Game Day - Stars - Jan. 2

Thursday, 02.01.2014 / 2:07 PM

- After a day off on Wednesday in Dallas, the Canadiens skated at the American Airlines Center on Thursday morning ahead of their tilt against the Stars.

- Thursday night’s game marks the second and final meeting between the Canadiens and Stars during the 2013-14 regular season campaign. The Habs won the first meeting 2-1 in Montreal on Oct. 29. This will be the Canadiens’ first visit to Dallas since Dec. 21, 2010.

- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Alexei Emelin will be a healthy scratch on Thursday night against the Stars. Douglas Murray, who missed the last three games as a healthy scratch himself, will take Emelin’s place in the lineup, and will likely play alongside Raphael Diaz.

“In Emelin’s case, both myself and Jean-Jacques [Daigneault] sat down with him and had a good discussion. He’s a guy that's trying to find himself right now. It’s our responsibility to bring him back to a level that he’s capable of playing at like last season. Often, after a major injury and missing some serious time, returning to full status can be difficult for certain players,” offered Therrien on the subject of the Russian rearguard, who spent the summer recovering from major knee surgery.

“We’re going to work with him on his conditioning, his execution, his skating, and the way that he reads the play. There are a lot of areas that need to be dealt with,” added the Habs bench boss, who will also sit Daniel Briere against the Stars in favor of Michael Bournival for the second straight game. “But, we have a lot of confidence in Emelin. It’s part of our responsibilities as coaches to gradually work on both his game and his confidence level.”

- The Canadiens will go up against a familiar face on Thursday night in Stars forward Erik Cole, who played 101 regular season games in bleu-blanc-rouge before being dealt to Dallas last year.

One player who enjoyed tremendous success alongside the power forward was Max Pacioretty, who scored a career-high 33 goals and 65 points while paired with Cole and David Desharnais during the 2011-12 campaign.

The newly minted Olympian is looking forward to matching up against his old teammate, who has been on a tear as of late with five goals in his last six games.

“I saw Colesy last night, and he told us that he had some injury trouble at the beginning of the year, but you know what type of player he is. He’s an honest, hard worker. We knew that he was going to break out like he is right now eventually,” confided Pacioretty. “He’s one of the hottest players in the league right now, so it will be fun matching up against him. Obviously, we know that he’s got size and speed, so we’ve got to take that away from him and hopefully we can do that.”

- Alex Galchenyuk might not have been selected to join Team USA in Sochi, but the NHL sophomore isn’t losing any sleep over it after hearing the news on Wednesday afternoon.

“It wasn’t hard to swallow in the first place. I’m 19 years old. Obviously, I was disappointed, but it’s not like I’m killing myself over it. What happened, happened, and I’m going to keep looking forward,” mentioned Galchenyuk, who has 10 goals and 23 points on the year.

- George Parros was the lone player that did not take part in the morning skate. The Canadiens confirmed that he left Dallas on Thursday morning to see a specialist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

- Carey Price could make his 33rd start of the season of Thursday night. Price has a 3-3-0 record and a 2.84 goals-against average in six games against the Stars over the course of his career.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EST.

Lines and D pairings at practice:

Gionta – Plekanec – Bourque

Galchenyuk – Eller – Prust

Moen – White – Bournival

Pacioretty – Desharnais – Gallagher

Briere

Diaz – Murray

Gorges – Markov

Subban – Bouillon

Emelin

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