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

|
|
|
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

|
|
|
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 

|
|
|
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

|
|
|
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

|
|
|
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

|
|
|
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.

|
|
|
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.

|
|
|
POSTED ON Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 2:19 PM ET

- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg on Thursday morning ahead of their tilt against the Winnipeg Jets.

- Fifteen players took part in the on-ice session, in addition to both goaltenders. Missing were Lars Eller, P.K. Subban, Dale Weise, David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec, Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and Jeff Petry. All of them, however, should be in the lineup, as head coach Michel Therrien confirmed at Wednesday’s practice that there would be no lineup changes aside from Dustin Tokarski getting the start in goal.

- In Tokarski’s case, Thursday night’s outing will mark his 15th start of the season.

“It’s a great opportunity for him to play in Winnipeg. It will be special,” offered Therrien. “We want to play well in front of Ticker. We believe in him and the guys want to be good teammates.”

Following the morning skate, the Canadiens made that perfectly clear, adamant that they were committed to helping the Watson, SK native leave Winnipeg with his seventh victory of the season.

“It’s special for him to be so close to his family. He’ll have a lot of friends in the stands cheering for him. It’s a classy move on the part of the coaching staff to give him the start,” explained assistant captain Max Pacioretty. “The last time we played in front of him, we had success and I’m hoping it will be the same story tonight.”

Tokarski’s last start came back on March 17 in Sunrise when the Canadiens bested the Florida Panthers by a score of 3-2. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 41 of 43 shots against, including 21 shots in the third period alone.

- For their part, Paul Maurice’s contingent will welcome Dustin Byfuglien back to the lineup after missing the last nine games with an upper-body injury. The gritty rearguard boasts 15 goals and 42 points in 65 games during the 2014-15 campaign. He’s also chipped in with a team-leading 195 hits and 118 penalty minutes.

- Entering Thursday night’s contest, the Jets find themselves clinging to the second wild card spot in the Western Conference with 88 points, two points up on the Los Angeles Kings. With eight games remaining on their regular season schedule, Winnipeg will be doing everything conceivably possible to rack up points in order to secure their first postseason berth since the franchise returned to the Manitoban capital for the 2011-12 season.

“We know they like to play in this building. They come out with a lot of speed and a lot of intensity. They’re hungry for points right now. They’re in a pretty important playoff race. We know it’s not going to be easy. They’re going to play physical and they’re going to make it tough,” offered Brendan Gallagher, referencing the Jets’ impressive 20-11-5 record in the friendly confines of their own building. “For us, we just need to focus on the same things that we always do to have success and not worry about them too much. We need to focus on what we need to do to come away with two points.”

In this case, that means showing up with the same type of effort they displayed on Tuesday night in Nashville, when they dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to one of the top teams in the Western Conference. Despite picking up just a single point, the Canadiens put up a good fight against Peter Laviolette’s squad at Bridgestone Arena. Simply put, they’ll have to do it again to collect that extra point this time around.

“We know that they’ve certainly got a lot of motivation,” mentioned Gallagher, who has two goals and four points in six career games against the Jets. “As of late, we’ve definitely upped our intensity level to match the desperation of teams we’re facing. We’re focusing on what we need to do to be playing our best hockey going into playoffs. We have enough motivation. We know the Jets are playing the same way.”

- Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and Sportsnet East.

SEE ALSO
Words From The Room - March 26
Game Preview: Canadiens @ Jets
This is the one
Getting in gear

|
|
|
POSTED ON Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 11:53 AM ET

* If the Canadiens defeat the Jets in regulation or overtime, they would clinch a playoff berth if the Ducks defeat the Bruins in any fashion OR if the Bruins defeat the Ducks in a shootout.

* If the Canadiens defeat the Jets in a shootout, they would clinch a playoff berth if the Ducks defeat the Bruins in any fashion.

* If the Canadiens get one point against the Jets (overtime or shootout loss), they would clinch a playoff berth if the Ducks defeat the Bruins in regulation.

* The Canadiens cannot clinch a playoff berth if they lose to the Jets in regulation.

- NHL

SEE ALSO
Game Preview: Canadiens @ Jets
This is the one

Getting in gear

Thriving on change

|
|
|