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POSTED ON Monday, 12.05.2014 / 12:22 PM

- The Canadiens held an optional morning skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday in preparation for Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Bruins at the Bell Centre.

- All players were present and accounted for at practice, expect for Carey Price. Bulldogs netminder Dustin Tokarski assumed Price’s spot opposite Peter Budaj.

- Alex Galchenyuk skated prior to the start of practice alongside Canadiens strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard.

- In his post-practice press conference on Monday morning, head coach Michel Therrien didn’t indicate whether or not he’d make any lineup changes heading into Game 6 against the Bruins. As per usual, the Canadiens bench boss kept that information close to the vest, stressing the fact that he felt no pressure whatsoever to tinker with a lineup that has responded well to adversity all season long, regardless of which players ultimately took to the ice come game time.

That being said, Therrien insists matching up against the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners in a do-or-die scenario offers up a fascinating test for coaches and players alike.

RAW: Michel Therrien

“I see it rather as a good challenge. We all understand the importance of tonight’s game. The fact that we’re playing Game 6 at home against one of the league’s powerhouse teams presents an interesting challenge for this group,” offered Therrien, who last coached in a  Game 6 situation during the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals when he was behind the bench in Pittsburgh.

“That’s what I sense from my players, too,” added Therrien, whose Penguins squad ultimately lost that particular game by a 3-2 margin as the Red Wings hoisted the Stanley Cup at Mellon Arena in Western Pennsylvania. “We’re looking forward to tonight’s game. We have to have the right attitude heading into a game like this. After speaking with the guys yesterday and today, I sense that they’re right there.”

- Many players inside the Canadiens locker room aren’t strangers to the situation they find themselves in with Game 6 just hours away. Back in 2011, Tomas Plekanec was part of a squad that staved off elimination at the hands of the Bruins down 3-2 in the series with a must-win Game 6 at the Bell Centre.

With memories of the Canadiens’ 2-1 victory on that night in mind, the veteran centerman believes there’s a clear cut way to come out on top in these types of situations.

“There’s no secret but to have a good game. We have to go right at them from the start. We’ve got to play our game and use our speed,” underlined Plekanec, who has three goals and seven points in nine postseason games in 2014. “It was really close the last time that we played against them in the playoffs. We lost in overtime in Game 7 and we were right there. We just need to focus on tonight’s game. We can’t start thinking about Game 7 now. We have to focus on having a good start tonight and we’ll go from there.”

- Like Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher will draw on past experience when he takes to the ice against the Bruins on Monday night to contest the first Game 6 of his NHL career.

“I think back to similar experiences I’ve had back in Junior. I’ve been in the exact same situation where we’ve been down 3-2 and came back and won a series. It’s certainly not impossible,” offered the 22-year-old right-winger, who sits tied for the team lead with Rene Bourque and P.K. Subban with four goals this postseason. “It’s certainly a tough task as well, but at the same time you’re not worrying about two games, you’re worrying about one game. If you take care of one game, the whole situation is different. But, you’ve got to show up and make sure you play your best game tonight.

“We need to come out and we need to be the hungrier team,” added Gallagher. “We need to be desperate, but at the same time we need to focus in on all the little details that got us to this point.”

SEE ALSO
Words From The Room - May 12
Game 6 preview: MTL vs. BOS
Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Bruins #6
Challenge accepted

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POSTED ON Sunday, 11.05.2014 / 1:07 PM

- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Sunday afternoon in preparation for Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Bruins on Monday night at the Bell Centre.

- Alex Galchenyuk took to the ice prior to the start of practice, with his workout consisting primarily of skating, mobility and puck handling drills.

- Thirteen players hit the ice on Sunday afternoon under the watchful eyes of assistant coach Gerard Gallant and goaltending coach Stephane Waite, including forwards Daniel Briere, Travis Moen, Ryan White, Brandon Prust, Michael Bournival and George Parros. Defensemen Douglas Murray, Nathan Beaulieu, Mike Weaver, Francis Bouillon and Jarred Tinordi were also on the ice, as were goaltenders Carey Price and Peter Budaj.

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POSTED ON Saturday, 10.05.2014 / 11:10 AM
BOSTON – The Canadiens practiced at TD Garden in Boston on Saturday morning ahead of Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Bruins.

Rene Bourque did not participate in the morning skate, instead opting to take advantage of a therapy day. All other players were on the ice.

With 18 different players factoring in on the scoresheet through eight games in the postseason, secondary scoring has proven to be a key to the Canadiens’ success so far this spring. While scoring by committee has led the Habs to the second round, Max Pacioretty knows that to go deeper in the playoffs, he’ll need to rediscover the scoring touch that saw him finish the regular season one goal shy of becoming a 40-goal man for the first time in his career.

