- After a day off on Wednesday, the Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday morning ahead of their tilt against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Bell Centre. The Habs will be looking to extend their current winning streak to four games. Michel Therrien’s troops have downed the Blue Jackets in both of their previous meetings earlier this season.
- Carey Price will likely make his 51st start of the season on Thursday night. The 26-year-old is 2-2-1 with a 2.76 GAA and a .902 save percentage in five career appearances against Columbus, who will likely counter with reigning Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky between the pipes.
“Not too long ago, Bobrovsky was named the best goalie in the league. He’s definitely doing something right,” confided Alex Galchenyuk, referencing the Blue Jackets’ starter, who has compiled a 26-17-4 record and a 2.49 GAA in 47 games during the 2013-14 campaign. “You’ve got to be aggressive against him. You’ve always got to be in front of the net, and not make the job too easy for him because if you do he’s going to steal some games.”
- After skating for about 10 minutes on Thursday morning, Brandon Prust left the ice and returned to the Canadiens’ dressing room. In his post-practice press conference, the Habs bench boss addressed Prust’s status for the game against Columbus.
“Brandon Prust will not play tonight. He’s suffering from an upper-body injury and will be re-evaluated on a day-to-day basis,” offered Therrien, who saw Prust most recently return to action on Mar. 12 after missing seven games due to injury.
It will be White’s first taste of action since the Mar. 12 tilt against the Bruins at the Bell Centre. He had been a healthy scratch for the Habs’ ensuing three games.
- Aside from White drawing into the lineup in the absence of Prust, the Canadiens will likely field the same lineup that bested the Avalanche 6-3 on Tuesday night. Forwards Rene Bourque and George Parros will likely be healthy scratches, as will defenseman Douglas Murray.
- Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards has his club playing good hockey as of late. Columbus is 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and currently hold the second wild-card position in the Eastern conference with 76 points.
Galchenyuk knows full well that the Blue Jackets are entering Thursday night’s tilt hungry as they continue their quest to turn the tables on a four-year playoff drought. With a dozen games left on the Canadiens' regular season schedule, the NHL sophomore understands the importance of defending home ice and not giving any opponent a free pass in their own barn.
“It’s getting close the playoffs. These games are crucial. There’s two points on the line, and especially playing in front of our fans you always want to get the W. I’m sure they want to come in here and get the two points, too. It’s our job not to give it away,” noted Galchenyuk, who has 12 goals and 27 points in 55 games thus far this season. “I think that they’re a different team now than they were when we played them a while back. I think standings-wise, they’re a more competitive team now. They want to play every shift like it’s their last. They want those two points, but we’re the team that doesn’t want to give them away easily. You know that there are 12 games left and anything can happen. Every point is crucial.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
Projected lineup vs. Columbus
The health status of Canadiens prospect Tim Bozon has improved significantly over the last several days according to the Star Phoenix newspaper in Saskatoon.
The 19-year-old left the ICU at the University of Saskatoon’s Royal Hospital over the weekend. He is still battling Neisseria meningitis, which mandated that he be admitted to hospital on Mar. 1 before being placed in an artificial coma.
According to his parents, Philippe and Helene, Tim is awake, moving around in his bed and is trying to feed himself and talk. He is currently listed in stable condition.
His loved ones continue to receive incredible support from across the globe which has helped them during this difficult time.
As announced last week, a trust has been created in Tim Bozon’s name by the WHL to help cover the costs of both his medical treatment and rehabilitation. All donations can be sent to:Tim Bozon Trust c/o Western Hockey League
2424 University Drive NW
New and used skates drive
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Colorado Avalanche at the Bell Centre. The Habs will be looking to extend their current winning streak to three games.
- Tuesday night’s tilt will mark the return of Patrick Roy to the Bell Centre for the first as an NHL head coach. In his first season behind the bench in Colorado, the 48-year-old Hall of Famer has sparked a turnaround in the Mile High City, helping the Avalanche earn a spot among the premier teams in the Western Conference.
Michel Therrien, who also worked his way up the coaching ranks via the QMJHL, has a healthy respect for his coaching counterpart and the manner in which he steadily built his resume during eight seasons with the Quebec Remparts. Needless to say, the Canadiens bench boss also understands that a rather unique situation awaits his troops with the return of one of the most decorated Habs in team history.
