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Game Day - Avalanche - December 1

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

- The Canadiens hit the ice at the Pepsi Center in Denver for morning skate on Monday ahead of their game against the Avalanche. All players were present for practice.

- Carey Price will get his 20th start of the season on Monday night, looking to build on his 2-2-1 career record against the Avs.

- Michel Therrien confirmed that Tom Gilbert would be back in the lineup on Monday after having been a healthy scratch in the last two games against Buffalo. The team will once again play with a lineup of 12 forwards and six defensemen, meaning Bryan Allen will be the odd-man out on the back end.

- Although he already had the chance to face – and beat – his former team twice this season in the preseason and regular season, P-A Parenteau won’t be any less motivated in his Denver homecoming. Set to face the Avs in Colorado for the first time since being traded to Montreal this summer, the 31-year-old Hull native is looking forward to making his return to the Pepsi Center on Monday night.

“I had some great years here, especially my first year here. I don’t want to lose this one, for sure,” cracked Parenteau, who had 76 points in 103 games over two seasons in Colorado. “Every time you play against your ex-team, especially coming back home, it’s special. It’s going to be special tonight. We have a good team, I’m playing for the Montreal Canadiens and I live in my home town. It’s tough to ask for a better scenario than that. We’re playing some good hockey this year on our side and we’re having a good time playing. I’m looking forward to this challenge. They’re a really good team up front especially so we’re going to have to be ready.”

- Set to kick off a busy December with a stretch of four games in six nights over a few different time zones, the Canadiens will look to snap a current three-game losing streak by starting a brand new win streak on road ice on Monday night. Hoping to maintain the team’s spot tied atop the NHL standings, Therrien isn’t thinking about picking up eight points on the trip out west, instead choosing to focus on the two points up for grabs in Denver.

“It’s a big challenge for us when you look at the number of games we have in a short period of time,” mentioned Therrien, whose team also played back-to-back games against the Sabres on Friday and Saturday night. “We have to take it one game at a time. It’s an old cliché, but that’s the attitude we need to have to make sure we have a good trip from the start.”

- Home ice advantage really takes on a new meaning in the Mile High City, where the thin air can cause golf balls to travel up to 10% farther and the increased elevation can cause finely-tuned athletes to struggle to adapt. Used to playing and training at an elevation of 712’ back home in Montreal, the Habs will have to adjust quickly to the Rocky Mountain air all the way up at 5,280’. Owning a 460-270-55-39 on home ice since moving from Quebec City to Denver, the Avalanche have clearly learned to use the altitude to their advantage, although Brendan Gallagher has a few simple plans in place to help negate the Mile High Effect.

“I think you do feel it, but I don’t think it’s something you can worry about,” explained Gallagher, who has only played in Colorado once in his career to date. “It is what it is and you just have to deal with it. I think it is an issue, so on the ice you have to keep your shifts short and try not to extend yourself too much because it’s a bit tougher to breathe.”

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