“I’ve got to be relied upon to score important goals. I haven’t done that yet. I just have to keep fighting the way I have been and maybe just calm down a bit,” shared the 25-year-old sniper, who scored the series-clinching goal against Tampa in the first round. “But we’ve only played eight games and it’s only been four games since I last scored. I feel that I’ve been contributing in other ways. Obviously I know that I can do better to score goals, and hopefully I can do that from here on out. It’s a best of 3 series now, and I just have to worry about what I can control and try to help the team win.”
RAW: Max Pacioretty

After sweeping the Lightning in the first round before going up 1-0 and 2-1 against the Bruins at various points in Round 2, the Canadiens have spent the majority of the 2014 Playoffs sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat. With the opportunity to head back to Montreal either up 3-2 or facing elimination for the first time this postseason, Brendan Gallagher recognizes the importance of putting in a solid performance in Game 5.

“Each game there’s been such a slim margin of error and it’s the little mistakes or bounces that have been the difference,” explained Gallagher, who has six points in eight playoff games in 2014. “Obviously this is a big game when it’s tied 2-2. It’s Game 5 on the road so you want to make sure you come out and give yourself a great chance to win the game. We know they’re going to be fired up playing in front of their home crowd, but for us it doesn’t change anything. We need to come in and play good road hockey and really minimize our mistakes.”

Having trailed their opponents for less than 10 minutes in the entire second round, the Canadiens haven’t had to play much come-from-behind hockey against the Bruins, but that isn’t inspiring the Habs to head into Game 5 overconfident. With two of the four games coming down to overtime and the other two decided by a slim two-goal margin, veteran defenseman Josh Gorges knows the series might be different had a few bounces gone the other way.

“I think both teams have played well all four games. It’s been close. We’ve had the lead, but I think in some of those games Carey [Price] really held us in there and it could’ve been a different story,” admitted Gorges, who has played just over 14 shorthanded minutes so far in the playoffs. “We want to have the lead and we want to play with the lead, but what’s happened up until now doesn’t matter anymore. Today is a new day.”

Puck drop for Game 5 is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EDT at TD Garden in Boston. The Habs will return home for Game 6 in Montreal at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Monday night.

SEE ALSO:
Game 5 preview: MTL vs. BOS
Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Bruins #5
RAW: Words from the Room
Game Four Highlights

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POSTED ON Friday, 09.05.2014 / 11:58 AM

BROSSARD – On Friday morning, a few Canadiens players took part in a morning practice at the Bell Sports Complex.

- With the team flying to Boston later in the afternoon, the players who took part in Game Four on Thursday night did not skate. On the ice were Brandon Prust, Ryan White, George Parros, Nathan Beaulieu, Jarred Tinordi and Francis Bouillon. Peter Budaj and Dustin Tokarski were the goaltenders present.

- The players worked on passing and shooting drills for roughly one hour under the supervision of assistant coach Clement Jodoin before heading off.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 08.05.2014 / 1:14 PM

- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday morning ahead of contesting Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Bruins at the Bell Centre. Assistant coaches Clement Jodoin, Gerard Gallant and J.J. Daigneault led the skate along with goaltending coach Stephane Waite.

- Twenty players took part in the practice session on Thursday, including forwards Daniel Briere, David Desharnais, Ryan White, Travis Moen, Michael Bournival, Rene Bourque, Brandon Prust, Thomas Vanek, George Parros and Ryan White. Defensemen Alexei Emelin, Andrei Markov, Josh Gorges, Francis Bouillon, Jarred Tinordi, Douglas Murray and Mike Weaver were also on the ice, as was goaltender Peter Budaj.

- Hamilton Bulldogs defenseman Nathan Beaulieu participated in the morning skate, as did goaltender Dustin Tokarski.

- If the physicality meter tipped slightly in the Canadiens’ favor in Game 3, Michel Therrien’s troops fully expect the Bruins to come out swinging on Thursday night in an effort to tie the series at two games apiece.

RAW: Travis Moen

“Upping our physicality was an important part of our game plan. It was our objective,” stressed Travis Moen, who played his second game in the series on Tuesday night. “I expect the Bruins to come out with the same intensity they always play with. They’re big and strong, and they put a lot of pucks on net. That’s the way they’ve always done things. We have to play 60 minutes if we want to win and we have to get off to a good start just like we have the last few games.”

For defenseman Josh Gorges, who saw fellow rearguards Alexei Emelin and Douglas Murray combine for 12 hits in Game 3, the series is becoming increasingly heated as it rolls on.

