- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard ahead of Saturday night’s tilt against the visiting Colorado Avalanche.
- Greg Pateryn will replace Emelin in the lineup, making his 2015-16 debut opposite the Avalanche after recently being assigned for a three-game conditioning stint with the St. John’s IceCaps in the AHL.
“It was good to go down there and get some game experience. It’s a lot different than just practicing against your own guys and working out every day. It was good to get into some battles,” acknowledged the 25-year-old rearguard. “It’s definitely exciting. It’s been a long time, but you stay ready for a reason. You never know what can happen.”
Pateryn should be paired with a familiar face in Tom Gilbert when he hits the Bell Centre ice for the first time this season on Saturday.
“I think that’s the plan for now,” continued the Sterling Heights, MI native. “We played together in the past -- in the playoffs last year too -- so we’re pretty comfortable with each other and I’m excited.”
- The Canadiens also announced that Alexander Semin will be back in the lineup in place of Paul Byron, after sitting out the last seven games as a healthy scratch. The Russian forward should once again form a line with Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller.
Although Semin did not address the media on Saturday, his teammates were excited to have him back.
“He has a good shot, and the ability to get the puck off quickly. It’s something opposing players will have to be aware of,” underlined Brendan Gallagher. “He’s been a very good player in this league for a long time and he’s been wanting to get back into the lineup for awhile.”Second time's a charm
Semin had a goal and two assists in his first 10 games with the Habs, and should be well-surrounded to add to those totals in his return to action.
“The strength of this group has always been our team concept,” added Gallagher. “That’s the way we play -- anyone can come in and contribute, and we expect him to do just that.”
- In goal, Mike Condon will make a seventh consecutive start for the Habs. Condon holds a 6-0-2 record with a 0.936 save percentage and 1.73 goals against average through his first eight games in the NHL.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Bell Centre on TVA Sports and Sportsnet.
From the room
Game Preview: Canadiens vs Avalanche
Pacioretty growing into role as captain of Canadiens
- After a day off on Thursday, the Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday morning in preparation for their tilt against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
- Defenseman Alexei Emelin didn’t practice on Friday. He was given a therapy day. Forward Torrey Mitchall also wasn’t present.
- Goaltender Carey Price didn’t take part in the on-ice session either. The Anahim Lake, BC native suffered a lower-body injury on October 29 in Edmonton.
- Following practice, head coach Michel Therrien indicated that he hadn’t yet finalized his lineup for Saturday night’s contest against Colorado. It’s worth noting that Alexander Semin skated on a line with Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller on Friday.
Forward lines and D pairings at practice:
Gallagher – Plekanec – Pacioretty
Semin – Galchenyuk – Eller
Fleischmann – Desharnais – Weise
Smith-Pelly – Flynn – Byron
Subban – Markov
Beaulieu – Petry
Pateryn – Gilbert – Tinordi
- The Canadiens hit the ice on Wednesday morning at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh in preparation for their midweek tilt against the Penguins.
- There were nearly as many Habs jerseys in the stands as there were on the ice during the morning skate, as the players’ dads filled a section of the arena to take in their sons’ practice as part of Canadiens’ 2015-16 Father & Son Road Trip.
“It’s special. I had a nice meal with him last night and got to introduce him to the guys,” revealed Nathan Beaulieu, whose father Jacques was sporting a familiar No. 28 jersey at practice. “Growing up he coached a lot of hockey and our seasons were at the same time, so he didn’t get to see me play much. Opportunities like this go a long way. I know Geoff Molson arranges this every year for our moms or our dads, and it shows a lot of class. We’re very appreciative of it.”
Indeed, fathers arrived from all over to spend the special day with their sons.
“He had to come in late because of work, but it’s just awesome spending time with him now,” added Max Pacioretty, whose father Raymond flew in on Wednesday morning. “A lot of the guys’ dads were around hockey when we were kids, so they have a pretty good understanding of what goes on in here, but my dad never played hockey in his life. He’s learning something new every minute and he’s having a lot of fun right now.”
Following the morning skate, the proud pops went on a tour of Pittsburgh while the Habs continued with their regular game day routines.
- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that there would be no roster changes on Wednesday, opting to stick with Saturday’s winning lineup against Boston.
