Lars Eller and Raphael Diaz sat out practice with flu symptoms, while Douglas Murray took a therapy day.
Yougsters Joonas Nattinen and Nathan Beaulieu, freshly recalled from the Hamilton Bulldogs, joined their new teammates for practice. Nattinen wore number 28.
Coach Michel Therrien confirmed that both Beaulieu and Nattinen will play tomorrow, making it the Finn's NHL debut. Carey Price will be in net.
LINES AT PRACTICE
The Canadiens recalled defenseman Nathan Beaulieu and forward Joonas Nattinen from the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday morning. They will both be on the ice for practice at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto at 1:00 p.m.
Beaulieu has played five games with the Canadiens this season, recording one assist and a plus-2 differential to bring his NHL career totals to three points and a plus-7 rating in 11 games. In 32 games with the Bulldogs in 2013-14, the Strathroy, ON native has amassed four goals and 14 points.
Having yet to see action for the Habs this year, Nattinen is hoping to make his 2013-14 Canadiens debut against the Leafs. The team’s third round selection, 65th-overall, from the 2009 NHL Entry Draft has five goals and six assists in 37 games in Hamilton so far this season.
KANATA – The Canadiens held an optional morning skate at the Bell SensPlex hours before taking on the Ottawa Senators later on Thursday.
Only six players practiced, including David Desharnais, who missed the last game against New Jersey with the flu. Francis Bouillon, Michael Bournival, George Parros, Douglas Murray and Peter Budaj were also on the ice.
“David [Desharnais] is skating this morning, so already that’s good news, but he’ll be a game time decision,” announced head coach Michel Therrien, who also commented on the growing rivalry between Montreal and Ottawa.
“Great rivalries start in the playoffs, as we saw last season. [The Senators] played a good series and deserved to win,” acknowledged Therrien, who saw his team defeated by the underdog Sens in five game during the first round of the playoffs last season. The Senators followed up that performance by winning both of their season meetings against the Canadiens so far.
“For sure they have the momentum right now, but that can change very quickly,” cautioned the Habs’ coach.
“It’s always an intense rivalry, which has been going on for a few years now,” commented Francis Bouillon regarding the intra-division matchup between two teams based just over an hour’s drive apart from one another. “Many Habs fan make the trip down to Ottawa, so it’s always exciting for us to come here. The games are always close, and it’ll be an important two points for us to get tonight.”
Craig Anderson should be in net for the Senators tonight. The 32 year-old goaltender is making his thirteenth career start against the Habs and currently holds a 6-6-0 record against Montreal. Coach Paul MacLean will also have pesky forward Chris Neil back from injury tonight and is expected to pen him into the starting lineup.
Carey Price, for his part, will make his 23rd career start against Ottawa, against which he has a 14-6-4 record (2.22GAA, .923sv%). It’ll be the third of four match-ups between the two teams this season.
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Wednesday morning ahead of their evening departure for a two-game road trip that will see them play Ottawa on Thursday night and Toronto on Saturday.
- All of the players who took part in Tuesday night’s game were on the ice in Brossard. David Desharnais, however, did not skate on Wednesday morning as he remains absent with the flu. The 27-year-old centerman was a late scratch ahead of the tilt against the Devils. Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Desharnais will travel with the team to Ottawa, and a decision on his playing status will be made at some point on Thursday.
- Carey Price will make his 38th start of the season on Thursday night against the Senators.
Forward lines at practice:
- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the New Jersey Devils at the Bell Centre.
- The Canadiens will likely field the same lineup that went up against the Blackhawks last Saturday night. As such, Francis Bouillon will be a healthy scratch.
- Tuesday night’s game will mark the third and final regular season meeting between the two teams during the 2013-14 campaign. The Habs are a perfect 2-0-0 against the Devils on the year, coming out on top in both games of a home-and-home series in early December.
As the Canadiens go in search of the season sweep, defenseman Josh Gorges knows the defensive-minded Devils, who are 2-0-2 in their last four games, are out to pick up critical points as they try to climb the Metropolitan division standings.
