Injuries keep piling up, but Canadiens beat Flyers 4-3 in OT


Artturi Lehkonen scratched before game with upper-body injury, while Ryan Poehling suffers upper-body injury during game in Philadelphia.

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The Canadiens have three more games before next Monday’s 3 pm NHL trade deadline.

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They might want to Bubble Wrap Ben Chiarot for those games — or have him sit in the press box.

The injury bug has hit the Canadiens hard since the start of this season and it has never stopped.

Artturi Lehkonen took part in the pre-game warmup Sunday night in Philadelphia, but had to leave with an upper-body injury and was scratched from the game, which the Canadiens won 4-3 in overtime on a goal by Cole Caufield. Ryan Poehling suffered an upper-body during the game and had to leave.

Nick Suzuki, who is locked up for eight years with a $63-million contract that kicks in next season, continued his strong play for the Canadiens by scoring two goals and Rem Pitlick scored shorthanded with 53 seconds left on the clock to force overtime. Caufield’s OT goal was his ninth of the season and his eighth in 14 games since Martin St. Louis took over from Dominique Ducharme as head coach.

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Kevin Hayes, Claude Giroux and Cam Atkinson scored for the Flyers, who are in last place in the Metropolitan Division with an 18-31-10 record. The Canadiens remain in last place in the overall NHL standings with a 16-35-8 record, but are 8-6-1 since St. Louis took over. Sam Montembeault started in goal for the second straight night after the Canadiens lost 4-3 to the Seattle Kraken in a shootout Saturday at the Bell Center.

The 22-year-old Suzuki has 16-27-43 totals this season and has set career highs in goals and points with 23 games left on the schedule. His first goal from him was his seventh on the power play and he has 7-8-15 totals in the last 10 games.

Lehkonen can become a restricted free agent after this season and there’s no doubt other teams will have interest in him at the trade deadline — if he’s healthy — especially since the 26-year-old forward has 6-2-8 totals in his last eight games.

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Chiarot can become an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Canadiens should be able to get at least a first-round pick in exchange for the 30-year-old defenseman. But if he gets injured before next Monday they’ll get nothing.

GM Kent Hughes is well aware of that risk.

“I don’t care what you’re doing, whether you’re trading hockey players or stocks or any other evaluation or decision you make in life there’s a risk/reward balance that we all assess from moment to moment,” Hughes said last month after trading Tyler Toffoli to the Calgary Flames. “If we had the right trade this moment for Ben Chiarot we’d trade him this moment. We’re not going to trade him if we don’t believe the deal is the right deal and so we’re having continued conversations. That could mean that he’s traded today, tomorrow. That could also mean he’s traded two weeks from now. But we are aware of that risk, similar to most other teams with players on expiring contracts. We’re all balancing that risk and risk/return equation.”

The Canadiens’ next game is Tuesday night at the Bell Center against the Arizona Coyotes.

Might be time to find the Bubble Wrap.

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