POSTED ON Friday, 04.10.2015 / 12:17 PM ET

- After securing a 4-3 overtime win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday morning before boarding the team charter to Toronto. Michel Therrien’s troops will close out the regular season against the Maple Leafs on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre.

- In his post-practice press conference, Therrien confirmed that Carey Price will get the start against Toronto. He also confirmed that Tom Gilbert is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. While Gilbert will accompany the team to Toronto, Max Pacioretty will not.

- Price will be making his 66th and final start of the regular season. The Anahim Lake, BC native has started all three games against the Maple Leafs in 2014-15, registering three victories and giving up just four goals on 86 shots. He boasts a 16-13-1 career record in 29 previous starts against Toronto.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 04.9.2015 / 12:38 PM ET

- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday morning ahead of their game against the Detroit Red Wings at the Bell Centre. Detroit sits third in the Atlantic Division with 97 points, nine points back of the Habs.

- Michel Therrien’s troops will be going for a regular season sweep of the Red Wings on Thursday night, having outscored Detroit by an 8-2 margin in their three previous meetings during the 2014-15 campaign. Should the Canadiens secure their 49th win of the year, it would mark the team’s first four-game sweep of the Michigan-based franchise since 1926-27 when they won all four contests against the Detroit Cougars.

“We’ve played some good hockey against them. I know they have some very skilled players over there. They’ve got a good power play. Sometimes, when you’re playing teams like that, you kind of get yourself going a little more and you’re maybe a little bit more focused,” offered Brandon Prust, who has one goal and two points in 10 career games against the Red Wings. “It seems like we’ve been like that against Detroit this year. We’ve got to continue to do that.”

That’s for sure. A victory tonight (or a regulation loss by Ottawa to the New York Rangers) will help the Red Wings clinch a playoff berth for the 24th consecutive season, which would match the fourth-longest streak in NHL history. It’s safe to say Mike Babcock’s contingent will be fired up to try to secure another postseason berth on their own.

“We need to take into account that we could go up against them in the playoffs,” stressed Prust, who leads all players on both teams with 132 penalty minutes on the year. “But, we especially need to focus on our game and not make any mistakes.”

- Unfortunately, the Canadiens won’t have Max Pacioretty in the lineup for the last two regular season games of the year after the New Canaan, CT native suffered an upper-body injury on Sunday. It will be the first time that Pacioretty isn’t in the lineup since November 1, 2013 – a span of 149 straight games. It also would’ve been the 400th game of his NHL career.

“He’s arguably our best player, so it’s always tough when you lose someone like that both offensively and defensively. He’s a big leader in the dressing room, too,” offered Prust. “But, we’ve got a good group in here. We’ve got a confident group. We have guys that are ready to fill in and do some penalty killing. We know we have guys that can put pucks in the net as well. Injuries happen and everybody has got to step up.”

In Pacioretty’s absence, Brian Flynn draws back in up front. He’s been a healthy scratch for the last three games. It will be his eighth game with the CH since coming on board at the trade deadline back in early March. That is the only expected lineup change.

“We’re pretty motivated. It’s been like playoff hockey the past stretch here, trying to get as many points as we can to make sure we finish ahead of the Lightning,” offered Flynn, whose squad sits atop the Atlantic Division entering Thursday night’s tilt, two points clear of Tampa Bay. “Every game has been big so far.”

- The Canadiens’ penultimate game of the regular season is also significant for several other reasons.

First and foremost, Thursday night’s tilt is another opportunity to play a sound game at both ends of the rink and fine tune any areas of concern heading into the opening round of the playoffs next week.

“It’s going to be a fun one. Last two games of the season, we’re really stressing how you want to end at the top of your game. We’ve got a good challenge tonight. They could be a contender in the playoffs for us. You always want to end on a peak,” explained Nathan Beaulieu, who will be playing his 63rd game of the season on the Canadiens’ back end. “We feel like we need to build a couple of things the next few games to end on a high. You want to hit the ground running when playoffs come. We feel like we can do a lot of damage in the playoffs, so we want to feel like we can prove a point the last two games.”

And, you know that helping Carey Price set a new team record for most wins in a single season is also on their collective minds, too.

“Everyone wants to help Pricer. He’s been great all year and since I’ve been here. The guys respect him a lot and what he’s done for the team this year and in the past,” mentioned Flynn, referencing Price’s bid to secure his 43rd win of the year. “Hopefully, we can get a W for him tonight.”

