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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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POSTED ON Thursday, 01.05.2014 / 1:28 PM

- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the TD Garden in Boston on Thursday morning ahead of contesting    Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Bruins.

- All players were present and accounted for at practice on Thursday morning, except for Max Pacioretty.

- The Canadiens did not feature any lines at practice. Head coach Michel Therrien indicated that he would not reveal his lineup prior to the start of Game 1. He also said that Travis Moen would be available for the game, if needed. Moen has been sidelined since sustaining a concussion on Mar. 24 against the Bruins.

- Boasting the most playoff experience on the Canadiens roster, Daniel Briere knows a thing or two about the upswing in physicality during the playoffs. The 36-year-old forward experienced that type of hockey as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.

“I’ve had the chance to play some intense playoff hockey in my life. Philadelphia-Boston, Philadelphia-Pittsburgh. We all saw how things got out of hand a few years back,” mentioned Briere, who recalled the 2012 playoffs that featured a Flyers-Penguins matchup in which both clubs combined to rack up 309 penalty minutes during the series. “We’ll see what happens, but I’m comfortable in those types of series, too. I’ve been involved in series that have a similar type of feeling as this one. You never know how things are going to go. We’re ready for everything. That’s the beauty of hockey. You never know what to expect. ”

Briere, who has gone up against the Bruins 50 times during the regular season over the course of his NHL career, has a healthy respect for the Canadiens’ opponent in the second round. He insists the matchup is a special one.

“We feel good. We feel confident. We know that the Bruins are a great hockey team, but sometimes there are matchups that are more comfortable than others. We think that this might be one of them,” concluded Briere.

- It’s no secret what brand of hockey the Bruins intend to play against the Canadiens come puck drop on Thursday night in Boston. Simply put, Claude Julien’s troops are who they are, and they likely won’t deviate from an aggressive and hard-hitting style of play that enabled them to capture the Presidents’ Trophy this season before downing the Red Wings in five games in the opening round of the 2014 playoffs.

That being said, the Canadiens are coming off an impressive sweep of the Lightning in Round 1, and they don’t intend on deviating from what has brought them success thus far during the playoffs.

RAW: Josh Gorges

“We need to focus on what makes our team good no matter who we’re playing. We can’t try to play Boston Bruins hockey. We have to focus on what we do and how we make ourselves successful,” offered defenseman Josh Gorges, who will battle the Bruins in a playoff series for the third time in his NHL career beginning on Thursday night. “We’ve got to have guys that are in their face, that are willing to go to the net, live in the paint and not bump the goalie. You can’t be taking penalties. You can’t be taking retaliations if they give you an extra shot.”

In the midst of his third career playoff run – and second as a member of the Canadiens – Rene Bourque stressed a similar approach, noting the importance of maintaining self-discipline against a Bruins squad that boasts the top-ranked power play in the NHL this postseason.

“It’s playoffs. I think that penalties are just that much bigger when you take them and they can hurt you that much more,” offered Bourque, who sits tied with Brendan Gallagher for top spot on the team with three goals through four games during the playoffs. “There are guys on both sides that are agitators. Everybody knows who they are. We’ve just got to play smart.”

- Head coach Michel Therrien knows the Bruins and bench boss Claude Julien well. Interestingly enough, Julien was behind the bench in Hamilton during Therrien’s first coaching stint with the Canadiens. Needless to say, Therrien knows what the Bruins are capable of.

“We’re playing against the best team. Underdog or not, the Boston Bruins are the best team in the league right now. We understand that it’s a huge challenge not only for us, but for all of the teams that play them,” offered Therrien, who has prepared his team for Thursday night’s tilt over the last 10 days. “They finished in first place and it was well-deserved. We’re confident, though. I like the way that we finished the year. That gave us the confidence we needed coming into the playoffs. We had a really good first round. The way that we played in the first round gave us confidence for the next step.”

SEE ALSO
Words From The Room - May 1
Game 1 preview: MTL vs. BOS
Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Bruins #1

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 30.04.2014 / 1:07 PM
BROSSARD – On Wednesday morning, the Canadiens held a practice at the Bell Sports Complex. It was their final practice in Montreal before flying to Boston for Game 1 of the second round, which will be played on Thursday night.

- There was a good deal of work done on special teams, with five-on-four zone drills featuring the team’s designated powerplay and penalty kill players the focus early in the practice.

- The session was up-tempo, with plenty of quick passing drills emphasizing getting the puck from the defensemen up to the forwards and getting a rush going through the neutral zone.

- The players then took part in five-on-five zone drills, designed to simulate the intensity of a game situation.

- There were no changes to the line combinations on Tuesday. Coach Therrien will confirm the Game 1 lineup of his team on Thursday.

LINES AT PRACTICE

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

Gorges-Subban
Markov-Emelin
Bouillon-Weaver
Tinordi-Murray
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POSTED ON Monday, 28.04.2014 / 12:14 PM
BROSSARD – On Monday morning, the Canadiens held a practice at the Bell Sports Complex.

-    To mix up the team’s routine, the coaching staff have arranged to simulate a game day. On the menu: a short morning skate with all the players, an afternoon team-building activity, and a closed scrimmage at the Bell Centre involving Habs and Bulldog call-ups in the evening.

-    Assistant coach Clement Jodoin took time to go over powerplay formations with the players while assistant coach Jean-Jacques Daignault conferred with the designated penalty killers.

-    Most of the practice was dedicated to special teams work, with the powerplay units trying out new formations.

-    There are no changes in the lineup from yesterday’s session.

LINES AT PRACTICE

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

Gorges-Subban
Markov-Emelin
Bouillon-Weaver
Tinordi-Murray
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POSTED ON Sunday, 27.04.2014 / 11:38 AM

- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Sunday morning. All players were present and accounted for, minus Alex Galchenyuk who remains sidelined due to injury.

- Head coach Michel Therrien tweaked his forward lines slightly on Sunday. Travis Moen skated on a line with Daniel Briere and Dale Weise, while Michael Bournival lined up alongside George Parros and Ryan White. The defensive pairings, however, remained the same as in previous practices.

Lines and pairings at practice:

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

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

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POSTED ON Saturday, 26.04.2014 / 11:53 AM
BROSSARD – On Saturday morning, the Canadiens held a practice at the Bell Sports Complex.

-    All players, except the injured Alex Galchenyuk, were on the ice Saturday morning.

-    The players kicked off practice with some breakout drills, testing their timing and quick-reaction passing.

-    The team then progressed to full-ice three-on-two rush drills and a short skate designed to build conditioning.


LINES AT PRACTICE

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

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


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POSTED ON Friday, 25.04.2014 / 11:43 AM
BROSSARD – On Friday morning, the Canadiens held a practice at the Bell Sports Complex, their first since completing a series sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.

- The players kicked off practice with some four-men transition drills, allowing both Carey Price and Peter Budaj to see plenty of shot after two days of rest.

- Travis Moen skated alongside Ryan White and George Parros wearing a blue full contact jersey.

- The transition from rest to full practice tempo was easy for Max Pacioretty and Thomas Vanek, who passed the puck crisply and picked corners nearly at will during a three-on-one rush drill.

- A rarity this season, the team followed up their usual passing and skating drills with a four-on-four scrimmage. A variety of forward combinations were used, with regular linemates split up and skating alongside players they usually would not have a chance to play with.

- After practice, Michel Therrien indicated that forward Alex Galchenyuk has yet to skate after suffering a lower-body injury in the final week of the regular season. Therrien hopes that Galchenyuk will be back in time to take part in the second round of the playoffs, but offered no timetable for the youngster's return.

LINES AT PRACTICE

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

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