BROSSARD - After a quick and fruitful trip to Boston, the Canadiens were back at practice on Friday in preparation for their pair of matinee games this weekend.
The Habs got some bad news as Marc-Andre Bergeron is expected to miss the next two games, with the defenseman scheduled to meet with doctors over the weekend. Also absent from practice were Tomas Plekanec
, Sergei Kostitsyn and Benoit Pouliot who all had therapy days.
Practice was upbeat on the heels on the team's two wins this week and one player who had plenty to smile about was Mathieu Darche
, who is coming off another strong game.
"Just because I'm playing with really good players doesn't mean I should change my style," said Darche after having recently formed a line with Scott Gomez
and Brian Gionta
While he was with the Lightning, Darche did after all spend some time on a line with Vincent Lecavalier. The sandpaper Darche brings to the rink hasn’t gone unnoticed by his head coach, either.
“He’s doing a really job for us and we’re encouraging him to keep it up,” said Jacques Martin of the 33-year-old journeyman. “Whether he gets one shift or 15 shifts in a game his attitude will never change on the bench and he’ll always be there for his teammates. He also has a really strong understanding of the game.”
No slouch in his own right against the Bruins on Thursday was Darche’s linemate Gionta who notched the deciding goal in the shootout on a nifty backhand.
“I’ve got those moves hidden up my sleeve. You have to be more creative these days because goalies are getting better and better. They practice shootouts a lot more now, too,” admitted Gionta, who has scored his share of highlight reel goals for the Habs already this season.
Speaking of goalies, Josh Gorges
– like every other Hab sitting around the room – was giving some major props to Jaroslav Halak for his stellar night’s work.
“We’ve all seen how good Jaro is when he’s on his game. I think he’s definitely proven that over his last couple of starts,” offered Gorges, who saw his 24-year-old netminder stymie 45 shots before shutting out all three Boston shootout attempts. “It’s a lot easier as a defenseman to not have to worry about that first shot and just focus on clearing away the rebounds and getting the puck out of the zone.”Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Manny Almela and Shauna Denis.See alsoHalak the HeroThe Streak is on!Canadiens’ Annual Blood DriveGame-used equipment sale