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And now for something new

Head coach Claude Julien introduced new lines at practice on Wednesday

by Steven Nechay @CanadiensMTL /

BROSSARD -- Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, and Alexander Radulov may eventually click, but for now, Claude Julien will try something new.

After seeing his top line combine for just one point in three games, Julien shuffled the deck at practice on Wednesday in attempt to rekindle his team's offensive spark.

"We thought those three guys together, if they had that chemistry going, would have been a dangerous line. We gave them some games, from the two against Ottawa until last night, but there comes a time when you have to make a decision for the individual, as well as for the team," explained the Canadiens head coach, who featured Danault on the team's top trio in place of Galchenyuk on Wednesday, moving Galchenyuk to the wing flanking Andrew Shaw opposite Artturi Lehkonen. "After reflecting on last night's game, as well as some of those before, it was just a matter of making the change to see if we can find a better balance in our lineup. Alex is very comfortable at both positions, so we had a good chat this morning. He's very open, and he wants to win. When you have guys with that attitude, there really are no issues."

Video: Julien on the lineup changes at practice

That story checks out with the main player involved in the midweek moves. After all, as a fifth-year NHLer, Galchenyuk understands business is business, and with nine games left until the playoffs, the time is now to run some tests. 

"Me and coach, we had a good meeting before practice, and we talked about certain things. We talked about me going back to the wing, and we're going to try to work it out," confirmed the former third overall draft pick, who remains fourth among Habs this season for points and assists. "It's not the first time, so it's nothing new for me. We had a good talk -- it was all positive -- and he decided it would be good for me to be on the wing. I'm excited to play with Shawzy and Lehky tomorrow -- I'm going to go out there and try to create something."

As to why the 23-year-old is excited to complete a line with the rookie Finn and the two-time Stanley Cup winner:

"They're both hard-working guys. They can both make plays, and are solid defensively," described Galchenyuk of his new linemates, who have a combined 24 goals between them. "They both have a good compete level, and you know what to expect from them. Now we've got to find a way to be productive for our team tomorrow."

Video: Galchenyuk on his role at the wing

The Wisconsin native's center, meanwhile, is confident that the trio has all the ingredients to be more than just 'productive'.

"[Alex] is an amazing player. He's going to use his skill and work hard. I feel like we've always played well together every time we've had the chance this year," dished Shaw, who has rotated between the forward positions throughout his career. "Lehky plays similar to me -- he likes to get in on the forecheck. So with two guys who want to work in those dirty areas, and one guy with the skills to deke opponents and make plays -- I think it's a dangerous combination."

When it comes to his own game, however, Shaw admits he still has a bit of brushing up to do before taking on his new responsibilities against Carolina on Thursday.

"It's obviously going to be different for me, but I have decent speed where I can come up underneath for support and get the puck to Chucky whenever I can," acknowledged the 25-year-old, who notably practiced his faceoffs with his fellow pivots -- Galchenyuk included -- during the morning skate. "Me and Lehky are going to go in there and work. We think it's going to be a great thing. We're very positive about it."

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