POSTED ON Monday, 04.20.2015 / 1:30 PM ET

- The Canadiens benefited from a day off on Monday following Sunday's 2-1 overtime win at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa. Holding a 3-0 series lead, Michel Therrien's troops will now spend a day in the Mont Tremblant region, taking part in team-building activities before returning to the ice on Tuesday in Saint Jovite. The Habs head back to the nation's capital for Game 4 on Wednesday.

POSTED ON Sunday, 04.19.2015 / 1:40 PM ET

- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata on Sunday morning ahead of contesting Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Ottawa Senators.

- All players were present and accounted for at the morning skate, except for Lars Eller, David Desharnais and Tomas Plekanec, all of whom elected to take the option.

- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that the Canadiens will not feature any lineup changes in Game 3. The Canadiens’ bench boss also indicated that Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau is available for active duty after missing Game 2 with an upper-body injury.

- After going up against netminder Andrew Hammond in the first two games of the series, the Canadiens will have to solve a new goaltender in Game 3 as Craig Anderson will be between the pipes for Ottawa on Sunday night. Michel Therrien’s troops are quite familiar with the Senators starter, who managed to stymie the Canadiens when the two teams last met in the playoffs two years ago. Back then, the 33-year-old allowed just seven goals in five games, pacing the Senators to a 4-1 series victory.

“We all remember the last playoff series we played against him. He played very strong hockey for them. He gave them a chance to win. We expect the same thing. It’s just going to be important for us to get as many shots as we can, get bodies in front and create traffic. We always talk about doing it,” offered Brendan Gallagher, who boasts six goals and 14 points in 24 career playoff games. “He’s going to be excited. We have to make sure that he has to battle and that he has to compete. He’s going to play a good game.”

Like Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk says the key to beating any goaltender remains simply to put pucks on net at a steady pace. That’s really all there is to it.

“I actually skate with [Anderson] in the summer. Hopefully, I can beat him tonight. Our mindset is just to go out there and play our game. We basically want to play the same way we did the last two games,” explained Galchenyuk, who scored his second career game-winning goal in postseason play on Friday night, lifting the Canadiens to a 3-2 overtime win in Montreal. “I think [I know where to shoot on him]. You’re thinking about that stuff before the game. When you’re playing the game, things happen so quickly and you can’t really focus on that. As long as you get the puck to the net and you’re aggressive with the puck, that’s how you create scoring chances.”

- Senators bench boss Dave Cameron also plans to make one additional lineup change on Sunday night, opting to give tough guy Chris Neil a shot in place of Alex Chiasson. Neil hasn’t played since February 14 after suffering a thumb injury.

It’s safe to say Cameron’s decision to go with Neil up front – and Anderson in goal – really doesn’t affect the way the Canadiens plan to go about their business in Game 3.

“We’ve just got to focus on what we can control. That’s how we play. During the playoffs, there are going to be lineup changes and different things going on. You’ve just got to focus on the things that have been getting you success,” stressed P.K. Subban, who has one goal and three points through the first two games of the series. “Right now, it’s just about playing our game and making sure that we’re sharp.”

That will be especially important on Sunday night as the Canadiens look to take a stranglehold on the series in what should be a rather hostile environment.

“They’re going to play desperate hockey. We know that they’re excited to be back home. They’re a team that’s kind of been in this situation all year. They’re definitely still going to have that confidence and that belief in themselves, so it will be on us to play a solid road game and not give them too much momentum,” explained Gallagher, who leads the Canadiens with 10 shots on goal in the series. “This whole series has been about competing and battle level. I don’t think it’s going to change tonight. If we’re not prepared to do those things, we’re not going to get the result that we want.”

- The Canadiens announced that six members of the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs have been recalled to serve as the “Black Aces” for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The recalled players include forwards Daniel Carr, Charles Hudon and Christian Thomas, defensemen Darren Dietz and Brett Lernout, as well as goaltender Mike Condon. The players will travel to Montreal on Monday and practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard starting on Tuesday.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on CBC and TVA Sports.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 04.18.2015 / 2:17 PM ET

- After posting a 3-2 overtime victory over the Ottawa Senators in Game 2 on Friday night, the Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Saturday afternoon before heading to the nation’s capital. Game 3 goes on Sunday night at the Canadian Tire Centre.

- Fifteen players took part in the practice session, including Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau who did not suit up in Game 2 after suffering an upper-body injury in the series-opener. Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Parenteau is still listed as day-to-day. His status for Game 3 remains uncertain.

- Carey Price, P.K. Subban, Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk were among those players who elected not to hit the ice on Saturday. Dustin Tokarski and Joey MacDonald split the duties in goal.

POSTED ON Friday, 04.17.2015 / 1:00 PM ET

- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday, ahead of Game 2 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre.

- Five players were absent from practice, leaving Friday’s lines to be determined.

- Max Pacioretty, who has missed the team’s last three games with an upper body injury, is nearing closer to a return. The Habs’ leading goalscorer practiced without the tinted visor he had been using previously this week, opting instead for a clear one – a good sign according to head coach Michel Therrien, even if he would not confirm the 26-year-old winger’s return.

“I haven’t spoken with the medical staff yet,” acknowledged the Habs’ bench boss during his post-practice press conference. “But Max is feeling really good. It’s a positive sign. He skated well yesterday and today he’s feeling good, but I can’t confirm whether he’ll be back tonight or on Sunday.”

- Carey Price will be back in goal for Game 2 against the Senators. In his first outing of the 2015 postseason, the All-Star netminder stopped 30 of 33 shots to earn his 43rd career playoff win.

- Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, who was not at practice on Thursday, skated alone on Friday morning, testing his mobility before also taking part in the optional session. Therrien confirmed that the 32-year-old forward’s status will be re-evaluated day-to-day.

- Chris Neil will be back in the Senators lineup for the first time since February 14, when he suffered a fractured finger in a fight with Edmonton’s Luke Gazdic. In just 38 games this season, Neil has registered 78 penalty minutes, averaging more than two minors per game.

Neil’s return follows a physical Game 1 in which a combined 86 hits were dished out on the ice, although the Habs aren’t reading too far into the Sens’ change of personnel.

“Guys fit certain roles and if they feel that’s something the team needs then that’s the way it is. It’s still the same game when it comes down to it, and we’re not going to let lineup changes affect us,” underlined Nathan Beaulieu, who picked up an assist on Brian Flynn’s Game 1 winner. “There are going to be lineup changes with every team throughout the course of the playoffs. It’s just part of the game with injuries and other things that can happen. We’ll be fine.”

- The Canadiens proved to be ready for a physical affair on Wednesday, and insist they’re ready for more on Friday.

“I’m expecting another physical, hard game. Last game was pretty hard, lots of hitting, and I expect the same thing tonight,” predicted Devante Smith-Pelly, who together with Alexei Emelin led the Habs with six hits each during Game 1. Nevertheless, the six-foot, 220-pounder is also expecting a clean affair.

“I don’t think anyone in here is too worried. I know guys in here don’t want to put the team on the penalty kill, and I would assume guys in the other room don’t want to either,” added the 22-year-old forward who scored five goals with the Anaheim Ducks during the 2014 playoffs. “My job is pretty simple – go in and try to create some space for the guys I’m playing with. That’s my job, to finish my checks and wear down the opposing defense.”

POSTED ON Thursday, 04.16.2015 / 1:28 PM ET

- After securing a 4-3 win in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Ottawa Senators, the Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday morning in preparation for Game 2 on Friday night in Montreal.

- The Canadiens announced that Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau would not take part in Thursday afternoon’s on-ice session. He is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Parenteau logged 12:13 of ice time in Game 1, registering three shots on goal over the course of 18 shifts.

- After being called up on Wednesday from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, goaltender Joey MacDonald took to the ice at the Bell Sports Complex. MacDonald took part in drills with Dustin Tokarski and goaltending coach Stephane Waite before leaving the ice at the start of the formal practice session. He returned near the end of practice for some final drills.

- Max Pacioretty took part in regular line drills on Thursday. He was featured alongside David Desharnais and Devante Smith-Pelly at practice. In his post-practice press conference, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed, however, that Pacioretty hasn’t received medical clearance to return to the lineup just yet. His status for Game 2 remains uncertain.

- P.K. Subban met with members of the media to address Wednesday night’s incident involving Senators forward Mark Stone. Aside from the major penalty Subban was assessed in Game 1, the Norris Trophy winner hasn’t received any supplemental discipline for the slash that ultimately caused a microfracture in Stone’s right wrist.

Lines and defensive pairings at practice:

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

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

POSTED ON Wednesday, 04.15.2015 / 12:23 PM ET

- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Wednesday morning ahead of contesting Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre.

- All players were present and accounted for at the optional skate, expect for P.K. Subban and Tomas Plekanec. The Czech pivot, however, took to the ice prior to the formal on-ice session to break in a new pair of skates.

- For a third consecutive day, Max Pacioretty skated alongside his teammates. Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed, however, that Pacioretty would not suit up on Wednesday night as he continues to recover from an upper-body injury. Pacioretty remained on the ice once the optional skate came to an end, as did Manny Malhotra, and defensemen Sergei Gonchar, Mike Weaver and Greg Pateryn.

“There’s a chance we’ll see Max out there on Friday. We’ll have him back in the lineup when he’s 100 percent healthy. There was a chance he’d play tonight, but it’s just not the case,” offered Therrien, referencing the health status of the Canadiens’ No. 67. “Now, it could be Friday or it might be Sunday. When we get the green light from the medical staff, we’ll be very happy to have him back in the lineup.”

- Despite his young age, Brendan Gallagher is already a veteran when it comes to playoff hockey. He’s taken part in 22 playoff games since joining the NHL ranks in 2012-13. Gallagher participated in the opening-round series against the Senators two years ago when Ottawa sent the Canadiens packing in five games. He even scored a goal in each of the first two games of the series. Having played three other playoff series since then, the 22-year-old knows that each matchup really does take on a life of its own.

“It’s tough to say what you have to do to win the series. Every series develops its own identity. It will be important for us to take things one game at a time. It starts tonight,” mentioned Gallagher. “We have to get off to a good start. We know how well they’ve been playing lately. It will be important for us to establish ourselves in Game 1 and use the crowd to our advantage. ”

And, Gallagher knows full well that in order to make his presence felt against Dave Cameron’s contingent, he’ll have to do what he does best – make the opposing goaltender’s life miserable.

“You have to give him credit. He’s been playing excellent hockey lately. What makes him good is his compete level,” offered Gallagher, who went up against Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond twice during the regular season. “But, there’s always a way to beat any goaltender. You can’t stop the puck if you can’t see it. We have to create traffic in front of him. We’ve played him a couple of times and we know what we have to do. We’ll have to give him a tough time tonight.”

- At just 19 years of age, Jacob De La Rose will make his NHL playoff debut with the Canadiens on Wednesday night. Therrien spent some quality time with a few of his troops prior to the morning skate to get a better sense of how they were feeling leading up to Game 1. De La Rose was among those players the Canadiens’ bench boss visited with ahead of the series-opener.

“This morning, I sat down with Jacob De La Rose. He’s just 19 years old. This is his first experience in the playoffs. I wanted to see how he was feeling. He’s very excited. He’s also a little bit nervous. That goes without saying. But, he’s excited,” mentioned Therrien, who will be behind the bench for his 60th career playoff game on Wednesday night. “His parents will be here. It will be emotional for him. When it comes to advice, I told him to just be himself. He’s played big games in the past. It won’t be any different tonight. He has to embrace this challenge. I’ll give him all the support I can because I like the way he plays. I like his speed. Things will be a little bit faster tonight, but speed is an asset in his case. He’ll be ready.”

- While the Canadiens will have a few players making their postseason debuts in 2014-15, local boy Torrey Mitchell is set to embark on the seventh playoff run of his career. The Greenfield Park native brings 60 games of NHL playoff experience to the lineup with the San Jose Sharks and the Minnesota Wild. This time around, however, Mitchell will battle for the Stanley Cup donning the colors of his hometown team. That will surely make this playoff experience particularly special.

“I’m very excited. There’s a lot of emotion involved. That’s for sure,” offered Mitchell, who has registered three goals and 12 points in postseason play. “I’ve got some playoff experience already, but tonight for Game 1 I know I’ll be like a little kid out there. I’m just so excited. I hope my experience can help.”

Mitchell, who will have plenty of family and friends in attendance on Wednesday night, says past playoff experience has taught him that feeling somewhat nervous this time of year isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If anything, it’s a good indicator that you’re simply living in the moment.

“I think butterflies are a good thing. Everyone is excited to get started. Both teams are going to have butterflies. Our goal is to win the Stanley Cup,” explained Mitchell, who played 14 regular season games with the Canadiens after being acquired at the trade deadline from Buffalo in early March. “We just have to control our emotions and play with discipline.”

- The 2015 Fan Jam gets underway at 4 p.m. EST in an open-air lot on the corner of Peel and St. Jacques in downtown Montreal. The location will be the home of the Fan Jam for the duration of the team’s postseason run.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on TVA and CBC.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 04.14.2015 / 12:42 PM ET

- For a second consecutive day, the Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard in preparation for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Ottawa Senators. The two teams will do battle on Wednesday night at the Bell Centre.

- Max Pacioretty practiced alongside his teammates, but did not take part in regular line drills. Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Pacioretty has been cleared for contact. Team doctors, however, haven’t yet indicated when the New Canaan, CT native will return to the lineup.

- Defenseman Tom Gilbert confirmed that he is ready to return to active duty. Gilbert missed the last two games of the regular season with an upper-body injury.

- The Canadiens announced that the team will spend time in Mont Tremblant between Games 3 and 4 instead of remaining in Ottawa. Therrien indicated that the team will use the time for team bonding during the current playoff run.

Lines and defensive pairings at practice:

De La Rose-Eller-Weise


POSTED ON Monday, 04.13.2015 / 12:50 PM ET

- The Canadiens began preparing for the 2015 NHL Playoffs on Monday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. Their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series against the Ottawa Senators will get underway on Wednesday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

- All players were present and accounted for at practice, including Max Pacioretty. The New Canaan, CT native took part in a full practice alongside his teammates for the first time in over a week. Pacioretty skated with David Desharnais and Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau during power play drills. The Canadiens focused primarily on special teams during Monday’s on-ice session.

- Following practice, Pacioretty confirmed that he hasn’t yet been cleared for contact by team doctors. He remains hopeful, however, to return to active duty as soon as possible, carefully following a recovery plan that has been in place since going down in the game against Florida on April 5. Pacioretty referred to the injury as an “upper-body injury”, but did not expand further. He also confirmed that he has been sporting a tinted visor as of late simply to try a new look.

Power play lines at practice:

Pacioretty-Desharnais-Parenteau // Markov-Subban

Galchenyuk-Plekanec-Gallagher // Gilbert-Petry

POSTED ON Sunday, 04.12.2015 / 12:29 AM ET

- Carey Price will share the Jennings Trophy with Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford. Montreal and Chicago each allowed 189 goals against, the lowest in the NHL this season. Price and Crawford were the only netminders on their respective teams to have played the minimum 25 games required to be eligible for the award.

- Carey Price finished first in the NHL in three major statistical categories among goaltenders, including wins (44), goals-against average (1.96) and save percentage (.933). He also finished second in the league with nine shutouts, one less than Marc-Andre Fleury’s 10 whitewashes on the season.

- Max Pacioretty tied Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov for the league lead with a stellar plus-38 plus/minus differential, becoming the first Habs player since Guy Lafleur in 1977-78 to finish atop the NHL in that category.


POSTED ON Saturday, 04.11.2015 / 1:15 PM ET

TORONTO – It’s been over two weeks since the Canadiens clinched a berth in the 2015 postseason, but there’s still plenty on the line in Game 82 in Toronto.

- If the Habs win on Saturday, it will mark the first time the team has registered 50 or more victories since a 53-win campaign in 1988-89.

- Heading into Saturday’s game, the Habs are guaranteed to have home ice advantage for the opening round of the playoffs, but with at least one point in Toronto, they can also clinch first place in the Atlantic division. A Lightning loss in regulation or overtime would also give the Habs the division title, which would shore up home ice for Montreal for at least two rounds of playoff hockey. All 30 teams are in action on Saturday night, including four games with playoff implications for the Habs, but the only game the Canadiens are focusing on is the one taking place in Toronto.

Final morning skate

“We expect Tampa to take care of their business and we have to do the same on our end. You can look at it both ways. It definitely is important. We know it’s tough for teams to come into the Bell Centre. it could be huge, but that said, I've been in the league for three years and I’ve been in four playoff series. The two where we had home ice, we lost, and the two where we didn’t, we won. We don’t worry too much about it. We want to be playing our best hockey. By this time of year, everything should be reactionary. It will be a good test for us tonight.”

- Carey Price will get the start against Toronto and will look to sweep the Leafs with a fourth win in as many games against the division rivals in 2014-15. Head coach Michel Therrien explained the reasoning behind calling on the All-Star netminder for a 66th time this season.

“We gave some guys a chance to rest in the second half of the back-to-back in Jersey. For a guy like Carey, this is only his third game in nine days, I believe,” explained Therrien. “He’s going to have four days to get prepared before we start the first game of the playoffs. We were able to keep the energy level of the players up because the schedule gave us that opportunity.”

- Devante Smith-Pelly will be suiting up in his hometown as a Hab for a first time since being traded to Montreal in February and the fifth time in his career on Saturday night. The Scarborough native has been playing his best hockey since arriving in Montreal over the last few games and is hoping to continue that trend in front of his parents and a slew of friends at the ACC.

“I played here earlier this year with the Ducks, but it will be a whole other level with the Canadiens. I’m really excited for tonight, especially now that they aren’t all cheering for the Leafs,” joked Smith-Pelly, who played 15:23 on Thursday against Detroit, his second-highest ice time since becoming a Hab. “This is the most fun time of the year. As much as we’re all excited for the playoffs to start, we also need to focus on tonight because this one will be important.”

- Max Pacioretty didn’t make the trip to Toronto, but the Habs sniper skated with trainers in Brossard on Saturday morning for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury on April 5 in Florida.

“He’s responding well to treatment and that’s great news,” shared Therrien on his leading scorer, who had 37 goals and 30 assists in 80 games before seeing his regular season come to a close in the first period against the Panthers. “That doesn’t change what we said earlier, though; he’ll be re-evaluated by doctors early next week. When we have news, we’ll share it, but it’s too early to know.”

- About to suit up for his 82nd game of the season, David Desharnais is one of just five Habs players who have played every one of the teams games in 2014-15 to date – a feat the 27-year-old forward has yet to accomplish in his six years in the NHL.

“It’s something I haven’t done since I’ve been here and it’s a little goal you set for yourself at the start of the season,” admitted Desharnais, who played 81 games in 2011-12 and 79 in 2013-14. “It’s fun to be able to play all 82 this year. The game is fast and there are a lot of injuries, so to be able to play all 82 games shows you’re able to grind it out for the entire season.”

- There will be no lineup changes from Thursday's game against Detroit. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre, and will be broadcast on TVA Sports, CBC, 98.5 FM and TSN 690.

Words from the Room
Game Preview