- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard ahead of Saturday night’s tilt against the visiting Colorado Avalanche.
- Max Pacioretty, Dale Weise and P.K. Subban opted not to take part in the morning skate, while Alexei Emelin was absent with a lower body injury.
- Greg Pateryn will replace Emelin in the lineup, making his 2015-16 debut opposite the Avalanche after recently being assigned for a three-game conditioning stint with the St. John’s IceCaps in the AHL.
“It was good to go down there and get some game experience. It’s a lot different than just practicing against your own guys and working out every day. It was good to get into some battles,” acknowledged the 25-year-old rearguard. “It’s definitely exciting. It’s been a long time, but you stay ready for a reason. You never know what can happen.”
Pateryn should be paired with a familiar face in Tom Gilbert when he hits the Bell Centre ice for the first time this season on Saturday.
“I think that’s the plan for now,” continued the Sterling Heights, MI native. “We played together in the past -- in the playoffs last year too -- so we’re pretty comfortable with each other and I’m excited.”
- The Canadiens also announced that Alexander Semin will be back in the lineup in place of Paul Byron, after sitting out the last seven games as a healthy scratch. The Russian forward should once again form a line with Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller.
Although Semin did not address the media on Saturday, his teammates were excited to have him back.
“He has a good shot, and the ability to get the puck off quickly. It’s something opposing players will have to be aware of,” underlined Brendan Gallagher. “He’s been a very good player in this league for a long time and he’s been wanting to get back into the lineup for awhile.”Second time's a charm
Semin had a goal and two assists in his first 10 games with the Habs, and should be well-surrounded to add to those totals in his return to action.
“The strength of this group has always been our team concept,” added Gallagher. “That’s the way we play -- anyone can come in and contribute, and we expect him to do just that.”
- In goal, Mike Condon will make a seventh consecutive start for the Habs. Condon holds a 6-0-2 record with a 0.936 save percentage and 1.73 goals against average through his first eight games in the NHL.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Bell Centre on TVA Sports and Sportsnet.
From the room
Game Preview: Canadiens vs Avalanche
Pacioretty growing into role as captain of Canadiens