- Jimmy Howard will get the start in goal for the Red Wings. He will be looking for his third straight victory.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and Sportsnet East.

SEE ALSO
Words From The Room - April 9
Game Preview: Red Wings @ Canadiens
Taking his rightful place
Total recognition

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.8.2015 / 12:48 PM ET

- The Canadiens returned to practice on Wednesday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard in preparation for Thursday night’s tilt against the Detroit Red Wings at the Bell Centre.

- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Max Pacioretty met with team doctors on Wednesday morning. He will not play against Detroit on Thursday night or in the regular season finale on Saturday night in Toronto. Pacioretty’s condition will be re-evaluted next week. Therrien did not rule out Pacioretty returning to the lineup as soon as next week, too.

- Members of the media covering the Montreal Canadiens voted forward Dale Weise as the 2014-15 recipient of the Jacques Beauchamp-Molson Trophy. The trophy is awarded annually to the member of the Canadiens who played a dominant role during the regular season without earning any particular honor. Weise earned 128 points in the overall standings ahead of forwards Brandon Prust (63 points) and Brendan Gallagher (47 points).

Lines and D pairings at practice:

Galchenyuk-Plekanec-Gally
Smith-Pelly-Desharnais-Parenteau
De La Rose-Eller-Weise
Prust-Malhotra/Mitchell–Flynn

Markov-Subban
Emelin-Petry
Beaulieu-Gilbert
Gonchar-Pateryn-Weaver

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.7.2015 / 11:03 AM ET

- After a long Easter weekend in Florida, the Canadiens flew back to Montreal on Tuesday following Sunday's convincing 4-1 win against the Panthers.

- Before leaving Fort Lauderdale, Michel Therrien addressed the media in the team's hotel lobby. When asked about Max Pacioretty, Therrien confirmed that an update will be available after the 26-year-old forward sees his doctor in Montreal, but that he would not be in uniform for Thursday's game against the Red Wings. Pacioretty was forced out of Sunday's game against the Panthers early after crashing hard into the boards.

- Although a practice was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Therrien preferred to give his troops the day off before heading home.

"Our schedule allowed us to give the guys some time off. They've all worked hard this season, so we took this opportunity to give them a rest," underlined the Habs bench boss, who will resume practice as scheduled on Wednesday in Brossard. "We did the same thing a year ago. It's important to be recharged and feeling good for the playoffs. We have two games and three practices left before the postseason, so we still have time left to finetune and prepare."

- Therrien confirmed that Carey Price will be back in goal on Thursday for the Habs' penultimate game of the regular season against the Red Wings.

"We're going to take things one game at a time. Carey will play on Thursday, and then we'll make a decision," concluded the Habs coach regarding this week's two remaining games against Detroit and Toronto, respectively.

- canadiens.com

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POSTED ON Thursday, 04.2.2015 / 11:59 AM ET

- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday ahead of their tilt against the Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre.

- After missing the last four games with a fractured jaw, defenseman Tom Gilbert returns to the Canadiens’ lineup on Thursday night. The veteran rearguard suffered the injury back on March 21 against the San Jose Sharks. To make room for Gilbert, Greg Pateryn will be a healthy scratch on defense.

- Also making a return to the Canadiens’ lineup is Devante Smith-Pelly after being a healthy scratch for the last two games. He should take Brian Flynn’s spot on the fourth line.

“I’m happy to be back in. It’s tough to be on the sidelines, but at the same time it lets you see the game from another angle, take a few notes and apply them to your game,” offered Smith-Pelly, who will likely be featured on a line with Torrey Mitchell and Jacob De La Rose on Thursday night.

“They’re a very physical group. I played against them a few times this season,” added Smith-Pelly, who has dished out 50 hits in 15 games since joining the Canadiens. “They have talent and power. We’ll have to play a physical game and cause traffic. We could potentially play them in the playoffs. It will be just like a playoff game.”

- Head coach Michel Therrien will go in search of his 200th career win behind the Canadiens’ bench on Thursday night.

- Carey Price will make his 63rd start of the season. Price still leads the NHL in wins, save percentage, goals-against average and shutouts. One of his nine shutouts during the 2014-15 campaign came against Washington. That happened back on January 31 when Price stopped 36 shots in a 1-0 overtime win.