“I think we have to come out with the same mindset that we had against Chicago. That’s something that I’ve talked about a lot this year, the importance of each game and how hard it is to win. Tonight is no different,” offered Gorges, who will play his 23rd career game against the Devils on Tuesday night. “I think New Jersey has been playing really good hockey as of late, and we need to make sure again that we focus on ourselves, what makes us a good team and we’ve got to have that urgency in our game, that bite. When we play that way, we usually give ourselves a good chance to win.”
- Carey Price will make his 37th start of the season on Tuesday night. Price is 8-9-1 in 18 career games against New Jersey. Martin Brodeur , meanwhile, will get the start in goal for the Devils.
As the 41-year-old veteran netminder ponders retirement, Tuesday night's game could mark his final appearance in Montreal. Count Brendan Gallagher, however, among the players who believe that Brodeur is far from done and might just be tending goal in the NHL next year.
“I’m not convinced that it will be his last game in Montreal, but it will be cool. He’s had an incredible career and did so much for the Devils and the league in general along the way,” offered Gallagher, who scored his first career NHL goal against the three-time Stanley Cup champ on Jan. 27, 2013. “He also plays his best hockey in Montreal, so I’m sure that it won’t be any different tonight.”
The NHL sophomore certainly has a point. In 30 career starts on Bell Centre ice, Brodeur boasts a 19-9-1 record coupled with a 1.66 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage.
Like Gallagher, Shawinigan, QC native Michael Bournival has the utmost respect for the perennial All-Star, and he’s looking forward to the opportunity to put one of his childhood idols to the test on Tuesday night.
“Martin Brodeur has always been the top goaltender from this province. When I was young, you always heard people talking about him,” mentioned Bournival. “He’s established so many records. It’s fun to go up against a guy with that much experience.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
Probable lineup against New Jersey:
Ryan White skated alone before practice. He is still day-to-day with an upper body injury.
The players and coaching staff took some time before practice to work on the team’s powerplay and penalty kill units.
Coach Michel Therrien kept the same line combinations in practice as on Saturday’s winning squad against the Chicago Blackhawks.
A great deal of practice time was spent by the team on high-paced three-on-one cycling drills low in the offensive zone.
The New Jersey Devils, the Habs’ opponents on Tuesday, will skate at the Bell Centre at 2PM Monday afternoon.
Michel Therrien confirmed that Carey Price will get the start against the Devils on Tuesday.
LINES AT PRACTICE
George Parros will make his return to the lineup on Saturday night for the first time since suffering a concussion 12 games ago against the Islanders, on Dec. 14.
With Parros back in action, Francis Bouillon will be a healthy scratch against Chicago as Michel Therrien returns to a traditional formation with six defensemen in the lineup after dressing seven D and 11 forwards against Philadelphia.
After missing Friday’s practice while visiting his newborn son in Connecticut, Max Pacioretty was back on the ice with his teamamtes on Saturday and will play against the Blackhawks.
Counting three forwards among the league’s 12 leading scorers in Patrick Kane (2nd, 54 pts), Patrick Sharp (8th, 47 pts) and Jonathan Toews (12th, 45 pts) and leading the NHL with 3.59 goals per game, the Blackhawks represent the Canadiens’ biggest offensive threat of the season to date. While the Habs are aware of the firepower they’ll be facing on Saturday night, they won’t be sitting back watching the Hawks’ snipers go to work.
“In a game like tonight, the best defense is a good offense,” explained Lars Eller, who skated on a line with Michael Bournival and Rene Bourque during Friday’s off-day practice. “Don’t give the puck away when we have it and try playing in their end as much as we can. We know Pricer [Carey Price] is going to give us a chance to win every night. It’s not going to be easy, but everyone in here is motivated and ready to have fun.”
Price will get his 36th start of the season on Saturday, facing off against the Hawks for the fourth time in his career. In three games to date, Price owns a 2-1-0 record against Chicago with a 1.66 goals-against average and .954 save percentage.
