Canadiens: Chiarot placed on Petry's left; Niku to play first game

Habs Defender Sami Niku, pictured here playing with the Winnipeg Jets during the first day of their NHL training camp. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Sami Niku could play his first game in a Habs uniform when the Montreal Canadiens hosts the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

Niku practiced on Brett Kulak's left side during Friday morning's session at the Bell Sports Complex. Ben Chiarot replaced Kulak alongside Jeff Petry.

Chris Wideman, who has scored one of the team's four goals so far this campaign, would be out.

The Habs have lost their first five games of the season, the worst start to the season since 1995-96. The team had its worst-ever start to a season in 1938-39, when it lost its first seven games.

Niku was signed by the Habs on Sept. 24, a few days after terminating his contract by mutual agreement with the Winnipeg Jets.

The 25-year-old Finnish defenceman played 54 NHL games with the Jets, collecting two goals and eight assists. He was named the American Hockey League's top defenceman in 2017-18, when he had 16 goals and 38 assists in 76 games with the Manitoba Moose.

Jake Allen practiced on his own with goalie instructor Eric Raymond.

Goaltender Karel St-Laurent was invited to practice with the main squad.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Oct. 22, 2021.
 

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