“It will be a different atmosphere in the building tonight with Patrick’s return. We’ll likely have a very competitive game between the two teams. It shows at what point Patrick is passionate about hockey and about coaching. He could’ve chosen a different road to get there, but the fact that he worked with kids for years, in my eyes, I respect him a lot for that,” offered Therrien.
- With a record of 21-9-2 away from the friendly confines of the Pepsi Center, the Avalanche clearly know what it takes to win on the road. For their part, the Canadiens know full well the bevy of offensively-gifted weapons they’ll be trying to shut down on Tuesday night, and they fully intend on doing just that.
“They’re going to be coming hard to try to get [Patrick] two points, so we’re going to do everything we can to spoil it and continue our push,” offered Brandon Prust, who has five goals and 11 points in 51 games during the 2013-14 campaign. “We know the situation. You don’t have to be from Quebec or a Montreal fan your whole life to know what happened and what he means to Montreal and what he did here, but for us it doesn’t matter. We’re looking for two points. We’re making a push for the playoffs and making sure that we keep climbing in the standings. Whenever we step on the ice, that’s all that matters.”
- Carey Price will be making his 50th start of the season on Tuesday night. Price is 0-2-1 with a 3.61 GAA in three career outings against Colorado. He will go up against Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who helped the Avalanche best the Canadiens 4-1 when the two teams met in early November in Denver.
- Based on the lines featured at the morning skate, the Canadiens will likely field the same lineup that bested the Sabres 2-0 on Sunday night in Buffalo.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
Projected lineup vs. Colorado
BROSSARD – On Monday morning, the Canadiens held an optional practice at the Bell Sports Complex.
- After practice, the Canadiens assigned Michael Bournival to the Hamilton Bulldogs on a conditioning stint. Bournival is recovered from a concussion and will be ready to resume game action in the AHL.
- The Habs will welcome the Patrick Roy-coached Colorado Avalanche to the Bell Centre on Tuesday.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Canadiens’ spectacular comeback against the Senators on Saturday night at the Bell Centre was a first in NHL history. No team prior to last night’s tilt had managed to win a game when trailing by three goals with less than five minutes remaining. Thus, the goals scored by Lars Eller (16:38), Brian Gionta (17:56) and David Desharnais (19:59) in regulation time, along with Francis Bouillon’s overtime marker, allowed the Canadiens to erase a 4-1 deficit to secure a historic 5-4 win.
- The Canadiens have recalled Dustin Tokarski from the Hamilton Bulldogs.
- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Saturday morning ahead of their tilt against the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre. The Habs will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak.
- Before the start of practice, Clement Jodoin spent about half an hour working on the power play on one side of the ice, while Stephane Waite, for his part, spent one-on-one time with Carey Price, who will be returning to NHL action on Saturday night for the first time since Feb. 8. It will be Price’s 49th start of the season.
“Carey Price will play tonight. It’s great news. He had a really good day at practice on Friday. He went through that process. He worked really hard and felt good. We met with him after practice, and we were saying yesterday that we’d see how he was feeling this morning. We met with him and the medical staff and they confirmed that he’s ready to play,” offered head coach Michel Therrien, who was visibly excited to confirm the return of his starter after an eight-game absence. “He’s had his mindset since Thursday that he wanted to make a comeback. He’s got to think like that. He looked really good yesterday. He looked good again this morning.”
- The lines Michel Therrien utilized during the morning skate were the same as those fielded by the Canadiens bench boss at practice on Friday morning. Defenseman Mike Weaver could be a healthy scratch, while forwards Rene Bourque, Ryan White and George Parros could also be scratches against Ottawa.
- Daniel Briere will be playing alongside a few familiar faces come Saturday night. The 36-year-old, who has gone pointless in his last six games, will be reunited on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta to form a trio that saw its fair share of success earlier this season. Briere, who hasn’t lit the lamp since posting a two-goal effort on Feb. 27 in Pittsburgh, is hopeful the line can click quickly against the Senators.
