BOSTON – The Canadiens held an optional morning skate at the TD Garden ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Bruins.
Davis Drewiske, who is on the mend from a shoulder injury suffered in training camp, made the trip with the team and skated on Thursday morning.
Andrei Markov, who missed practice on Wednesday, was back on the ice with the team and will play against the Bruins.
Brian Gionta, Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty, Douglas Murray and Rene Bourque opted for treatment and an off-ice workout rather.
The Habs will take on the Bruins for the second time this season, having won the previous meeting 2-1 at the Bell Centre on December 5 2013. This time, Peter Budaj will be in net, he who is 3-1-0 in five appearances against Boston in the course of his career. It will be his first start since January 8 in Philadelphia.
“It’s part of the plan that we’ve created with [goalie coach] Stephane Waite,” explained coach Michel Therrien regarding the decision to start Budaj over Carey Price, who posted a 36-save shutout in the team’s previous game, against Carolina. “We are coming up toward a stretch of four games in six days and it’s very important for us to manage Carey’s energy level so that he can be at his best when he plays.”
Other than the identity of the starting goaltender, Therrien confirmed that he will be going with the same line-up which brought his team the win on Tuesday against the Hurricanes.
Despite Boston scoring six goals in its three previous games, Brendan Gallagher believes in his team’s chances against on Thursday night.
“They come at your with all four lines and have been playing good hockey in front of their fans recently, but we’re going to show up and focus on what we need to do to win this game, things we do that make us successful” the right-winger offered. “We’ll need everyone to work together and play as a five-man unit.”
While Gallagher knows that the home team will throw everything they’ve got at him come game time, he relishes the opportunity to ply his craft in one of the toughest buildings of the NHL.
“I like this building and its atmosphere. Every game we play against the Bruins is emotional, it’s competitive; it’s a lot of fun,” revealed the second-year Hab.
One player intimately familiar with the intensity of the Montreal-Boston rivalry is defenseman P.K. Subban, the recipient of cheers and boos in equal measure when playing at the Bell Centre and the TD Garden respectively.
“I think we’ve done a great job of sticking together in the rough times this year,” acknowledged the reigning Norris Trophy winner, who has seen his team snap a four-game losing streak with a 3-0 win in its previous outing. “We’re just focusing on every game, taking it one step at a time and realizing that not everything will go the way we want all the time. I think we’ve responded well to adversity so far.”
For Subban, fighting for a win against the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins means having to play a controlled, disciplined game in all three zones.
“Last game, we played a good team game. The win was the icing on the cake, but mostly we played the right way and supported each other in all three zones. We were good on the breakout, our gap was tight in the neutral zone and we made sure to keep the pressure on. We did a lot of great things [against Carolina on Tuesday],” stated Subban.
Game preview: MTL @ BOS
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