Canadiens winger Nikita Scherbak to make NHL debut with Brendan Gallagher out

Scherbak to make NHL debut with Habs

TORONTO — Brendan Gallagher’s broken hand has opened up the first NHL opportunity for Montreal Canadiens rookie Nikita Scherbak.

The 21-year-old Russian winger, picked 26th overall at the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

“It’s a good nervous,” Scherbak said of his anticipation following Saturday’s morning skate. “It’s a dream.”

Scherbak is getting his chance amid a slew of Canadiens’ injuries, Gallagher joining a group that includes Alex Galchenyuk, David Desharnais, Andrew Shaw and Andrei Markov. Gallagher was injured Wednesday night in Dallas when he was struck by a point shot from teammate (and notoriously hard shooter) Shea Weber.

The 24-year-old winger, who has 18 points this season, is expected to miss at least eight weeks.

Head coach Michel Therrien spoke to Scherbak on Saturday morning and sensed some nerves. He said the six-foot-two, 190-pound winger would have to adjust to the pace of the NHL to make a difference.

Scherbak, who only turned 21 at the end of December, has mustered 10 goals and 20 points in 27 American Hockey League games for the St. John’s IceCaps this season. He had only seven goals and 23 points in 48 games as an AHL rookie last year.

“You look at him this year compared to last year, he’s improved a lot,” Therrien said. “It’s an opportunity not only for (him) but for us to see where he’s at in his game.”

Scherbak said he spoke to countryman Alex Radulov about what to expect in his first NHL game.

“He told me what to do,” Scherbak said of Radulov, noting that he needed to be quick and meet the pace of the NHL. 

Of his advice from the coach, Scherbak added: “He said same thing: I have to be quick and just be focused and make plays when it’s there and just work hard.”

The current Atlantic division leaders, Montreal has won three of their last four games, each of their past five outings overall ending in overtime.

Jonas Siegel, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Kelowna council defers decision on homeless development

BC Housing is revisiting original plan after concerns from local businesses

3% tax hike proposed in West Kelowna

Proposed provisional budget tax hike in line with recent annual increases in the city

Okanagan robbery suspect sought

RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect in an… Continue reading

11-year-old water quality advisory lifted in Glenmore

Glenmore-Ellison Improvement District says Interior Health gave the green light to lift advisory

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

Crook’s Corner

A slice of this week’s arts and entertainment happenings in the North Okanagan at a glance

Liberal Hogg wins South Surrey-White Rock byelection over Conservative Findlay

B.C. riding to be represented by non-conservative for first time in decades

Six-year-old boy needs $19,000 a month to treat rare form of arthritis

Mother of sick Sooke boy asks government to help fund treatments

Environmental groups slam NDP decision to continue with Site C

Construction industry, meanwhile, is cautiously optimistic about how the project will look

Be ladder safe both at work and home

WorkSafeBC wants you to keep safe while hanging those Christmas lights this year

B.C. overdose deaths surpass 1,200

96 people died of illicit drug overdoses in October

A classic Christmas play with a Kelowna twist

Scrooge is transported to Kelowna in New Vintage Theatre’s new holiday play, opening Wednesday

Crown appeals stay against Jamie Bacon in Surrey Six killings

B.C.’s prosecution service says judge’s decision reveals ‘errors of law’

Feds agree to give provinces 75 per cent of pot tax revenues

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the agreement today

Most Read