- 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%).
The Canadiens practiced in Brossard ahead of their afternoon flight to Philadelphia for Wednesday’s game against the Flyers.The Habs announced on Tuesday morning that Alex Galchenyuk will miss six weeks with a broken hand suffered Monday night against Florida. With Galchenyuk out, Michael Bournival moved up to a line with Lars Eller and Rene Bourque at Tuesday’s practice.
Carey Price (therapy day) and Brandon Prust (personal matters) did not skate with their teammates on Tuesday. Ryan White was also absent, still recovering from an upper-body injury. George Parros will be a game-time decision against the Flyers.
Michel Therrien confirmed Peter Budaj will get his 10th start of the season on Wednesday night in Philadelphia. He has a 5-3-1 record so far this year, bringing his .923 save percentage and 2.05 goals-against average with him into the Wells Fargo Center.
Lines at practice
The Montreal Canadiens will have players representing Canada at the Olympics for the first time since Mark Recchi and Shayne Corson donned the Maple Leaf at the 1998 Games in Nagano. Reigning Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban and three-time All-Star Carey Price both received calls from Team Canada’s brass on Tuesday morning informing them that they had been named to the 25-man roster heading to Sochi. Both have previously skated for Canada internationally;
Subban won back-to-back gold medals at the World Juniors in 2008 and 2009 and participated in Canada’s final game at the 2013 World Championships last spring. Price is also the proud owner of a World Junior gold medal, having led Team Canada to the top of the podium in Sweden in 2007.
Subban is third among all NHL defensemen in 2013-14 with 33 points in 44 games so far this year, also boasting a stellar plus-14 differential. The four-year NHL veteran is second in the league behind only Duncan Keith for power play points by a blue-liner, boasting three goals and 12 assists with the man advantage.
Currently second behind only Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury with 20 wins so far in 2013-14, Price has a .928 save percentage in 35 starts this season to go with two shutouts. His 988 saves to date are also second in the league to Mike Smith’s 1,002.
Longtime Habs equipment manager Pierre Gervais and Canadiens director of media relations Dominick Saillant will also join the Canadian contingent at the Olympics in February.
The big reveal
Budaj with Team Slovakia
Plekanec, captain of Czech Republic
Raphael Diaz with Swiss national team
Defensemen Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin were both named to Team Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi on Tuesday morning. Markov, 35, will be making his third consecutive Olympic appearance. The veteran rearguard has amassed one goal and five points in 12 career games at the Olympics. Emelin, meanwhile, will be an Olympian for the first time in his career. The 27-year-old most recently claimed gold for Russia at the World Hockey Championships in 2012.