The Montreal Canadiens will be without goaltender Carey Price for their three-game road trip.
The Canadiens announced Thursday that Price will not travel with the team to Florida because of a lower-body injury.
The Canadiens play the Panthers on Friday night in Sunrise, Fla., then face the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
Montreal finishes the road trip Monday in Dallas.
Price has played in 30 games this season, posting a 15-10-4 record with a 2.84 goals-against average and .904 save percentage.
The Canadiens will likely look to Antti Niemi to carry the load in goal over the road trip. Niemi has a 4-3-1 record with a 4.14 GAA and .876 save percentage backing up Price this season.
The game in Florida also has another intriguing story line.
It marks Canadiens forward Max Domi’s first game against the Panthers since he was suspended for the remainder of the pre-season schedule for punching Florida defenceman Aaron Ekblad in an exhibition game. Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo called the sucker punch “gutless” and said the team “won’t forget about it.”
Domi, however, wasn’t interested in revisiting the topic when talking to reporters Thursday.
“To be honest, all we’re really focused on is the game,” he said. “Nowadays every game is a playoff game. That’s all we’re focused on. It’s a hockey game and we’ve got to find a way to get [two] points and start the road trip the right way.”
Veteran defenceman Karl Alzner, meanwhile, could make his return to the Montreal lineup after being recalled from AHL Belleville on Wednesday. The move was made after defenceman David Schlemko was placed on injured reserve.
“I was a little bit surprised when I got the call, but obviously extremely happy,” Alzner said. “It’s a nice Christmas present.”
Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson, defenceman Justin Falk both out with concussions
Ottawa Senators starting goaltender Craig Anderson and defenceman Justin Falk are out at least through the weekend with concussions.
Senators general manager Pierre Dorion gave the medical update Thursday morning as the team returned to practice following the Christmas break.
Anderson was hurt last Friday when he took a hit to the head from Miles Wood of the New Jersey Devils.
Falk was hurt last Saturday against the Washington Capitals.
Anderson has been in net for 14 of Ottawa’s 15 wins this season.
The Senators have recalled goaltender Marcus Hogberg from AHL Belleville to take Anderson’s roster spot.
Ottawa returns to action on Friday with a road game against the New York Islanders.
McDavid, Matthews, MacKinnon and Ovechkin named team captains for NHL all-star weekend
Edmonton Oilers centre Connor McDavid and Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews will be two of the four team captains for the NHL all-star weekend next month in San Jose.
McDavid (Pacific Division), Matthews (Atlantic), Colorado Avalanche centre Nathan MacKinnon (Central) and Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan) won fan votes to earn the captaincies and the first roster spots for the event, Jan. 25-26.
Matthews will make his third all-star appearance and first as captain, while McDavid, of Newmarket, Ont., will captain the Pacific Division for the third time in as many appearances.
MacKinnon, of Cole Harbour, N.S., is heading to all-star weekend for the third time, while Ovechkin makes his eighth appearance.
The rest of the all-stars will be determined by the NHL’s hockey operations department.
The head coach of the team with the highest points percentage (points earned divided by total possible points) in each of the four divisions at the halfway point of the regular season will guide the respective all-star rosters.
All-star weekend will feature a three-game tournament in a 3-on-3 format.