The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday morning in preparation for their preseason tilt against the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre at 7:30 p.m.
- It will mark the first preseason outing for both Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec after returning from the World Cup of Hockey. The pair will be featured on a line with Brendan Gallagher, reuniting a trio that enjoyed plenty of success in the latter stages of the 2015-16 campaign. Nathan Beaulieu and Greg Pateryn will be the veteran duo on defense, while Mike Condon and Charlie Lindgren will be the goaltenders in uniform. Condon will get the start between the pipes.
- Veteran Senators players making the trip to Montreal include Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris, Derick Brassard, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mike Hoffman. Chris Driedger will get the start in goal, while Matt O'Connor will play the second half of the game.
- For his part, Andrew Shaw had a disciplinary hearing with the league on Thursday afternoon regarding his hit on Washington Capitals defenseman Connor Hobbs in the Canadiens' most recent preseason outing on Tuesday in Montreal. He was suspended for three preseason games. Charles Hudon will take his place in the lineup against Ottawa and likely play on the third line with David Desharnais and Daniel Carr.
- Alexander Radulov did not take part in practice on Thursday. He is sidelined with the flu.
- Following the morning skate, Russian rearguards Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin took part in their first training camp practice session as members of Group B since returning from the World Cup of Hockey.
- Young gun Mikhail Sergachev will get his first opportunity to patrol the Canadiens' blue line on Thursday night after spending some time on the sidelines with an upper-body injury sustained at the 2016 Rookie Tournament in London, ON.
"I'm kind of nervous and excited. It's my first game at the Bell Centre and it's going to be awesome. I'll be concentrating on my play in the D-zone and around the net by being strong, hard and tough," shared the 18-year-old defenseman, who will be paired with Mark Barberio on the back end against the Senators. "Waiting to play my first game was hard. I couldn't wait to get back on the ice and I kept asking doctors when I could go. But, I couldn't."
Video: Sergachev on his first preseason game
Pacioretty is eager to see what the 6-foot-3 and 223-pound OHL standout can bring to the table. He firmly believes that Sergachev has a very bright future ahead of him in the organization.
"He's a big boy. You could tell right away that he knows how to bring it. I spent some time with him before I left for the World Cup and even since I came back, and he's a guy that gets it," praised Pacioretty, who has clearly been impressed by Sergachev's skills early on. "I've only seen him in practice and actually in a scrimmage in the summer, but he's a really, really good player and I'm excited to see how he looks tonight."
Like Pacioretty, Barberio insists Sergachev is already displaying a level of maturity far beyond his years personality-wise and in his play, too.
"He already talks on the ice. He isn't afraid to say - "I got him. I got him." Small things like that. Typically, young guys who come to camp are usually quieter. It's a good sign," mentioned Barberio with a smile. "He already conducts himself like a pro. Just in practice, you could see that he has a really good point shot."
- Plekanec, meanwhile, is hungry to hit the ice as well. Coming off six World Cup of Hockey appearances as captain for his native Czech Republic - including three preliminary-round and three tournament games - the 33-year-old forward is more ready than ever to get back in the swing of things with his NHL club.
"It's not a downer [to be playing preseason games after playing in games that counted at the World Cup]. In preseason games there are a lot of young guys who skate well and that are fast," shared Plekanec. "Obviously, it will be a little different, but these are still fast games and you need those games to get ready for the season."
- The game will be broadcast on TSN5 and RDS on TV.
Lines and D pairings at the morning skate: