Canadiens fighting flu as Ducks come to town

NHL Hockey
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Flu-like symptoms continue to affect several Montreal players, but the Canadiens probably won’t got any sympathy from the visiting Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.

The Ducks are playing their best hockey since the start of the season, and they’d like to keep their momentum flowing in the right direction.

Anaheim captured the first two contests of its five-game road trip to get in the rare position of attempting to win three in a row. The Ducks haven’t won three straight since the first three games of the season, and have only been in position to win three in a row one other time since Nov. 1.

The Canadiens had to take on the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night without starting goalie Carey Price, center Jordan Weal and defenseman Victor Mete, all of whom had the flu.

Montreal still managed to pull off a 5-4 shootout victory after trailing 3-0 early in the game.

The Canadiens also had to overcome the emotional letdown of watching the Devils tie the score on a power play with 20 seconds left, forcing the extra time.

Charlie Lindgren, who filled in for Price in his fourth start of the season, made 20 saves against a short-handed New Jersey team. He told reporters afterward that the flu bug has been harsh on everyone.

“Our trainers have been saying this is the worst flu in 10 years,” Lindgren said. “The hospitals are packed and it’s going through our team. We have to be careful, take care of our bodies, washing our hands, getting good sleep.”

Mete and center Ryan Poehling missed practice on Wednesday because of the lingering illness, but Weal and Price returned.

Price is listed as probable against the Ducks, a team he has struggled against during his career.

Price is 3-7-1 against Anaheim with a 3.13 goals-against average and .895 save percentage, both of which are far off his career marks of 2.48 and .918, respectively.

After battling injuries for most of the season, the Ducks have been at full strength recently.

One player who has stood out in recent games is right wing Ondrej Kase. He scored in the second period on Tuesday night in Ottawa and was one of two Anaheim players to convert in the shootout to lift the Ducks to a 3-2 victory over the Senators.

Kase has a goal and an assist on the two-game trip that started with a 3-1 win at the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night. He registered a plus-1 rating in both games.

“If he’s not putting it up on the board, he’s great defensively,” Ducks forward Max Jones said. “He’s really fast, so he gets back on the puck. He’s great at backchecking. He fills his lanes. He’s probably been the biggest key to our line. We all feed off of him.”

Both teams have won five of their past seven games.

Despite their recent health issues, the Canadiens have been benefiting from their scoring depth. Montreal’s past eight goals have been scored by different players.

One of those goals belonged to Nate Thompson, who scored his third of the season on Tuesday.

Thompson spent three seasons with the Ducks from 2014-17.

“It’s good to get some depth scoring” Thompson told reporters after the win against the Devils. “It takes some of the heat off the other guys.”

–Field Level Media

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