- In two games against the Capitals this season, the Canadiens have managed to neutralize the League’s sixth best offense. Barry Trotz’s contingent has managed to light the lamp just once this year against the CH. Back on October 9, Michel Therrien’s troops posted a 1-0 win in Washington before blanking the Capitals in late January on home ice. Despite registering 12 shots on goal during those contests, Alex Ovechkin was held off the scoresheet entirely.

- While keeping Ovechkin at bay will be a primary focus for Canadiens defensemen on Thursday night, Michel Therrien’s rearguards are perfectly aware that the Capitals boast several other offensive threats, too. With 55 assists and 73 points on the year, Nicklas Backstrom is certainly one of them. That being said, focusing solely on slowing down Ovechkin isn’t necessarily the ultimate recipe for success against Washington.

“Obivously, Ovi is a really special player to have scored 50 goals as many times as he has. But, you have to look at the supporting cast. Backstrom is probably one of the best passers in the game now, if not the best,” offered Nathan Beaulieu, who will play his 60th game of the season on Thursday night. “It’s tough. You want to pay as much attention to Ovi as you can, but there are guys like Backstrom that are going to make you pay as well. We need to respect Ovi and his supporting cast. His supporting cast is just as important.”

With that in mind, Beaulieu insists the key to victory is ensuring Ovechkin & Co. aren’t afforded the opportunity to enter the Canadiens’ zone uncontested. Giving the likes of Ovechkin and Backstrom time to work their magic simply isn’t an option.

“Gap is going to be the biggest thing, especially with the big, strong and fast guys they have. We want them not to be able to make plays at the line. We want to make them dump the puck and start battles,” stressed Beaulieu, who has one goal and nine points during the 2014-15 campaign. “The blue line is going to win the game tonight.”

- If gap control is a primary key to victory against the Capitals, another is discipline. Barry Trotz’s club boasts the League’s best power play, making their opponents pay 24.4 percent of the time.

“That’s an incredible power play. Sometimes, calls happen and penalties are part of the game. We need to be more disciplined in this locker room,” mentioned Beaulieu, whose squad took six minor penalties in its most recent outing against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night. “We know that. A team like Washington is going to make you pay if you’re not disciplined.”

And, if the Capitals do manage to put their League-leading man advantage to work, Gilbert believes the Canadiens are prepared to slow it down.

“We watched a lot of video of their power play this morning. Their team is perfect for that,” offered Gilbert, who will sport a full shield on Thursday night to protect his jaw. “If we give them a chance to score, they’re going to do it. We have to limit their opportunities.”

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and Sportsnet East.

Projected lineup vs. Washington:

Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Desharnais – Parenteau
Weise – Eller – Prust
De La Rose – Mitchell– Smith-Pelly
Malhotra - Flynn

Markov – Subban
Emelin – Petry
Beaulieu – Gilbert
Gonchar – Pateryn
Weaver

Price

SEE ALSO
Words From The Room - April 2
Game Preview: Capitals @ Canadiens 
EpiPen® and the Bell Centre team up to support visitors with severe allergies 
Slowing down a superstar 

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.1.2015 / 12:59 PM ET

- The Canadiens held a rare practice at the Bell Centre on Wednesday morning as players took part in a team photo session prior to hitting the ice.

- All players were present and accounted for, including defenseman Tom Gilbert, who is hoping to return to the Canadiens’ lineup on Thursday night against the Washington Capitals.

- Head coach Michel Therrien featured the same lines at Wednesday’s practice that had been showcased a day earlier at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.

Lines and defensive pairings at practice:

Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Desharnais – Parenteau
Weise – Eller – Prust
De La Rose – Mitchell– Smith-Pelly
Malhotra - Flynn

Markov – Subban
Emelin – Petry
Beaulieu – Gilbert
Gonchar – Pateryn
Weaver

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 03.31.2015 / 12:48 PM ET

- After dropping a 5-3 decision to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens were back at practice on Tuesday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.

- Prior to the start of practice, Michel Therrien’s troops took part in a video session. Then, they hit the ice for about 30 minutes. Skating was on the menu, in addition to battle drills in front of the net and along the boards.

- The Canadiens bench boss juggled his forward lines somewhat at practice, placing Alex Galchenyuk on a line with David Desharnais and Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau. For his part, Tomas Plekanec was paired with Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher.

- On defense, Nathan Beaulieu was paired with Tom Gilbert, while Greg Pateryn practiced alongside Sergei Gonchar. In Gilbert’s case, the American rearguard is hoping to be back in the lineup for Thursday night’s tilt against the Washington Capitals at the Bell Centre.

