MONTREAL – Ben Maxwell will give the Canadiens a chance to see what they gave up first hand Tuesday.
The 22-year-old forward will play his fourth straight, and sixth overall, game with the Thrashers since being acquired in a trade with Montreal on Feb. 24. The deal sent defenseman Brent Sopel to the Canadiens.
“I guess I have a little something to prove,” Maxwell said. “I’d never been traded before so it was a shocker to me and I didn’t know what to expect. Now that I’m in the lineup it’s going to be fun to play against the old team and try to get a [win].”
Maxwell played in 20 games over two seasons with the Canadiens, including 13 last year, without a point. His first NHL points came in Sunday’s win over the Senators when he had a goal and an assist. The Montreal media pointed out to Maxwell that his point total in that game was twice as many as the entire Canadiens team over the past three games, all shutout losses.
“One game doesn’t make a career,” was all Maxwell would say. “I have to keep putting the puck in the net to stick around.”
Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay is hoping to get the same spark from Maxwell going against his former team as Rob Schremp delivered last week against the Islanders when he scored the game-winning goal.
Sopel will face the Thrashers for the second time since last month’s trade. He missed seven games due to injury but has played the past two.
Stewart not with team
Anthony Stewart did not accompany the Thrashers to Canada due to a travel documentation issue. The forward will rejoin the team in Philadelphia for the second leg on the three-game road trip.
Stewart was not likely to play against the Canadiens after being a healthy scratch Sunday against the Senators.
“I thought we played a solid game the other night,” Ramsay said. “You don’t want to get out of the lineup for whatever reason. He was out of the lineup and we played a good game so the guys deserve the chance to play again.”
Pavelec back in goal
Ondrej Pavelec will get the start in goal after missing the past three games in favor of Chris Mason. The Thrashers went 2-1 in Mason’s three starts as he stopped 61-of-68 shots.
“We like all our players,” Ramsay said. “We trust all of our players. [Mason] had a great run. He wanted to play. He wanted to be that guy. But we need to play everybody.”
Pavelec said he wanted to be ready when called upon.
“I didn’t play so I tried to get some shots and be in game shape and be ready whenever they tell me to play,” Pavelec said.
Ramsay said there are several players with injuries and could be shut down for the season if or when the Thrashers are officially eliminated from the playoff race.
“There are going to be some guys,” Ramsay said. “This time of year there are guys playing and you wonder if they should but they want to play. They are a great group that way. We’ll give them the opportunity but if things don’t work out we are going to be careful with some [players].”