“It’s very encouraging for us as a team. We have four lines right now that can all generate offense and score,” underlined Lars Eller, who will once again play alongside Alex Galchenyuk and Devante Smith-Pelly. “We’ve seen our fourth line scoring big goals which have won us games recently and that depth has been a big part of our success.”
- Mike Condon will likewise be back in goal for the Habs, making his fifth consecutive start since Carey Price was announced to be sidelined with an injury prior to last Sunday's game against the Jets. Condon has gone 3-0-1 over that stretch so far, earning the NHL’s Third Star of the Week honor along the way.
“We know that Carey’s our best player, but we also know that this is an opportunity for us to make some noise,” continued Pacioretty. “Obviously as individuals we want to prove that we can be one of the best teams in the league. A guy like Condo’s felt that pressure and has used it as motivation. It’s been great so far but this is just the start. We still want to continue getting better with every game.”
- The Penguins have been hot since the last time these two teams met, going 9-2 since falling to the Habs on October 13.
“They’re always a tough team to beat. Just look at their lineup,” admitted Therrien. “We’ll need to be structurally sound tonight to come out with the win. We’ll be facing top-tier players.”
That certainly includes Sidney Crosby, despite the fact that the Pens captain has only registered a pair of goals and five assists through 12 games so far this season.
“That’s actually scary. He’s the best player in the world for a reason, so he’s about to take off soon, I’m sure,” added Beaulieu, who will once again be tasked with containing Pittsburgh’s stars with Tom Gilbert on the blue line. We’re not going to change our approach going into this game. He’s a special player. We’re not paying too much attention to his stats, we have to respect the player he is.”
- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning before departing for Pittsburgh where they’ll battle the Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center on Wednesday night.
- This trek to Pittsburgh is particularly special because it marks the Father & Son road trip where players were allowed to bring along their father, brother or uncle along to experience life on the road first-hand. It’s the second time the Canadiens have scheduled this trip. Last season, the moms went along. The trip actually began on Tuesday morning as guests took in the practice on the South Shore.
- As has been the case for several weeks now, Michael Bournival skated prior to the Canadiens’ on-ice session accompanied by athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine. Bournival is still recovering from concussion-like symptoms.
- Following practice, head coach Michel Therrien updated the media on the health status of Carey Price. He indicated that Price had not been responding particularly well to treatment. That’s why the All-World netminder requested a second opinion on his injury and flew to New York on Monday to have another evaluation. The good news is that the diagnosis Price received in the Big Apple was the same one he was given in Montreal. Still, he will begin a new course of treatment that the Canadiens hope will get him back in the lineup soon. Nevertheless, Price will not play this week. He did, however, make the trip to Pittsburgh. You’ll recall that Price suffered a lower-body injury during a game in Edmonton on October 29.
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Weise – Desharnais – Fleischmann
Eller – Galchenyuk – Smith-Pelly
Flynn – Mitchell – Byron
Petry – Emelin
Beaulieu – Gilbert
Subban – Markov
Tinordi – Pateryn
- After a well-deserved day off on Sunday, the Canadiens returned to practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday morning. Michel Therrien’s troops will travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday where they’ll battle the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night at the CONSOL Energy Center, before taking on the Colorado Avalanche at the Bell Center on Saturday night.
- Defenseman Greg Pateryn was back at practice on Monday morning after spending the last week with the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps on a conditioning stint. He played three games with Sylvain’s Lefebvre’s squad before being recalled on Sunday.
- For his part, Price headed out of town to have his injury evaluated. Therrien will provide an update on his condition after practice on Tuesday.
- On Monday, the NHL announced that Mike Condon was named the league’s Third Star of the Week. The American netminder played three games for the Canadiens over the course of the last seven days, posting a 2-0-1 record and a .934 save percentage along the way.
- The Canadiens recalled Greg Pateryn from the St. John's IceCaps on Sunday. Assigned to the AHL on November 3 for conditioning purposes, the 25-year-old blue-liner played three away games with the IceCaps, registering 10 shots on goal, including five in the team's 4-3 shootout win over the Hershey Bears on November 7.
The Canadiens and Bruins meet for the second time this season, this time for a classic Saturday night matchup at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Although the Bruins struggled out of the gates to start the 2015-2016 season, the team is currently firing on all cylinders. Winners of seven of their last nine games, Boston heads into Montreal looking for redemption after losing the first game of the season against the Habs at TD Garden on October 10, 2015.