“I know they’ll want to open things up physically. Each game is a little more physical and a little more difficult than the last. We don’t expect anything different in Game 4,” offered Gorges, who was the Canadiens’ second-most utilized player on Tuesday night behind P.K. Subban. “Game 4 is big for both teams. We expect them to come out hard.”

- Head coach Michel Therrien mixed things up in Game 3, slotting Brendan Gallagher on a line with David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty early in the opening frame in place of Thomas Vanek, who lined up alongside Tomas Plekanec and Michael Bournival on Tuesday night.

A workhorse in every sense of the word, Gallagher brings a new dimension to the Canadiens’ top line, one that demands that both Desharnais and Pacioretty make changes in their respective games as well.

“We have to work a little more with Brendan. He goes into the corners, so we have to support him some more,” offered Desharnais, who has one goal and three points in seven postseason tilts. “With Vanek, we’re more likely to focus on playmaking, but with Gally it’s more about keeping things simple. We’re making plays going to the net. It’s up to us to work harder with him.”

A fan of Gallagher’s grit at both ends of the rink, Desharnais insists both he and Pacioretty are up to the challenge of making the necessary modifications to ensure the line clicks against the Bruins come the start of Game 4.

“We have to support him in the corners. He works exceptionally hard,” explained Desharnais, who boasts one goal and five points in 17 career playoff games. “With Vanek, it’s about moving the puck and making small plays. With Brendan, it’s all about battling.”

- Alexei Emelin has been a thorn in the Bruins’ side in the first half of the series, dishing out 15 hits through three games. A force to be reckoned with in the physicality department, Emelin has steadily earned a great deal of respect from head coach Michel Therrien, who believes the three-year NHL veteran has been an impact player in his first postseason experience.

“He’s a very physical defenseman who plays with a lot of courage. He doesn’t pay attention to anyone he goes up against in the corners. He’s a player who brings a good physical presence on the back end. He’s been doing exceptional work,” praised Therrien, referencing the fact that Emelin currently sits tied for first on the team with 25 hits and leads the Canadiens with 27 blocked shots during the postseason.

“He’s someone who’s becoming increasingly comfortable with his teammates and coaches. That helps. It’s a completely normal process,” added Therrien. “I really like the way he’s been expressing himself on the ice.”

For his part, Emelin has thoroughly enjoyed taking part in a series against the archrival Bruins, one that has afforded him the opportunity to take on a player with whom he shares some rather poignant history in Milan Lucic.

“I don’t just play hard against Lucic. I play against every team and every player the same way,” confided Emelin, who, like the rest of his teammates expects the Bruins to try to set the tempo early on Thursday night. “We expect that, but I keep my focus on the game. I like the competition that comes with playing against the Bruins.”

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

SEE ALSO
Words From The Room - May 8
Game 4 preview: MTL vs. BOS
Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Bruins #4

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 07.05.2014 / 1:27 PM

- The Canadiens held an optional practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Wednesday afternoon in preparation for Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Bruins on Thursday night at the Bell Centre.

- Eighteen players took part in the practice session, including forwards Brendan Gallagher, Brandon Prust, Lars Eller, Dale Weise, Michael Bournival, Brian Gionta, David Desharnais, Travis Moen, George Parros, Max Pacioretty and Ryan White. Defensemen Francis Bouillon, Jarred Tinordi, P.K. Subban, Douglas Murray and Mike Weaver were also on the ice as were goaltenders Carey Price and Peter Budaj.

- The Bruins also practiced in Brossard on Wednesday. They skated on the secondary ice rink.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 06.05.2014 / 12:56 PM

BROSSARD – On Tuesday morning, the Canadiens held an optional morning skate at the Bell Sports Complex, hours before Game 3 against the Bruins

- Carey Price took the option and did not skate. Dustin Tokarski and Peter Budaj were in net at practice.

- Rene Bourque, who missed Monday’s practice with the flu, was back on the ice.

- Eight forwards were on the ice: Brandon Prust, Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher, Rene Bourque, Travis Moen, Michael Bournival, Ryan White and George Parros.

- They were joined by six defensemen (Josh Gorges, Alexei Emelin, Francis Bouillon, Mike Weaver, Douglas Murray and Jarred Tinordi).

Tough love

There were no line rushes during Tuesday’s morning skate, though there are reasons to believe that Douglas Murray will make his 2014 playoff debut in Game Three, he who practiced alongside Mike Weaver on Monday. The 34 year-old veteran’s heft could prove to be a difference-maker against the Bruins.

