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Preaching patience up front, going strong to the net

Claude Julien isn't switching things up on offence heading into Tuesday night's matchup against Chicago

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

BROSSARD - The Canadiens lit the lamp just three times during their season-opening three-game road trip, but head coach Claude Julien is staying patient with his lines up front.

During Tuesday's morning skate at the Bell Sports Complex, the veteran bench boss didn't make any significant changes to his forward lines heading into the home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Instead, Julien elected to keep things intact and put the onus on his players to find a way to get the offence going in front of the Bell Centre faithful.

"I don't think the lines themselves are responsible for keeping us from scoring. It's more about the way we're playing," insisted Julien. "We have to find a way to get to the inside. Right now, we're on the outside. We need to take pucks to the net. Those are things we can change. We scored nine goals against Ottawa with those lines. I had time to study our games so far and that's what I concluded. We can do better work taking the puck to the net."

Video: Claude Julien's pregame press conference

Centerman Jonathan Drouin is certainly in agreement there following back-to-back defeats in Washington and Manhattan over the weekend.

"We've had good chances, but we have to finish around the net. We have to be more engaged and have a bigger presence there," stressed Drouin, who will be featured between captain Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher again on Tuesday night. "I think we still have more to give."

Video: Jonathan Drouin on the home opener at the Bell Centre

No doubt the 22-year-old young gun's adrenaline will be pumping extra hard in his first home opener in a Canadiens uniform.

"I've thought about it, what it will be like. It will be really special. I have a lot of friends and family coming to the game tonight. It will be cool for them, too, but it will be extra special for me to hear Michel Lacroix announce my name to the crowd," mentioned Drouin. "I've already seen plenty of player introductions on TV when I was younger. Being a part of it now is really cool."

Likewise, Charles Hudon has been eagerly anticipating the opportunity to participate in the pregame festivities ahead of the first game of the year on home turf.

"I'm pretty nervous thinking about tonight. It's a big thing. I've always said that I want to be a part of this team. The season has already started, but this is at home," said the 23-year-old left-winger. "Family and friends will all be there, so it's something special."

Video: Charles Hudon on his first home opener in Montreal

The Blackhawks, meanwhile, enter the contest coming off a 4-3 overtime loss at the hands of the Maple Leafs on Monday night in Toronto.

Joel Quenneville's club will be out to play spoiler as Canadiens fans are given the chance to cheer on their team for the first time during the regular season.

"They're a good team. You can't take them lightly," stressed Drouin. "They played a good game [in Toronto]. They have key players that you have to pay attention to all game long. If you don't, they'll make you pay."

REMINDER: Canadiens fans are invited to attend a special pre-game player salute in Place des Canadiens outside the Bell Centre. Youppi! will be present to entertain the crowd beginning at 3:45 p.m.Then, for the first time prior to a home opener, Habs players will greet the crowd between 4:00 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.

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