During preparatory matches this fall, Joshua Roy wore 97. His favorite number, 10, is one of the 15 that are retired by the Canadian.

The Edmonton Oilers arrive at the Bell Center on Saturday night, in what will be Roy’s first game in the National League. Those hoping for a No. 97 duel, however, will be disappointed. There will only be one on the ice, and he will be behind Connor McDavid’s back.

“The trainer came to see me this morning,” Roy said in front of his locker, after Saturday’s morning practice. He asked me if I really wanted the 97. I thought about it and said to myself: I’ll go with the 89!

“He gave me a choice. I made the wise decision, I think! », added the young man.

Roy learned of his recall after the Rocket game Friday night. It was the Rocket’s head coach, Jean-François Houle, who called him into his office. “I really didn’t know why he wanted to see me. I said to myself: what did I do wrong? And when he told me that, I was really happy!

“He congratulated me. I immediately texted my parents. They were at the game in Laval and they were super happy for me. »

At the end of training, the Canadian head coach, Martin St-Louis, spoke for a few minutes with his rookie. His message? “I want him to play hockey. I don’t want him trying to be perfect, trying to please me. Go play the game. We will correct the errors. I want him to play freely. »

For the occasion, Roy will be flanked by two veterans, Sean Monahan in the center and Joel Armia on the other wing. “I played a little with Armia in Laval, it was going well, so I hope it will be the same tonight,” said Roy.

“It’s a trio that has intelligence and gravitas,” described St-Louis. Army plays very good hockey, he deserves to be given more. Josh is playing with two veterans, he should be comfortable, in my opinion. But I’m not the one who’s going to play his rehearsals. I imagine he will have to find his comfort. But with everything I’ve seen from him in camp and in the American League, it’s a good situation for him. »

And all of this will obviously take place against the man who is widely perceived as the best player in the world, which partly explains why his 97 is worn by only one other player in the NHL this season, and not the least: Kirill Kaprizov.

Rafael Harvey-Pinard faced a certain Nikita Kucherov during his debut in the NHL. He therefore has an idea of ​​the approach that Roy should prioritize.

“You look at guys like that, it’s impressive for sure,” admitted Harvey-Pinard. He just shouldn’t think about it, he should see it like another player. It’s difficult, because at the same time, you have to know it when he’s on the ice. It’s about playing your game and not thinking too much about the rest. »

It is without Josh Anderson that the Canadian will face the Oilers. The striker has a lower body injury, the Habs announced on Saturday, a few minutes before morning training.

In 41 games this season, Anderson has 12 points (7 goals, 5 assists). He scored his seventh goal late in the game Thursday against the Sharks.

Last week, during the January 2 game in Dallas, Anderson appeared to have lower body discomfort and missed the last half of the third period, after retreating to the locker room on one leg.

His absence and the recall of Roy generated movement in trios 2 and 3, but it is especially in defense that it will be interesting to follow. In training, Mike Matheson completed several reps with Kaiden Guhble, while Jayden Struble formed a tandem with David Savard. If these duos hold, it will be a new mark of confidence for Struble, since Savard is usually given tough defensive assignments.

Speaking of defensemen, Justin Barron will skip his turn for the first time since he was left out for the first three games of the season. Johnathan Kovacevic will replace him.

Samuel Montembeault will defend the Montreal net, who will try to stop the Oilers’ winning streak at nine.

Furthermore, before the main training, forward Tanner Pearson, injured since December 9, skated alone.