Lines and defensive pairings at practice:

Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Desharnais – Parenteau
De La Rose – Mitchell/Flynn – Smith-Pelly
Weise – Eller – Prust
Malhotra

Markov – Subban
Emelin – Petry
Beaulieu – Gilbert
Gonchar – Pateryn
Weaver

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POSTED ON Monday, 03.30.2015 / 12:48 PM ET

- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday ahead of their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre. Jon Cooper’s contingent has dropped two straight games. The Lightning trail the CH by three points for top spot in the Atlantic Division.

- All players were present and accounted for at the morning skate, including Tom Gilbert, who is still recovering after suffering a fractured jaw. He was sporting a full shield.

- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that aside from Carey Price getting the start in goal, there will be no additional lineup changes for the tilt against Tampa Bay. That means that Brian Flynn will remain in the lineup up front, while Devante Smith-Pelly will once again be a healthy scratch.

- Should the Canadiens come out on top on Monday night, the win will mark Therrien’s 200th victory behind the bench with Montreal.

- Monday night’s contest will mark the final regular season meeting between the Canadiens and the Lightning this year. Tampa Bay has won all four meetings against their Atlantic Division rivals so far this season.

“We have to be intense tonight. There are just big games left. Tonight’s game is no exception. We have to play intense hockey because we know that April 15 is coming fast, and that things will get even more intense than they are now,” explained the Canadiens bench boss. “I like the way we’re progressing. It’s not April 15 yet, but we want to play with conviction.”

If the Lightning have dominated the Canadiens this season in the goal scoring department, outscoring Michel Therrien & Co. by a 16-5 margin, there was definitely a noticeable difference between the 7-1 game on October 13, 2014 and the January 6 contest that ended 4-2. With six games to go in the regular season, beating the Lightning for the first time this year would be particularly significant.

“A win tonight would be good for our team, both physically and mentally. But, at the same time, one game doesn’t represent an entire season. That’s how we’re approaching the game,” stressed Therrien, who believes the games the Canadiens have left will serve as the ultimate form of preparation for postseason play.

- On Monday, the Canadiens announced that defenseman Andrei Markov would be the team’s candidate for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy this season. The award is given to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

“I just try to be who I am. I don’t get ahead of myself. I try to do my best every night. I want to help our team be better,” offered Markov, who earned the nomination from the Montreal branch of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. “It’s probably even more special because it comes from you guys. I’m happy about it.”

Now in his 14th season, the 36-year-old Russian-Canadian rearguard is enjoying a solid campaign. He leads the Canadiens in power play assists (18) and points (22), and ranks second on the team in assists (35) and time on ice per game (24:51). He also ranks third on the team with a plus-20 differential.

“I just try not to listen to [people that say negative things about me]. I focus on my game and focus on my preparation for these games. I try to enjoy the moment. I’m getting older. I know that. But, I’m still young. I feel good. I’m still having fun out there,” mentioned Markov, who boasts 44 points in 76 games during the 2014-15 campaign. “I want to finish the regular season on a good note. Tonight is an especially big game for us. We want to play good. We’re ready to go.”

Markov’s defense partner, P.K. Subban, is one of his many admirers inside the Canadiens’ locker room. Needless to say, the Norris Trophy winner was pleased to see Markov receive the Masterton nod.

“Marky is an excellent player and a good leader. He’s been doing a lot for this organization for a long time. I’m happy to see that he was recognized with this honour. He works very hard,” praised Subban, referencing his fellow assistant captain’s lengthy hockey resume. “He’s overcome a lot of tough times over the course of his career. He helped me a lot. He’s also helped many young players at the start of their NHL careers, too. He doesn’t talk a lot, but he’s a good example for the guys and he’s really deserving of this honour.”

Five Canadiens players have been presented with the Masterton in league history; Max Pacioretty (2011-12), Saku Koivu (2001-02), Serge Savard (1978-79), Henri Richard (1973-74) and Claude Provost (1967-68), who became the first recipient of the award.

- Carey Price will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. He will be looking for his 42nd win of the year, which would tie the team record for most victories in a single season set by Jacques Plante in 1955-56 and again in 1961-62. Price would also become the 16th goaltender in NHL history to hit the 42-win mark in a single campaign, and the first netminder to reach that plateau since Pekka Rinne and Marc-Andre Fleury accomplished the feat in 2011-12.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and Sportsnet East.

