James Mirtle's news and notes ahead of tonight's game between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs:
– The newest member of the Montreal Canadiens, Michael Ryder, will be in the lineup for Wednesday night's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, after being acquired from Dallas for Erik Cole on Tuesday. Habs coach Michel Therrien was rather effusive in his praise of Ryder in the morning but didn't offer any insight as to where he'll slot into in the lineup.
– Ben Scrivens gets the start in goal for the Leafs and Carey Price will start for the Habs. We're obviously dealing with a small sample size here, but Scrivens (.928) and James Reimer (.929) both have slightly higher save percentages than Price so far (.925). Goaltending has been the single biggest reason both teams are where they are in the standings.
– Speaking of Reimer, he's getting close to returning from his knee injury. (He called it "inching closer" on Wednesday.) He also pointed out that he has never had knee problems in the past – only ankle injuries – and that while he will start out wearing a brace, it's not expected to be something he'll wear long term. It could have been a lot worse, in other words. Update: The Leafs revealed later in the day Reimer will in fact return against the Habs. He'll be the backup but could play Thursday in Long Island.
– The injury news isn't as positive for Matt Frattin, however. When the Leafs said it would be "a minimum of one week" that was apparently really underselling the surgery Frattin had done on the knee, as he's still experiencing swelling and has to ice it down every day and night. They don't want to risk him coming back too early, either, as more damage could be done.
"They kind of cut out the pain," Frattin explained. "They cut out the cartilage that was bothering me. It's just basically the swelling is something you've got to maintain; the torn meniscus that was there, they took it out."
Frattin had off-season surgery on the knee and re-injured it way back on the sixth game of the season, the one in Buffalo where he had the buzzer beating winner in overtime. He played (and played well) through it for a while, but the discomfort led to getting an MRI done and that led to the second procedure.
There's no reason to be alarmed at this point, but it's worth pointing out his recovery may take longer than originally thought because of all of the factors involved. The last thing they want is a 25-year-old player to suddenly have prolonged issues with his knee.
– Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said prior to the game that both Colton Orr and Mike Brown are available to play after recovering from lower body injuries. Given what happened in the Leafs last meeting with the Habs, it seems likely all of Toronto's muscle will be in the lineup, meaning David Steckel will sit this one out. Mike Komisarek and John-Michael Liles are also likely scratches.
That leaves the Leafs lineup likely looking like so:
JVR – Bozak – Kessel
Kulemin – Grabovski – Komarov
MacArthur – Kadri – Orr
McLaren – McClement – Brown
Phaneuf – Holzer
Gunnarsson – Kostka
Fraser – Franson
Without knowing where Ryder plays, it's probably best to not make any assumptions on the Habs' lineup. This was the group they used in their last game, however:
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Gallagher
Gionta – Plekanec – Prust
Cole – Eller – Galchenyuk
Moen – White – Armstrong
Diaz – Gorges
Emelin – Markov
Bouillon – Subban