added. “If he wants to talk about it we’ll let him talk about it because I don’t want to put him on the spot like that. I don’t want to make it seem like it’s a bigger deal than it is.”
Davidson wasn’t available to the media after Tuesday’s game.
Morrow makes Habs debut
Morrow, signed to a one-year, $650,000 contract by Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin as a free agent this summer, made his Canadiens debut against the Sharks, logging 10:22 of ice time and going minus-1 with two hits and one shot.
Like Davidson, Morrow had a tough time during training camp and the pre-season.
“I haven’t looked at the game-over (video) but at least there’s nothing that sticks out tonight in him making some big mistake or anything,” Julien said after the game. “So sometimes when you’re not being noticed it’s because you’re probably doing something right.”
Morrow becomes the eighth player in Canadiens history to wear No. 45, following Jocelyn Lemieux, Gilbert Dionne, Arron Asham, Corey Locke, Alexandre Picard, Mike Blunden and Mark Barberio.
First point for Mete
Canadiens rookie defenceman Victor Mete earned his first NHL point against the Sharks, picking up an assist on Weber’s power-play goal.
“I think he’s had some good chances,” Weber said about his 19-year-old defence partner after the game. “He had a really good chance against Toronto to score … he was in the slot by himself. He continues to play well, so hopefully I think it’s the first of many and hopefully he continues to get better.”
Mete logged 21:25 of ice time against the Sharks and was minus-2, as was Weber, who played a team-high 25:36.
Julien frustrated by video review
The Sharks’ fourth goal, scored by Logan Couture (his second of the night), went to video review before being officially called a good goal.
Julien didn’t like the call.
“Disappointed in the goal that was allowed when it’s clear that (Joe) Thornton’s stick pushed Carey out of the way,” the coach said. “But I’m not wasting too much time on those anymore because we don’t know what we’re going to get from one day to another (with video review). It’s always different, so you got to move on with those.”
The Canadiens will take a bus from Los Angeles to Anaheim after Wednesday night’s game.
The Canadiens will practice Thursday afternoon at the Honda Center and then wrap up their three-game California road trip Friday night against the Ducks (10 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN Radio 690).