"I want to win another cup and I thought we had a good chance." - Travis Moen
"I had an amazing time here. The media was...interesting. I would love to come back. We'll see what happens." - Mike Weaver
"I don't see myself stopping." - Francis Bouillon
"I would have liked to contribute more to the success of the team this season." - Douglas Murray
"Personally, it was a very challenging year. It started off on the wrong foot." - George Parros
"Montreal is a place where you want to be, especially in the playoffs." - Thomas Vanek
"Decisions like this are not easy.I respect their decision." - Peter Budaj
- The Canadiens held an optional morning skate at Madison Square Garden on Thursday morning ahead of contesting Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Finals series against the New York Rangers. The Habs will be trying to tie the series at three games apiece in order to force a seventh and deciding game on Saturday night in Montreal.
- Goaltender Mike Condon took part in the optional skate alongside Dustin Tokarski and Peter Budaj. For his part, Carey Price jumped on the ice during the latter stages of the skate to stretch with his teammates and work with goalie coach Stephane Waite.
- Only two players – Alexei Emelin and Dale Weise – were absent from practice on Thursday morning. Head coach Michel Therrien indicated that Emelin was a game-time decision. Weise, however, is unavailable for Game 6.
“Dale Weise suffered a body injury,” mentioned the Canadiens bench boss, who refused to divulge the exact nature of the forward’s injury following the morning skate at MSG.
Weise was injured in Game 5 after receiving an illegal hit to the head from John Moore. For his part, the Rangers forward was suspended for two games for the hit, one that forced Weise to leave Tuesday night’s game temporarily before he eventually returned to the Canadiens bench.
“When he got back in the game, he had already met with the team’s medical staff and he was feeling well enough to continue playing. These are things that we see on a regular basis, a player being able to go on playing before the injury really shows up the next day,” added Therrien, referencing one incident in particular that took place earlier in the series. “We saw it with the hit on Derek Stepan. He finished the game despite having a fractured jaw and undergoing surgery the next day. He missed one game and he was back the next. It’s a routine thing.”
- The Canadiens might have made Henrik Lundqvist’s life miserable in Game 5, but they fully expect the Vezina Trophy winner to rebound on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault elected to pull Lundqvist with 11:02 remaining in the second period of Tuesday night’s tilt at the Bell Centre after the Swedish netminder allowed four goals on 19 shots.
“He’s been through that type of situation before. He’s one of the best goaltenders in the world. We know that he’s going to be on top of his game tonight,” offered Brendan Gallagher, who boasts four goals and 11 points in 16 playoff games in 2014. “It’s going to be a challenge for us.”
That being said, Michel Therrien’s troops fully intend on sticking to a game plan that enabled them to give Lundqvist all he could handle in his previous outing.
“When it comes to Lundqvist, we’re going to focus on the things that have given us success. It’s about going to the net, looking for rebounds, looking for tips and making sure that he can’t see the puck,” explained Josh Gorges. “We’ll just have to continue doing those things. If he sees the puck, there’s a good chance he’s going to stop it. We’ve got to continue to make life difficult for him.”
- After serving a two-game suspension, Brandon Prust will be back in uniform on Thursday night. He will likely take Weise’s spot in the lineup.
“We expect Brandon to play some good hockey. He’s excited to get back to work. He’ll want to play hard. We’re really happy to have him back in our lineup,” mentioned Therrien, who featured Prust on a line with Rene Bourque and Lars Eller at the morning skate.
If Therrien is pleased to welcome Prust back to active duty, it’s safe to say his teammates are as well.
“Prusty is a big part of our team. He’s a guy who competes every shift. He’s going to battle hard. We know exactly what we’re going to get from him,” praised Gallagher. “He’s going to be effective because of the way he plays on the ice. He’s a presence. We’re certainly happy to have him back in the lineup.”
Projected lineup vs. NYR - Game 6:
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Gallagher
Gionta – Plekanec – Galchenyuk
Bourque – Eller – Prust
Vanek – Briere – Bournival
Parros – White – Moen
Gorges - Subban
Markov - Weaver
Bouillon - Beaulieu
Tinordi - Murray
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$244,000 raised during the Hockey de rue "Together for the Kids" Tournament
BROSSARD – On Wednesday morning, several Canadiens players took part in an optional practice before flying to New York in preparation for Game 6 on Thursday.
- Carey Price once again skated before practice in company of goaltender coach Stephane Waite. He is still out with a lower-body injury but on pace in his recovery.
- Alexei Emelin, who missed Game 5 due to injury, will make the trip to New York with his teammates, though his status is unclear.
- Brandon Prust has served both games of his suspension and will be back in the lineup on Thursday night, indicated coach Michel Therrien after practice. No words on whose spot in the lineup Prust will take.
BROSSARD – On Tuesday morning, Canadiens players took part in a morning skate at the Bell Sports Complex hours before Game 5 against the Rangers.
- Carey Price, who is still rehabbing a lower-body injury suffered in Game 1, was first out on the ice and practiced in full gear with goaltending coach Stephane Waite and athletic therapist Graham Rynbend. Price had been ruled out of the series and will not play tonight.
- Every regular player was on the ice except Tomas Plekanec, who took the option but is expected to play on Tuesday night.
- Having already seen his team go 2-0 in elimination games against the Boston Bruins this spring, forward Dale Weise is confident that the Canadiens can extend their streak at home with their backs against the wall.
“This is when we play our best hockey. We saw that against Boston and in Game 3 in this series,” offered Weise, who scored to give the Habs an early lead in Game 7 against the Bruins. “We want to come out with a good first period. Our building is going to be rocking tonight. It’s not going to be an easy place to play for the Rangers. Montreal is the best place in the world during the playoffs. You can feel the buzz in the streets, and we want to keep that going.”
Teammate Mike Weaver shares a similar appreciation for the level of support he has experienced since coming to Montreal. Formerly a member of non-playoff teams in Atlanta and Florida, the veteran considers himself lucky to be able to contribute to the success of the sport’s most storied franchise.
“Everybody comes up to me in the streets, saying that they are completely behind us. It’s great to have a community supporting us. It should be a loud game tonight. Having been in places like Florida, it’s completely different,” noted Weaver. “That’s going to be the biggest motivation. Everybody is a competitor in this dressing room. We have to win three in a row. It’s difficult, but not impossible. If any group can do it, this is it.”
- Game 4 at Madison Square Garden could well have had a different outcome.
With the score tied at two and time running out in the third period, Alex Galchenyuk hit the crossbar and saw the puck bounce straight down into the crease without ever crossing the line. The sophomore, who was the overtime hero in Game 3, does not intend on dwelling on the bad break.
“It’s already in the past. What we need to focus on now is to get more pucks on net and get traffic in front of the Rangers goal,” insisted Galchenyuk.
“We have to find ways to put pucks in the net,” concurred Max Pacioretty. “I haven’t done a good enough job of doing that, last game especially. When you look at the big picture, we have to focus on one game and one period at a time. If we get this one tonight, we’ll have to say to ourselves that we were in the same position not that long ago against the best team in the league.”
- In this win-or-go-home situation, head coach Michel Therrien has been working hard to give his team an edge heading into the Bell Centre on Tuesday night. He believes that his players will be ready to execute their game plan and push their series to a sixth game.
“I expect us to play our best game of the series tonight. We were in a similar situation not even two weeks ago, and we responded with strong games. We were able to raise our game because of our preparation and our attitude. We know what’s at stake, and we’re ready to play at our best,” stated Therrien.
Jack Han is a writer for canadiens.com.