Bobrovsky, red-hot Blue Jackets visit Canadiens
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MONTREAL -- The Columbus Blue Jackets, riding the goaltending of Sergei Bobrovsky, are the hottest team in the NHL. They will look to extend their winning streak to seven games when they face the Montreal Canadiens on Monday at Bell Centre.
The Blue Jackets (15-7-1) recorded the second win of their streak in Montreal on Oct. 14, 2-1 on an overtime goal by defenseman Zach Werenski. Bobrovsky made the save of the game when he dropped his stick and lunged to his right to get his blocker on a shot by Montreal's Jacob De La Rose on a two-on-one.
Bobrovsky, who has allowed six goals during Columbus' winning streak, is expected to start against the Canadiens, which would set up an interesting goaltending battle.
Carey Price had a 36-save shutout against the Buffalo Sabres in Montreal's 3-0 win on Saturday in his return after missing 10 games with a lower-body injury. The result ended the Canadiens' five-game losing streak.
"I don't focus on who plays (in the other net)," Bobrovsky told bluejackets.com. "I just focus on my stuff, and (doing) what I should do. Obviously, I love to win, so there is the competition (factor). You want to win."
Columbus center Alexander Wennberg could be a game-time decision. He has missed the past five games with an upper-body injury.
The Canadiens (9-12-3) got a boost Saturday from Price's return and a revamped first line. Montreal coach Claude Julien replaced captain Max Pacioretty with Paul Byron on a line with left winger Alex Galchenyuk and center Jonathan Drouin. The line combined for six points in the win against the Sabres, and Julien had them together again at practice on Sunday.
Galchenyuk scored for the first time in 11 games Saturday. Pacioretty played with center Phillip Danault and right winger Andrew Shaw.
If the Canadiens are going to overcome their disastrous start to the season, they are going to need the offense to improve (they are 30th in the NHL with an average of 2.33 goals a game) and have Price recapture his form.
"He's one of the best players in the league. A player like that is always a boost," Galchenyuk, speaking to Montrealcanadiens.com, said of Price. "Not just on the ice but in the locker room. He's so focused and calm. He's just a great leader, and it's great to see him back."
Canadiens top defenseman Shea Weber could miss his fourth game with a lower-body injury, but blue-liner David Schlemko could play his first game for Montreal. Schlemko, who has not played in the NHL this season because of hand surgery, was called up from the Laval of the AHL on Saturday after a two-game conditioning stint.
"It was nice to get back and play a real game," said Schlemko, 30, who was acquired June 22 from the Vegas Golden Knights for a fifth-round draft pick in 2019. "I'd like to play, but we're about a quarter of the way into the season here and I understand that teams are going to be flying, and if they think I need a little more work, then that's what I'll do. I'm just excited to be close to be playing again."
He skated with Brandon Davidson at practice on Sunday.
"We're kind of excited for him. You kind of forget how important a piece we expected him to be at the start of the year," Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher told the team's website of Schlemko. "Getting him, he's obviously going to help our lineup."
Updated November 26, 2017