The Montreal Canadiens are off to a better start than many expected in the 2018-19 season, taking the Toronto Maple Leafs to overtime before demolishing the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road. That success is coming thanks to a healthy Carey Price and young speedy lineup that is playing without any expectations. The group got some more good news today when captain Shea Weber took to the ice for a short session to test out his injured knee.
Despite all the negative things that came out of Montreal this summer, Weber remains a beacon of hope for many fans as he works his way back from injury. The newest captain is a rock on defense for the team and should improve any chances they have of battling for a playoff spot this season, or in the development of their younger defensemen. Head coach Claude Julien has already made his stance clear by scratching veteran options like Tomas Plekanec and Karl Alzner, but would obviously love to get Weber back into the lineup as soon as possible. There has been no update to his timetable, which had him scheduled to return at some point in December.
- One player closer to a return for the Canadiens though is Nicolas Deslauriers, who suffered a facial fracture in the preseason but was also on the ice today. Deslauriers is by no means the offensive engine of the Canadiens, but did fit in nicely with the group last season by providing a physical presence and chipping in 10 goals. The big, heavy winger is a good skater and will find his way back into the lineup before long, as long as he’s deemed healthy.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins will go with Casey DeSmith as their starting goaltender tonight, but there’s reason to believe that Matt Murray could be back sooner than expected. Murray suffered the third concussion of his young career recently, but was back on the ice today and took shots from teammates during an optional skate. Though Tristan Jarry will serve as the backup for tonight and likely split duties with DeSmith as long as Murray is out, that might only end up being a short stint.