As captain Max Pacioretty urged, this is not a team the Canadiens can afford to take lightly.
“I think they are a difficult team to play against, they’ve just had a tough start to the year. They are definitely a hungry team right now and they are playing their best hockey of the season. It seems like all of their top players are playing at the top of their games. Boston is a very dangerous team to play against, so we have to show up ready to play,” explained Pacioretty, who has collected 12 goals and 11 assists in 27 career games against the Bruins.
Although the 2015-2016 version of the Boston Bruins is noticeably different from the lineups seen in recent years, the rivalry between the two teams has remained unchanged.
“They are still a team we don’t like and they don’t like us. It doesn’t matter what style they play,” said Pacioretty, who recently modelled the Canadiens’ new 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic jersey during its unveiling Friday afternoon.” I think we will see a faster paced game than we’ve seen in the past. They are trying to create more offense and use their speed up front. That’s a different style than we’ve typically seen from Boston. Maybe that’s why it took them a little while to get going, but they have found their groove and they are playing with confidence.
Getting his first taste of playing in the historic Boston-Montreal rivalry is Needham, Massachusetts native Mike Condon. The Habs’ rookie netminder, who currently leads the league with a sparkling goals against average of just 1.50, was confirmed by coach Therrien as Saturday night’s starter.
Asked if he’d given his goaltender any advice about the Habs-Bruins rivalry, P.K. Subban explained that until you experience it for yourself, it is hard to put into perspective.
“You know what? You can explain all you want before the game, but once the puck drops and the game starts, you can feel the energy in the building. So part of it is just experiencing it. It is one of the biggest rivalries in professional sports. There will not be a lack of motivation on either side tonight. I think everybody is going to be pretty pumped up for the game,” clarified Subban, who has seen his fair share of the Montreal-Boston matchup having played in 25 regular season games against the Bruins.
“For Condon, being from the Boston area it’s going to be pretty special for him. It is exciting for everybody. I’ve played against them many times but it always seems extra special. It is not about the players, it’s about the uniform. It doesn’t matter who is wearing the uniform as long as it is Boston-Montreal there is still going to be a rivalry.”
Coach Michel Therrien also noted that the Massachusetts native needs little motivation to get ready for Saturday night’s rivalry game.
“I’m sure it’s going to be a special game for him. He’s from Boston, as a young kid he saw what this rivalry is all about. I won’t have to sit down with him to explain it to him.”
The Canadiens would be wise to try and avoid trips to the penalty box against Boston, as the Bruins lethal power play is presently clicking at a league leading 35% as Boston has converted on 14 of their 40 opportunities with the man advantage this season.
“Well their top players are on the power play, and a guy like [David] Krejci is off on a whole new level this year. We know they have one of the best power plays in the league. Best way to defend against that is to stay out of the box,” advised Pacioretty, who has evidently take notice of Bruins’ David Krejci’s hot start to the season which has the Czech forward tied for 6th place in the NHL’s scoring race.
In the visitor’s camp, backup goaltender Jonas Gustavsson is expected to get the start against the Canadiens. The 6’4 goaltender has won all three games he’s appeared in as a member of the Boston Bruins since joining the team this year.
Following the Habs’ morning skate at the Bell Centre, coach Michel Therrien confirmed that he will not make any lineup changes ahead of Saturday night’s game against the Bruins.
- A day after the Canadiens’ 4-1 home defeat of the New York Islanders, the team held an optional practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard Friday morning ahead of Saturday’s clash against the Bruins.
- As the Canadiens, winners of 12 of their first 15 games this season, were given an optional practice, only six players skated on the ice in Brossard including goaltenders Mike Condon and Dustin Tokarski. Joining them for practice were Jarred Tinordi, Alexander Semin, Tomas Plekanec and Tomas Fleischmann. The six skaters practiced drills led by coaches Dan Lacroix and Stephane Waite.
- Players absent from the optional practice are expected to hit the ice for practice Saturday morning, as coach Michel Therrien gave players the option of choosing to attend either one of the two sessions.
- Michel Therrien also confirmed that Mike Condon will face the Bruins on Saturday. The 25-year-old netminder, who still remains undefeated in his NHL career, will make his seventh start of the season. In addition, the Needham, Massachusetts native’s stellar performance has him currently leading the league in goals against average. With regards to goaltender Carey Price, coach Therrien revealed that the team will have more details about his health on Monday.
