- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday, in preparation for the team’s sixth preseason game of the year. Just two games remain on the Habs’ exhibition schedule with a home-and-away series against Ottawa on tap before the regular season opens on October 7.
- Thursday marks the much awaited return of captain Max Pacioretty to the lineup. With a healthy arsenal at his disposal, coach Michel Therrien will ice a lineup that will feature last season’s top threesome of Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher in addition to the trio of Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk and Alexander Semin.
“[Max] is the leader of our group. He does a lot for us, so it will be nice to see him in the lineup. When we all heard he got hurt, I think we were all disappointed but we knew he would be back quickly,” explained Gallagher, who has been impressed with his captain’s hard work and determination to recover from a knee injury suffered during the offseason. “He’s been in the gym, he’s been in the trainer’s room, he’s the first one at the rink and the last one to leave. He’s been working as hard as he can to get back. Hopefully it goes well.”
- Unlike most of the Habs regulars, Pacioretty will only have two preseason games at his disposal to prepare for the season opener against Toronto on October 7.
“It will be nice to have a couple games here. I don’t think it will take long since we’ve played together a lot over the last couple of years,” noted Gallagher, who for his part thinks two games is enough time to get the line back in sync. “We had success playing a certain way and we can’t change that, we just have to get back to what we did last year to be successful.”
- Rookies hitting the ice against the Sens still vying for roster spots include forwards Sven Andrighetto, Charles Hudon and defenseman Noah Juulsen. The Everett Silvertips’ blue-liner recently began practicing with his Habs teammates for the first time since the beginning of rookie camp and is set to make his Canadiens debut tonight against the Senators.
“It’s a great feeling, just coming back here. It’s a great organization and they’ve been treating me well. I have a chance to play a game tonight and I can’t wait for it,” commented Juulsen, who was previously sidelined with a concussion and is excited to get his first taste of professional hockey on Thursday night. “It’s not the ideal scenario but I just have to go out to play my game. It’s pretty special. It’s every little kid’s dream to play an NHL game,” expressed the Canadiens 2015 first round pick.
- Reigning league MVP Carey Price is expected to see his final preseason action on Thursday before the he kicks things off for real against the Leafs. Dustin Tokarski, who will serve as Price’s backup on Thursday night, is likely to be between the pipes for the Canadiens’ final preseason game on Saturday night in Ottawa
- In the visitors’ camp, a familiar foe prepares to face the Canadiens, as Andrew Hammond is expected to get the start between the pipes for the Senators.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS.
- Probable pairings and lines for Thursday’s game:
Game Preview: Senators @ Canadiens