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Pregame: Canadiens vs. Sabres

November 8, 2018, 3:07 PM ET [31 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
As most of you probably know by now, following Joel Armia's injury against the Rangers Tuesday, the Canadiens called up Kenny Agostino from the Laval Rocket. The 26 years old won't have to wait long before playing his first game in the Canadiens jersey as he will find a home on the 3rd line tonight alongside Kotkaniemi and Lehkonen. Neither Armia or Byron are ready to come back to the line-up and tonight's lines and defensive pairs will be as follows:

Tatar - Danault - Gallagher
Drouin - Domi - Shaw
Agostino - Kotkaniemi - Lehkonen
Deslauriers - Peca - Hudon

Benn - Petry
Alzner - Reilly
Ouellet - Mete

Aside from Agostino's insertion, you can notice that Shaw was bumped from the 4th line to the 2nd line while Hudon finds himself back with Peca and Deslauriers. Chances are the penalties taken by Hudon in the last 2 games and that awful turnover against Tampa did not help his case. It's also worth noting that Alzner will be back in the line-up taking over Juulsen's spot which isn't very surprising considering Tuesday was probably his worst outing of the season.

Injury-wise, Claude Julien has confirmed that Armia underwent an MRI on his knee and that they are waiting on the results. He also mentioned that Paul Byron's status will be reevaluated on a weekly basis which means that the injury is perhaps more serious than first thought. As for David Schlemko he took part in today's practice forming a duo with Juulsen. Perhaps his return is near but it remains to be seen if Julien will want to give him a spot right away. Of course he's not yet in game shape but the defence has struggled mightily lately...Could Schlemko be part of the solution as everyone waits for Weber's return? Speaking of which, there are some rumours that the newly appointed Habs captain could be back in the line-up by mid-novembre but Julien did no say so himself.

As for Agostino's call-up, it appears to be a bit of message to Nikita Scherbak. When the Habs' 2014 first-pick agreed to go down to Laval for a conditioning stint, he did say to journalist that he considers that he should now be a regular NHLer. Since then, he's played a few games with the Rocket and head coach Joel Bouchard has not been kind with him criticizing amongst other things his implication in the game. One now has to start to wonder if Scherbak's time is running out with the bleu, blanc, rouge... The point is though, his value has never been as low as it is now so trading him doesn't seem like a likely decision right this moment. That being said, Bergevin didn't exactly trade Pacioretty when he was at his peak value and I think we can all agree that he still managed to swing a great deal (Tatar has done well, Suzuki is a points making machine with his junior team and a draft pick is always a good asset to get).

Montreal last played Buffalo on October 25th and lost that decision 4-3. Avenging that loss would surely go a long way towards allowing the fans to get over Tuesday's less than stellar performance.
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