“It’s exciting. I love the look of our lineup. I think we can be dangerous. Obviously, it’s a great chance once again for me. Our line had a lot of success the first few games we played together. I’m looking forward to it,” praised Briere, who has 17 goals and 40 points in 46 career games against Ottawa. “For some reason, it works out. Sometimes chemistry is tough to explain. If you would’ve said which players I would’ve had the most chemistry with at the beginning of the year, I probably wouldn’t have picked them. But, it works. We just to seem to know where each other is out there. Hopefully, it translates once again on the ice.”
- Thomas Vanek has spent the better part of his NHL career playing on the left side of the ice, but the 30-year-old winger will see some time on the right side against the Senators. That suits the Austrian-born forward just fine, most notably because he’ll have the opportunity to play with a pair of offensive threats in their own right in Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais.
“It’s fine. Obviously, I’ve played the majority of my career on the left, but any time you get the opportunity to play with two good players, I think you take it and you make the best of it,” noted Vanek, who has one assist in three games since being dealt to the Canadiens back on Mar. 5. “We’ve had a good couple of practices together.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.
Projected lineup vs. OTT:
Words From The Room - Mar. 15
Game preview: MTL vs. OTT
The Montreal Canadiens Children's Foundation Radio-Telethon to raise over $130,000
Three of a kind
- Michael Bournival was cleared for full contact and practiced with a regular red jersey. He had been out since February 6 with concussion symptoms. On Friday, Bournival took turn on Ryan White’s line during practice.
- Carey Price took part in the practice alongside Peter Budaj and
- After working on the powerplay, the players took part in high intensity battle drills in the offensive zone. On one occasion, Alexei Emelin checked Lars Eller to the ground along the boards, drawing cheers from their teammates.
- Thomas Vanek worked out alongside Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais. The trio was assembled last weekend for powerplay usage, but is now skating together on a full-time basis.
LINES AT PRACTICE
- The coaches spent time before the start of practice working on the powerplay. Thomas Vanek lined up alongside David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty on the first powerplay wave while Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher and Daniel Briere alternated as the forwards on the second wave.
- The Habs are gearing up for their third season match-up against the Bruins, having won the two previous 2013-14 confrontations against Boston. Going back to last season, Montreal is a perfect 5-0 against their division rival.
“They’ve been close games and we’ve just been on the better side of those close games. For us we just want to focus on what we do well. We’re a fast team so we want to get on the forecheck and play an intense style of hockey,” acknowledged Brendan Gallagher. “Everyone knows the style the Bruins want to play. They’re a big, physical team which can hit and make plays. We’ve been successful at sticking with what we do well and we need to do that again tonight.”
- Francis Bouillon will draw back into the lineup on Wednesday night. It will be the veteran defenseman’s 38th game of the season, he who had been in and out of the lineup due to a glut of defensemen on the roster.
“It wont be the first time that I come back into the lineup after missing several games,” said Bouillon, who is in his 11th season with the Habs. “It’s not easy to get back and find your full confidence. I’ll try to stay in my game plan and find my game as quickly as possible. The game against the Bruins will be very important for the standings at the end of the season.”
“I have full confidence that Francis Bouillon will be a strong presence for us,” offered coach Michel Therrien, who paired the veteran blueliner with P.K. Subban during the morning skate and also employed him on powerplay drills. “He’s always had a great work ethic and attitude even when he is not playing, and he’s in good enough shape to handle a big workload.”
- Michael Bournival practiced wearing a non-contact jersey
- Brandon Prust will return to the lineup against the Bruins.
- Carey Price participated in the full on-ice workout and is nearing a return to play.
- Peter Budaj will make the start against Boston. The Slovakian netminder was in front of the net in the Habs’ last game versus the Bruins, a 4-1 win in Boston.
Projected lineup vs. BOS:
Michael Bournival practiced wearing a non-contact jersey, while Brandon Prust has been cleared for full contact and wore a regular white jersey.
Carey Price participated in the on-ice workout and is nearing a return to play.
Douglas Murray had a therapy day and did not skate.
The team spent a great deal of time working on their powerplay and penalty kill schemes. Thomas Vanek lined up alongside David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty on the first powerplay wave while remaining with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta in other drills. Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher and Daniel Briere alternated as the forwards on the second wave.
After practice, Coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Francis Bouillon will return to the lineup on Wednesday against Boston. All other personnel decisions will be announced on game day.
Lines at practice: