POSTED ON Friday, 10.2.2015 / 1:06 PM ET

- After dropping a 5-2 decision to the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre on Thursday night, the Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday morning. Michel Therrien’s troops will be back in action on Saturday night when they battle the Senators in Ottawa to wrap up their preseason schedule.

- Forward Alexander Semin was the only player who didn’t skate on Friday. He was given a therapy day. The 27 other players remaining at camp, however, were all present and accounted for.

- Noah Juulsen, the Canadiens’ first-round pick at the NHL Draft this past summer in South Florida, was sent down to his Junior squad – the WHL’s Everett Silvertips – following Thursday night’s game against Ottawa. Juulsen registered two shots on goal and added three hits while logging 13:35 of ice time.

- Dustin Tokarski will get the start in goal against the Senators on Saturday night.

Forward lines and D pairings at practice:

Max PaciorettyTomas PlekanecBrendan Gallagher
Lars Eller
Alex GalchenyukZack Kassian
Tomas Fleischmann – David DesharnaisDale Weise
Brian Flynn
Torrey MitchellDevante Smith-Pelly
Jacob De la Rose
Charles HudonSven Andrighetto

Andrei Markov – P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin – Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu – Tom Gilbert
Jarred Tinordi – Greg Pateryn
Mark Barberio

POSTED ON Thursday, 10.1.2015 / 2:59 PM ET

- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday, in preparation for the team’s sixth preseason game of the year. Just two games remain on the Habs’ exhibition schedule with a home-and-away series against Ottawa on tap before the regular season opens on October 7.

- Thursday marks the much awaited return of captain Max Pacioretty to the lineup. With a healthy arsenal at his disposal, coach Michel Therrien will ice a lineup that will feature last season’s top threesome of Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher in addition to the trio of Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk and Alexander Semin.

“[Max] is the leader of our group. He does a lot for us, so it will be nice to see him in the lineup. When we all heard he got hurt, I think we were all disappointed but we knew he would be back quickly,” explained Gallagher, who has been impressed with his captain’s hard work and determination to recover from a knee injury suffered during the offseason. “He’s been in the gym, he’s been in the trainer’s room, he’s the first one at the rink and the last one to leave. He’s been working as hard as he can to get back. Hopefully it goes well.”

- Unlike most of the Habs regulars, Pacioretty will only have two preseason games at his disposal to prepare for the season opener against Toronto on October 7.

“It will be nice to have a couple games here. I don’t think it will take long since we’ve played together a lot over the last couple of years,” noted Gallagher, who for his part thinks two games is enough time to get the line back in sync. “We had success playing a certain way and we can’t change that, we just have to get back to what we did last year to be successful.”

- Rookies hitting the ice against the Sens still vying for roster spots include forwards Sven Andrighetto, Charles Hudon and defenseman Noah Juulsen. The Everett Silvertips’ blue-liner recently began practicing with his Habs teammates for the first time since the beginning of rookie camp and is set to make his Canadiens debut tonight against the Senators.

“It’s a great feeling, just coming back here. It’s a great organization and they’ve been treating me well. I have a chance to play a game tonight and I can’t wait for it,” commented Juulsen, who was previously sidelined with a concussion and is excited to get his first taste of professional hockey on Thursday night. “It’s not the ideal scenario but I just have to go out to play my game. It’s pretty special. It’s every little kid’s dream to play an NHL game,” expressed the Canadiens 2015 first round pick.

- Reigning league MVP Carey Price is expected to see his final preseason action on Thursday before the he kicks things off for real against the Leafs. Dustin Tokarski, who will serve as Price’s backup on Thursday night, is likely to be between the pipes for the Canadiens’ final preseason game on Saturday night in Ottawa

- In the visitors’ camp, a familiar foe prepares to face the Canadiens, as Andrew Hammond is expected to get the start between the pipes for the Senators.

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

- Probable pairings and lines for Thursday’s game:









Pregame Comments
Game Preview: Senators @ Canadiens
Perfect timing

POSTED ON Wednesday, 09.30.2015 / 1:38 PM ET

- After enjoying a day off on Tuesday, the Canadiens were back at practice on Wednesday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard. Michel Therrien’s troops will be back in action on Thursday night when they play host to the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre. It will mark their sixth preseason game of the year.

- Therrien confirmed that Max Pacioretty will make his preseason debut on Thursday night. He will play on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher. Pacioretty spent much of the summer and the entire preseason so far recovering from a knee injury sustained while training during the offseason.

- Therrien also confirmed that defenseman Noah Juulsen will make his first preseason start on Thursday night. Juulsen, who was the Canadiens’ first-round pick back in late June, has been recovering from a concussion in recent weeks.

- The Canadiens’ bench boss also indicated that Carey Price will get the start in goal on Thursday night, while Dustin Tokarski will be between the pipes for the preseason finale on Saturday night in Ottawa.

Lines and D pairings at practice:

Max PaciorettyTomas PlekanecBrendan Gallagher
Lars Eller
Alex GalchenyukAlexander Semin
Tomas Fleischmann – David DesharnaisDale Weise
Brian Flynn
Torrey MitchellZack Kassian
Jacob De La Rose
Sven AndrighettoCharles HudonDevante Smith-Pelly

Andrei MarkovP.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin
Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu
Tom Gilbert
Jarred Tinordi
Greg Pateryn
Mark Barberio
Noah Juulsen

POSTED ON Monday, 09.28.2015 / 12:58 PM ET

- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday morning before hitting the road for Quebec City where they’ll battle the Pittsburgh Penguins in preseason action at the Videotron Centre. It will mark the Habs’ fifth preseason game of the year.

- The Canadiens will be featuring a lineup befitting the opening of the brand new building. Those players hitting the ice in La Vieille Capitale still vying for roster spots include forward Charles Hudon, defenseman Mark Barberio and goaltender Mike Condon, who will likely serve as Carey Price’s back-up for Monday night’s tilt.

- Nikita Scherbak, who has been sidelined for the last week with a lower-body injury, will also be in uniform on Monday night. It will mark the 19-year-old’s 2015-16 preseason debut. He should play on a line with Brian Flynn and Charles Hudon.

“I’m really happy that I’m able to play my first game with the guys against the Penguins tonight,” offered Scherbak, who is happy to be playing alongside Hudon. “He’s a good player. We played together last year in a preseason game against the Bruins. I liked playing with him and we’re going to have fun tonight.”

- For his part, Max Pacioretty skated on a line with Tomas Plekanec and David Desharnais even though he won’t suit up against Pittsburgh.

- Given that Therrien elected to make the trip to Quebec City with one extra forward and one extra defenseman, the Canadiens rotated several players through line drills on Monday morning. It’s likely, though, that the Semin-Galchenyuk-Eller and Fleischmann-Desharnais-Weise trios will remain intact. Fans will also have the opportunity to see the defensive pairing of Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban in action.

- Speaking of Subban, the former Norris Trophy winner is eager to hit the ice at the Videotron Centre for what he believes will be a memorable experience for all involved.

“I’m always excited to play in Quebec. Sometimes, I wish all 82 games were played here in Montreal. It would be great to have that hometown crowd, and we’re going to have that again tonight, I think. The guys are excited. It’s still preseason, but we are getting closer to the regular season so every game now gets a little bit more exciting for sure. We all know about the history of the NHL and the Nordiques in Quebec City. Whenever the Canadiens come to town, it seems that everybody gets excited,” explained Subban, who is looking forward to checking out the new building on Monday night. “Whenever you can play these games that have more attention around them, you always look forward to them. It’s going to be a special crowd and a special atmosphere. It always is.”

- The Penguins will be bringing a mix of veterans and young guns to Quebec City. NHL regulars in the Mike Johnston’s lineup include Marc-Andre Fleury, Rob Scuderi, Beau Bennett, Pascal Dupuis, Nick Bonino, Sergei Gonchar, David Perron and Kris Letang.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS.


POSTED ON Sunday, 09.27.2015 / 2:39 PM ET

- After posting a 1-0 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at the Air Canada Center, Michel Therrien’s troops practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Sunday afternoon. They’ll travel to Quebec City to battle the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night at the Videotron Centre. It will mark the Canadiens’ fifth preseason game of the year.

Here’s a look at the Canadiens’ lineup for the tilt in Quebec City:

Forwards: Brian Flynn, Torrey Mitchell, Charles Hudon, Nikita Scherbak, Tomas Fleischmann, David Desharnais, Dale Weise, Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk, Alexander Semin, Jacob De La Rose, Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher

Defensemen: Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban, Alexei Emelin, Jeff Petry, Nathan Beaulieu, Mark Barberio, Tom Gilbert

Goaltenders: Carey Price, Mike Condon

- All players were present and accounted for at practice, expect for Dale Weise, David Desharnais and Tomas Fleischmann. All three were given the day off and took part in off-ice workouts.

- Prior to the start of practice, the Canadiens announced that nine players had been reassigned to the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League, including Michael McCarron, Jeremy Grégoire, Darren Dietz, Joel Hanley, Daniel Carr, Bud Holloway, Christian Thomas, Gabriel Dumont and Morgan Ellis. For their part, Holloway, Thomas, Dumont and Ellis must clear NHL waivers.

- There are still 31 players at camp (18 forwards, 10 defensemen, 3 goaltenders), including four injured players: Max Pacioretty, Nikita Scherbak, Noah Juulsen and Michaël Bournival. Pacioretty, Scherbak and Juulsen practiced with the rest of the group on Sunday.

- In his post-practice press conference, Therrien indicated that Juulsen has been cleared for contact and will likely play a preseason game this week prior to returning to his Junior club in Everett.

POSTED ON Saturday, 09.26.2015 / 1:00 PM ET

- After dropping a 5-1 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night, the Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Saturday morning prior to flying to Toronto for their third preseason contest in as many nights.

- Goaltenders Dustin Tokarski and Mike Condon made the trip to Toronto, with Condon expected to play the entire game against the Maple Leafs. The 25-year-old netminder got his first taste of preseason action on Thursday, stopping all 21 shots he faced over 32:57 minutes of ice time against the Capitals.

- Max Pacioretty once again took part in the team’s morning skate, as he continues to recover from an offseason knee injury.

- On a line which produced four points on Thursday night, Dale Weise should be reunited with teammates David Desharnais and Tomas Fleischmann on Saturday.

“I’m happy to be playing with Davey. We’re starting to gel. We’ve only played one game with Fleisch so far, but we had fun together,” admitted Weise, who assisted on Fleischmann’s first goal of the preseason against the Capitals. “It’s nice to play a couple of games with the same guys and build some chemistry.”

- For the first time since the start of training camp, Noah Juulsen – who has been sidelined with a concussion – skated with his teammates on Saturday.

“It’s cool to finally be on the ice with the guys. It’s tough to not be able to show the coaches what I can do, but I’m working hard and hope to play at least one game, even if it’s not guaranteed,” explained the Canadiens’ 26th overall pick from the 2015 draft, who also saw his development camp cut short by a shoulder injury. “I’ve been unlucky so far, but hopefully that’ll change soon, especially if I get to take part in a preseason game.”

- Having played 18 games in Montreal a season ago, Christian Thomas hopes to make his stay a more permanent one this year after signing a new two-way contract in July.

“My goal is to stay in Montreal this year,” underlined Thomas, who will take part in his third preseason game of 2015-16. “I’m giving it my all and we’ll see what happens next.”

A native of Toronto, Thomas will suit up in his hometown for the first time as a member of the Habs on Saturday.

“I’ll get to play at home tonight, but unfortunately my parents will be in Tampa,” added the 23-year-old forward, whose father Steve is an assistant coach with the Lightning. “My uncle and some friends will be at the game though, which isn’t so bad.”

- Puck drop at the Air Canada Centre is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on RDS.

POSTED ON Friday, 09.25.2015 / 1:51 PM ET

- After dropping a 4-3 shootout decision to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, the Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Friday morning in preparation for their third preseason contest against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bell Centre.

- For a second straight day, Max Pacioretty took part in the morning skate. The Canadiens’ captain continues to recover from a knee injury sustained over the summer.

- Head coach Michel Therrien’s lineup will include a mix of veterans and young guns on Friday night. Tomas Plekanec, Torrey Mitchell, Devante Smith-Pelly, Brian Flynn, Brendan Gallagher and Zack Kassian will be among those lacing up their skates up front, while Jeff Petry, Alexei Emelin and Nathan Beaulieu will be among those patrolling the blue line. Forwards Jeremy Gregoire, Charles Hudon and Daniel Carr will also play. Carey Price and Zachary Fucale are the designated goaltenders for the CH.

- Following a successful 15-year career in the NHL, including 11 as a member of the Canadiens, defenseman Francis Bouillon made his retirement official on Friday morning. Many former teammates were eager to share their thoughts on the rearguard’s impressive run in the NHL ranks.

“He was a great player and a great teammate with the size that he had. He was tough. He was reliable as a defenseman. It was great to have him on the team,” offered Plekanec, who had two opportunities to play with Bouillon over the years in Montreal, most recently when the 39-year-old re-joined the CH for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 campaigns. “He was moving the puck. He was shooting the puck. He was the full package. When you played with him, it was so easy. He had everything - first pass, shot, tough to play against. Everything you can name of, he had under his belt.”

Nathan Beaulieu is among many players who had great things to say about Francis Bouillon in Brossard on Friday.

Beaulieu offered up similar thoughts about Bouillon, who served not only as a mentor but an important role model, too.

“I played my first game alongside him. Frankie Boo is a special guy. Great career. He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve seen. He’s just a great guy and he’s easy to talk to. He was a great team guy. It sucks to see his career end. I wish him all the best,” shared Beaulieu, who is still in the veritable infancy of his NHL career. “He wasn’t afraid of anybody. He was always there. It didn’t matter the size of the opponent, he always stuck up for his teammates. He threw his body around. He wasn’t the tallest guy, but he had a big heart.”

Needless to say, Bouillon was particularly special to fellow Quebec native David Desharnais.

“When I started training in Quebec, Francis was there. He’s a guy I watched a lot when I was younger. He’s one of the reasons I wear No. 51, too. I’ve got some great memories of him,” mentioned Desharnais, who, like Bouillon, worked his way through the QMJHL ranks growing up. “He’s a warrior. Every time he fought or delivered a big hit, I was probably his biggest fan. When I was younger, I would watch him on television. He was one of my favourite players. I’m very happy that I had the opportunity to play with him.”

- Youngster Brett Lernout will make his second straight preseason start on Friday night. The 20-year-old defenseman, who logged 14:27 of ice time against the Capitals, says playing alongside Nathan Beaulieu helped ease things along in his debut.

“I thought I played really well out there. Nathan made the game a lot easier for me. He gave me a lot more time to make plays and think things out. He’s a great D partner and I’m glad I can play with him [against Chicago],” praised Lernout, who put up 14 goals and 42 points in 72 games with the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos last season, before suiting up for six AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs. “I was nervous a little last night, but I feel more comfortable now. I’m going to go out there and hopefully it will be the same thing.”

For his part, Beaulieu didn’t shy away from offering up some words of wisdom to his up-and-coming defense partner.

“I told him not to get too overconfident because he was good the first night,” joked Beaulieu. “He was really good, though. He knows what to do. He’s a big kid with poise. It’s tough to find that. I thought he was great with his first game. I think he’s only going to get better.”

- Training camp invitee Nicolas Blanchard will get his first chance to strut his stuff in front of the Canadiens’ brass on Friday night. The 28-year-old forward – who was a sixth-round selection of the Carolina Hurricanes back in 2005 – will be playing a competitive game at the Bell Centre for the first time.

Nicolas Blanchard is excited to make his Bell Centre debut on Friday night in front of family and friends.

“I’m realizing a childhood dream. When I was called up by the Hurricanes, I didn’t get a chance to play here. I’m really excited for the game,” offered Blanchard, who registered three goals and 14 points in 63 games with the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps last season. “I’ve got a lot of family and friends who will be there. I’m going to enjoy the moment, take one shift at a time and focus on the game.”

Blanchard, who boasts just nine career NHL games on his resume, is committed to making the most of the opportunity the Canadiens have presented him with.

“The dream to play in the NHL just won’t go away. I’m 28 years old. I know myself as a player. I know what I have to do,” explained Blanchard, who was a teammate of David Desharnais in Chicoutimi while the pair was plying their trade in the QMJHL in the early 2000s. “The last eight years in the AHL have really served me well. I want to force Marc [Bergevin’s] hand. It’s one of my dreams to play for the Canadiens someday.”

- The Blackhawks will be bringing goaltenders Scott Darling and Mac Carruth to Montreal. Up front, they’ll feature the likes of Andrew Desjardins, Viktor Tikhonov, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Daniel Paille, Thomas Kopecky and Marko Dano, while Trevor Daley, David Rundblad, Jan Hejda and Lubomir Visnovsky will be among those players on defense.

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

Words From The Room - September 25
Game Preview: Canadiens vs Blackhawks
Francis Bouillon officially announces his retirement as an active NHL player
Sweet 15

POSTED ON Thursday, 09.24.2015 / 1:23 PM ET

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

- A notable group of Canadiens regulars will take part in Thursday night’s contest, including Lars Eller, David Desharnais, Alex Galchenyuk, Brian Flynn, Dale Weise, Andrei Markov, Tom Gilbert, P.K. Subban and Nathan Beaulieu. The Bell Centre faithful will also have their first chance to cheer on the likes of Alexander Semin and Tomas Fleischmann for the first time in a preseason contest. Incidentally, both players suited up for the Capitals at some point over the course of their respective NHL careers.

- The Eller-Galchenyuk-Semin line will be put to the test for the first time on Thursday night. Featuring two players – in Eller and Galchenyuk – still trying to adapt to new positions, and another in Semin trying to get accustomed to his new surroundings, chances to fine-tune their chemistry in game situations are invaluable heading into the regular season.

“We’re excited to go out there and play a real game. It will be good for everybody. We’re having fun together. I’ve played with Alex [Galchenyuk] before. I knew I had good chemistry with him before, and Semin has fit in nicely. We’re holding on to the puck, making plays and having fun,” offered Eller, referencing the success of the trio thus far in intra-squad action, and his ongoing adjustment to his new role as a left-winger, too. “I think we can all pass and we can all finish. We’re all good skaters. Semin has shown in the past that he can certainly shoot. I think that it’s the strongest asset he’s got, the fact that he can finish. He can do unexpected things that few players can.”

- For the first time since the start of training camp, Max Pacioretty skated alongside his teammates. He will not, however, be in the lineup against Washington as he continues to recover from a knee injury.

- A few youngsters will try to impress the Canadiens’ brass on Thursday night. Michael McCarron will be back in the lineup after scoring the CH’s lone goal against Toronto, while Christian Thomas, Sven Andrighetto, Connor Crisp, Charles Hudon, Jarred Tinordi and Brett Lernout will also be plying their trade on home ice.

For their part, Crisp, Hudon and Lernout will be playing their first preseason game of the year. Needless to stay, trying to stop superstar Alex Ovechkin should prove to be a tough task.

“I’m going to focus on playing my game. That’s how I went about taking on a player like Sidney Crosby. I need to keep playing my style of game and play like I know I can. I’ve gone up against top players during my career, like at the World Junior Hockey Championship when I played against [Nail] Yakupov. I was responsible for keeping him off the scoresheet. I just need to keep everything I’ve done well in the past in mind and put it to good use,” shared Hudon, who was the Hamilton Bulldogs’ second-leading point-getter in 2014-15 with 57 points in 75 games. “I’m excited to get out there. I feel like I’m gaining confidence with every practice and with every game I play. This game will be good for me.”

- Skating on a line with Brian Flynn and Sven Andrighetto, Hudon has been looking forward to making his preseason debut after putting in plenty of work over the summer in order to secure a roster spot with the Canadiens come early October. The fact that he’ll be able to count on the presence of Andrighetto alongside him could prove very beneficial on Thursday night.

“Playing with Sven will make things easier. We played together since the start of last season in Hamilton. We know each other well, so much so that we really don’t have to talk on the ice,” explained Hudon, who was a fifth-round selection of the Canadiens back in 2012. “When we say something, it’s like we understand each other right away.”

- After Carey Price and Zachary Fucale shared the goaltending duties on Tuesday night against the Maple Leafs, Dustin Tokarski and Mike Condon will get the call between the pipes against Washington. They’ll be trying to deny the likes of Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, John Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov, all of whom are making the trip to Montreal.

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

Forward lines and D pairings at the morning skate:



POSTED ON Wednesday, 09.23.2015 / 11:58 AM ET

- After playing their first preseason game Tuesday night, the Canadiens resumed training camp workouts on Wednesday morning at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard.

- For today’s practice players were split into two teams. The first of which is made up of Canadiens regulars and veterans plus Charles Hudon, Sven Andrighetto, Michael McCarron, and the second group consists primarily of rookies and youngsters.

- Coach Therrien announced that J.J. Daigneault will be running the powerplay this season, while Dan Lacroix will take over penalty killing duties

- Canadiens are still waiting for their turn to try out the new three-on-three format as their first experience was postponed due to a late penalty at the end of the 3rd period of Tuesday night’s game against the Leafs.

- The Canadiens will continue their pre-season schedule on Thursday night at the Bell Centre against the Washington Captials. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.

- Here are the line combinations used by Michel Therrien at practice:

Lars EllerAlex GalchenyukAlexander Semin

Brendan GallagherTomas PlekanecBrian Flynn

Tomas Fleischmann – David DesharnaisDale Weise

Jacob de la RoseTorrey Mitchell - Zack Kassian

Sven AndrighettoMichael McCarronDevante Smith-Pelly

Jeff Petry - Alexei Emelin

Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban

Tom Gilbert - Nathan Beaulieu

Mark BarberioGreg PaterynJarred Tinordi

POSTED ON Tuesday, 09.22.2015 / 1:28 PM ET

- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex on Tuesday morning in preparation for their first preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre.

- Prior to the start of practice, Max Pacioretty (Knee), Noah Juulsen (Concussion) and Markus Eisenschmid (Abdomen) hit the ice to work out with strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard and athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine.

- P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov skated with the rest of Michel Therrien’s troops on Tuesday morning, but the pair will not be in the lineup against Toronto. Meanwhile, the Canadiens’ bench boss confirmed that Carey Price and Zachary Fucale will split the goaltending duties in the preseason opener.

- Defenseman Mark Barberio is eagerly anticipating Tuesday night’s matchup on home turf – and with good reason. Barberio, a Montreal native, signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Canadiens back on July 1st. Now, he’s battling for a spot on the blue line with his hometown team.

“It’s definitely special. I’m wearing the right colors now,” cracked Barberio, who’d spent the last two-plus seasons plying his trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the squad that drafted him 152nd overall back in 2008. “I definitely have to jump on opportunities like these. Everyone is here to make the team, but for me it’s extra special with this being the team I grew up watching. It doesn’t change anything for me, though. I have to play my game, make simple plays, and try to win the game [against Toronto].”

It will mark the sixth time that Barberio laces up his skates at the Bell Centre, and he’ll likely have plenty of support in the stands to mark the occasion.

“My entire family is happy [about me playing for the Canadiens]. They were at the Bell Centre on Sunday for the Red vs. White game. They enjoyed it, but I think they’ll find this to be even more exciting,” shared Barberio, who has amassed six goals, 17 points and 44 penalty minutes in 103 career NHL games. “It’s always special to play at the Bell Centre, even if you’re on the opposing team, but it’s even more special when you’re wearing the Canadiens colors.”

- Like Barberio, Zack Kassian is looking forward to suiting up against the Maple Leafs and showcasing the physical brand of hockey he’s come to be known for since making his NHL debut with the Buffalo Sabres in 2011-12.

“I’m excited. It’s been a long summer, and it’ll be nice to finally get out there and compete against some other teams,” offered Kassian, who was acquired by the Canadiens from the Vancouver Canucks on July 1st in exchange for Brandon Prust. “I think in training camp, especially as a new guy, you don’t want to be running around. There’s a lot of time for that. I think exhibition games are really where you have to ramp up your intensity. That’s really where you have to display your skills. I’m looking forward to that.”

- Regardless of the score at the end of regulation time, the Canadiens and Maple Leafs will play a five-minute, sudden-death, 3-on-3 overtime period. This is being done in order to ensure that players, coaches and officials have at least a minimum of exposure to the new overtime format before the beginning of the regular season.

While the 3-on-3 OT format was the norm in the AHL during the 2014-15 campaign, it’s something new in the NHL ranks and it has peaked the curiosity of everyone involved.

“Every time the NHL makes a change, it’s with the idea of making the game more interesting for the fans,” stressed Therrien, who will have three preseason games within which to fine-tune his new overtime strategies before the regular season gets underway. “I spoke to a few players about it and they’re excited about the format. We watched clips from the games on Monday, and I think it’s really exciting and the play is really wide open.”

Therrien knows full well that being effective in 3-on-3 situations requires that teams exhibit a few key characteristics.

“It takes speed and puck possession. There are good teams in the NHL, and it will be interesting to see the way they go about things in overtime,” offered Therrien, who also addressed the NHL’s decision to implement new video review practices in 2015-16. “We have to be aware of it. We’ll definitely be paying attention to it. We’re ready. I’m looking forward to seeing how everything is going to play out. I hope I don’t have to use it, but you still have to consider the option.”

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

Projected forward lines and D pairings vs. Toronto:

Andrighetto – Plekanec – Gallagher
De La Rose – Mitchell – Kassian
Carr – Dumont – Smith-Pelly
Bozon – McCarron – Thomas

Emelin – Petry
Tinordi – Pateryn
Barberio – Dietz