“I take a lot of pride in playing a tough but clean game. It depends on the game, but for sure I’ll try to be as physical as possible while staying within the limits of the rules,” explained the six-foot-three, 240 pound Murray, who could find himself assigned the unenviable task of defending Zdeno Chara’s netfront presence on the powerplay. “It’s a good challenge, trying to move Chara from the front of the net. He’s the biggest guy in a league and one of the toughest to battle with.”

White tiger

Coach Michel Therrien preferred to keep his starting lineup a secret until Game Three’s opening faceoff, which means that Travis Moen and Ryan White, both scratches for Game Two in Boston, could draw back into the lineup at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night.

“I hope I’ll be in the lineup tonight. But it’s like every other day. I come to the rink ready to go. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to contribute,” said White, who was first on the ice during the morning skate and spent some time alone working on his skating and shooting. Though he hasn’t been counted on to carry the load offensively, White does bring a few noteworthy assets to the table in this rough-and-tumble series. “I just want to play my game. Be physical, be good in the faceoff circle and bring some energy.”

Front runner

With the series deadlocked at one game-all, the focus has not changed for winger Brendan Gallagher, who turned 22 on Tuesday.

“You go into every night with the same expectations. You put in the work and hope to come out with the win,” offered the birthday boy, who in just his second NHL season has already become a go-to guy for his team at even strength and on the powerplay. “We put in a good day of practice. We practiced with a purpose, based on what we expect to see from the Bruins. Now it’s about executing and putting that game plan into practice.”

As for Boston’s four-goal outburst in the third period of Game Two, Gallagher was adamant that getting a lead in the first place is the Habs’ main priority.

“I don’t think that affects our confidence at all. We’ve been a good third period team all year. As a group when we settle in and get the lead early, it helps our game,” he said. “I don’t think momentum carries over from game to game at this stage. It can change simply change by winning the opening faceoff. We’re at home and playing in front of our crowd, so that’ll be a boost for us as well.”

- Canadiens.com

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POSTED ON Monday, 05.05.2014 / 12:57 PM

- After a day off on Sunday, the Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex on Monday morning in preparation for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Bruins on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.

- All players were present and accounted for at practice, except for Rene Bourque who was absent with the flu.

- In his post-practice press conference, head coach Michel Therrien indicated that he would not discuss any lineup changes for Game 3 prior to Tuesday. At practice, Therrien featured Ryan White between Dale Weise and Travis Moen, while Douglas Murray played alongside Mike Weaver on defense.

- Alex Galchenyuk skated on his own before practice as he continues to recover from a lower-body injury.

Lines and D pairings at practice:

Vanek-Desharnais-Pacioretty
Bournival-Plekanec-Gallagher
Gionta-Eller-Briere
Weise-White-Moen
Parros-Prust

Gorges-Subban
Markov-Emelin
Murray-Weaver
Tinordi-Bouillon

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POSTED ON Monday, 05.05.2014 / 12:01 PM

Once again this year, Canadiens fans are invited to vote for defenseman P.K. Subban as the cover player for EA Sports’ NHL 15 video game.

The first round of ballots will take place online between May 5 and May 18 and pits the Habs’ Norris Trophy winner against the Maple Leafs’ Phil Kessel.

Fans can cast their votes HERE. On Thursday, fans can also tweet their picks for the cover using the hashtag #NHL15Subban on Twitter. Each hashtag mention will count for two votes on Thursday only!

In 82 games this season, Subban has 10 goals and 43 assists for 53 total points. In six playoff games through May 5th, Subban leads the Habs with nine points, including two goals.

The Canadiens blueliner is an EA Sports NHL cover nominee for the third consecutive year.

Click HERE to vote for P.K.!

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POSTED ON Saturday, 03.05.2014 / 10:41 AM

- Head coach Michel Therrien met with the media on Saturday morning at TD Garden ahead of Game 2 of the Canadiens' Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Bruins.

- Therrien confirmed that forward Michael Bournival would take Travis Moen’s spot in the lineup in Game 2. Bournival was a healthy scratch in Game 1 on Thursday night in favor of Moen who returned to active duty after an extended absence due to a concussion.

“It’s been a while since Travis played, and with two games packed so close together and the double overtime in Game 1, we decided to go with Bournival. He played some good hockey in the series against the Lightning,” offered Therrien.

- Therrien also indicated that he met with defenseman P.K. Subban to gauge his reaction to the discriminatory comments that appeared on social media networks following Game 1. The Canadiens bench boss offered Subban his full support, telling members of the media that the reigning Norris Trophy winner boasts the character and mental makeup to ignore what appeared online and focus on the task at hand.

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