The NHL’s 10th-ranked power play unit will also likely have an impact on the Canadiens’ chances of knocking off the reigning Stanley Cup champs. Despite owning an overall 19.6% efficiency with the man advantage this season, the Habs have converted on just three of 33 power play opportunities in the last nine games.
“We need to have better execution and we need to make better decisions with the puck. We need to support the puck carrier better, too,” described Therrien. “Those are all things we worked on during practice yesterday and reviewed again this morning. Special teams are really important if you want to be successful, on both ends [power play and penalty kill], so we need to be really sharp on our special teams if we want to give ourselves a chance to win tonight.”
Saturday will also mark the first time Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin and Habs goaltending coach Stephane Waite will face their former club since leaving Chicago to join the organization.
Words from the room
Game Preview: MTL vs. CHI
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday morning ahead of their Saturday night tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bell Centre.
- Max Pacioretty did not take part in the on-ice session on Friday morning. The power forward received permission to visit his newborn son, Lorenzo, in Connecticut. Pacioretty will rejoin the team today.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Briere – Plekanec – Gionta
Bourque – Eller – Bournival
Parros – Prust – Moen
Bournival – Desharnais – Gallagher
Emelin – Markov
Gorges – Subban
Murray - Bouillon
The 13th episode of Season 2 of the Montreal Canadiens’ reality series, 24CH, reached over a million viewers. In all, 1,002,000 people tuned in on a variety of Bell Media platforms from December 28 through January 3.
Check out the complete broadcast schedule for upcoming episodes here.
PHILADELPHIA – The Canadiens held an optional morning skate ahead of Wednesday evening’s game against the Flyers.
George Parros, sidelined since late December with a concussion, practiced with his teammates and could play tonight.
“I’m cleared to play, I’m good to go, and it’ll be a game time decision tonight,” announced Parros after coming off the ice. The Habs could very well call upon him tonight, since the team is currently short on forwards with the injuries to Ryan White and Alex Galchenyuk. Neither made the trip down to Philadelphia.
Wednesday morning, forwards on the ice for the skate included Parros, Brendan Gallagher, Lars Eller, Brandon Prust, Travis Moen and Michael Bournival. They were joined by defensemen Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban, Josh Gorges, Douglas Murray, Alexei Emelin and Raphael Diaz. All others stayed back but are expected to be available against the Flyers.
Peter Budaj was the first goaltender off the ice, while Carey Price stayed to work on technique with goalie coach Stephane Waite. Budaj will make his eleventh appearance in 2013-14 against the Flyers.
“Alex is a big offensive guy for us, so we will miss him. But it’s a chance for other guys to step up and show that they can play. All in all, it shouldn’t affect our results on the ice too much, I think. Everybody is going to carry a little more, and we’ll be okay,” Eller offered. He pivoted a line with Rene Bourque and Michael Bournival on Monday against Florida after Galchenyuk left the game. The Dane also added his impressions on the Habs’ opponents on Wednesday.
“It’ll be a very hard game tonight. I haven’t gotten many points [here in Philadelphia] as far as I can remember. The Flyers play physical, they’re fast. I certainly don’t expect an easy game; we’ll have to focus on ourselves and what we can do. If we follow the game plan and bring a good effort, we’ll have a good chance to win,” Eller opined.
Carey Price will get a rare night off. The Habs’ starting goaltender was just named to Team Canada’s Olympic roster on Tuesday thanks to his strong play to start out the season, having allowed two goals or less in 23 of 35 starts so far.
“Going into this year, I wanted to be consistent. Finding that level was the priority for me. I don’t think the last week went as well as I wanted to, but everybody goes through that at some point in the season. Stephane Waite has done a good job at keeping my focus on the task at hand. We’ve done a lot of video to iron out issue and talk about how to manage situations better. Mentally, going through everything in my career so far has definitely made me stronger,” Price revealed. He currently holds a lower goals-against average and a higher saves percentage than in his previous seven NHL seasons (2.22GAA, .928sv%).