Projected lineup vs. Tampa Bay:

Pacioretty – Desharnais – Parenteau
Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gallagher
De La Rose – Eller – Flynn
Prust – Mitchell – Weise
Malhotra – Smith-Pelly

Subban – Markov
Beaulieu – Pateryn
Emelin – Petry
Weaver – Gonchar - Gilbert

SEE ALSO
Words From The Room - March 30
Andrei Markov is the Montreal Canadiens candidate for the Bill Masterton Trophy in 2014-15
Game Preview: Lightning @ Canadiens
Big contributor

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POSTED ON Sunday, 03.29.2015 / 12:59 PM ET

- After securing a playoff spot with a 3-2 overtime win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night, the Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon.

- Twelve players hit the ice, including forwards Devante Smith-Pelly, Alex Galchenyuk, Brian Flynn, Manny Malhotra and Jacob De La Rose. Also present were defensemen Nathan Beaulieu, Mike Weaver, Greg Pateryn, Sergei Gonchar, Jeff Petry and Tom Gilbert, as was goaltender Dustin Tokarski.

- Tom Gilbert skated alongside his teammates for the first time in more than a week. He indicated, however, that he isn’t ready to return to active duty as of yet. Gilbert projected a return to the lineup towards the end of the week.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.28.2015 / 12:40 PM ET

BROSSARD – The Canadiens held a full game day skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Saturday, ahead of hosting the visiting Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre.

- Defenseman Tom Gilbert, who suffered an upper body injury against the Sharks a week ago, skated alone under the supervision of athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine prior to the start of practice. Gilbert has missed two games since last Saturday after not making the trip to Nashville and Winnipeg earlier this week.

- Forward Brian Flynn skated alongside teammates Lars Eller and Jacob De La Rose at practice, and will be back in the lineup following a five-game absence as a healthy scratch.

“We want to give him an opportunity to show us what he can do. To be honest, we haven’t given him many chances to prove himself since he arrived here. We have a group of healthy forwards in our lineup right now, and tonight we want to give him a chance,” confirmed head coach Michel Therrien of Flynn, who has suited up for just five games since being acquired by the Canadiens at the NHL trade deadline.

Although the 26-year-old forward will take Devante Smith-Pelly’s place in the lineup as the latter joins Manny Malhotra, Sergei Gonchar, and Mike Weaver on the press gallery, Therrien insists there’s nothing to read between the lines.

“It’s not about Devante. We really just want to see what Flynn can bring. Devante brought a good physical presence to our last two games on the road, but we want to be fair with Flynn and give him his chance,” added the Canadiens’ bench boss.

- With a win against the Panthers on Saturday, the Canadiens can officially secure a playoff berth this spring. Despite already owning 100 points in the standings with seven games left to play, Lars Eller insists that doing so would represent more than a formality for a team also battling for the top spot in the East.

“We’re in a good position [to make it], but we’re not in the playoffs yet,” acknowledged the 25-year-old forward who has 25 games of NHL playoff experience under his belt. “It’s not the playoffs yet, but you can feel the desperation of other teams. There’s something to play for every game. We’re not satisfied to sit back. We always prefer to play games that mean something, and tonight’s points matter just as much to us as they do to Florida.”

Indeed, Florida is also in the hunt for a playoff spot – albeit one of the two remaining wild card berths – sitting just three points back of both the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators heading down the final stretch.

“I think once you got to the 15-game mark you knew things would start to tighten up. It’s just the way it’s going to be now, but luckily for us, we’ve been playing tight games since the halfway mark ourselves,” noted defenseman P.K. Subban. “Our games haven’t been too wide open so we’re used to playing that type of hockey, but if we’re thinking any team from here on in is going to let off the pedal – whether they’re in the playoffs or not – we’re going to be sadly mistaken. This team is playing for their playoff lives and we know they’re going to give it their best effort tonight.”

- Subban himself will also get a chance to give his best effort against a childhood idol on Saturday.

“A big part of my game is puck protection and being strong on the puck, but there’s no player who’s been better at it in his career than Jaromir Jagr,” admitted the Canadiens assistant captain, who ran into the 43-year-old Panthers forward during dinner on Friday. “A big part of my game comes from watching him play and my dad was always a big fan of Jagr’s when I was growing up. He always wanted me to be a player that was strong on the puck, just like him. Even today, when he’s on the ice, he doesn’t shy away from reminding me how strong he is on the puck sometimes. It’s amazing for someone who’s been playing the game for so long to be in as good shape as he’s in.”

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on TVA Sports and City TV.

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