- Due to a last minute schedule change, the Canadiens morning skate will be held at the Bell Centre and will therefore not be open to the public.
- The St. John’s IceCaps announced on Friday that the team has partnered with RDS to broadcast 12 home games during the 2015-16 season. The first game will air on RDS on Friday, November 13, when the IceCaps welcome the Toronto Marlies to town.
- The Canadiens returned to the Bell Sports Complex Thursday morning to prepare for their matchup against the New York Islanders at the Bell Centre. Michel Therrien’s squad will look to rebound after suffering a 2-1 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators in their most recent contest Tuesday night.
- The Canadiens’ bench boss is not expected to make any lineup changes for the game against the Islanders. That means that forward Alexander Semin and defensemen Jarred Tinordi will likely once again be healthy scratches.
- With Carey Price sidelined due to injury, Mike Condon will make his fourth straight start between the pipes for the Canadiens. As Brendan Gallagher testified, Condon has been a source of composure for the Habs this season.
“He’s been huge for us. Just the composure he’s had stepping in, it is pretty special to watch right now. He’s making some big saves, and timely saves, saves at times in the game where we really need him to step up and he’s done that for us, explained Gallagher, who also recognized Condon’s determination to take full advantage of his time as the Habs’ starter with Carey Price on the shelf. “When guys go down, it is an old cliché in hockey, but it is really just an opportunity for guys to step up and I think he has really taken advantage of that. He’s played very well for us.”
Canadiens forward Paul Byron also chimed in, noting the similarities between the Canadiens’ technically sound goaltenders. “He kind of looks like Carey Price in there. If you take off the #9 and put in the #1 and you probably wouldn't even know the difference the last few games.”
- Expected to make his fifth appearance in a Habs’ uniform, Paul Byron spoke about the challenge that lies ahead against the Islanders.
“It’s going to be a test for us for sure. We know they have a good team. They play hard and they have lots of skill, so we are going to have to put our work boots on tonight and go to work,” offered Byron, who led the Canadiens with a team high 5 hits in Tuesday night’s overtime loss to the Senators.
- Having lost three of their previous four games, the Islanders will receive a much needed boost from the return of their captain John Tavares to the lineup. As Brendan Gallagher explains, the Canadiens will have to keep a close eye on the former first overall draft pick.
“He’s obviously one of the best players in the world, so we have to pay attention when he is on the ice and make it as tough as we can. You know he is going to make his plays but you have to make him work for everything. We can’t give him any easy shifts. But like I said he is one of the best players in the world so it is always a challenge, noted Gallagher, who is looking to add his name to the scoresheet against the Islanders after being held pointless in his last three games. “He’s their leader, and they will be excited to get him back. He is one of the best players in the world. Like I said earlier, we just have to play him hard. Make sure he has to work for everything. We just have to make it as difficult as possible.”
The hard-hitting Islanders - who currently lead the NHL with 36.5 hits a game - set a new NHL record registering 65 hits in their previous game against the Devils. Presently leading the charge is forward Matt Martin, who leads the NHL in hits with 65, which is eleven more than any other player in the league.
- Canadiens mobile defenseman Nathan Beaulieu noted that the Canadiens will have to rely on their speed to take the physical Islanders out their comfort zone.
“Speed is going to be the biggest thing. If a team is hitting too much, they might over hit and you just have to counter on offense. We’re a great skating team, so if we move our feet we should be fine. If they try to throw too many hits, there are going to be a lot odd man chances. That is basically our game, we will find a way to counter.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and CITYM
Probable lineup against the Islanders:
Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Eller – Galchenyuk – Smith-Pelly
Fleischmann – Desharnais – Weise
Byron – Mitchell – Flynn
Emelin - Petry
Markov – Subban
Gilbert - Beaulieu
BROSSARD -- Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk has hooked up with Bauer and the Canadian Tire JumpStart Foundation to help kids in the Montreal community start playing hockey. By donating $50,000 worth of hockey equipment, Galchenyuk has helped create a bank of gear that children in the Montreal North, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and the Plateau-Mont-Royal neighborhoods can borrow in order to try out the sport and get into the game. Galchenyuk made the announcement on Wednesday surrounded by 40 local kids, who also had a chance to get a few autographs from the young sniper after watching the team practice in Brossard.