- The Canadiens held a morning skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday ahead of contesting their home opener against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre. All players were present and accounted for.
- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Alexei Emelin will be back in the lineup on Thursday night after missing the Canadiens’ last two games in Philadelphia and Tampa Bay with an upper-body injury. Emelin will suit up in place of Nathan Beaulieu against Boston.
- Therrien, however, did not confirm any additional details regarding the lineup he would be featuring against the Bruins.
- The Canadiens are well aware of the brand of hockey the Bruins will likely showcase on Thursday night at the Bell Centre. Claude Julien’s troops are known for showing no fear no matter the opposition, and for trying to mix things up at every opportunity. That suits the Habs just fine. Heading into the home opener, the consensus inside the locker room is that games like these bring out the best in everyone.
“There’s a level of excitement. Guys are really looking forward to this game. It’s always fun when you get to play the Boston Bruins, whether it’s your first time or you’ve been in the league for 10 years,” offered Brendan Gallagher, who will play in his second home opener on Thursday night. “That excitement is still there and certainly guys get up for a game like this.”
So, the question now is what will it take for the Canadiens to come out on the right side of this long-standing rivalry when the two clubs clash in front of the Bell Centre faithful?
“I think we’ve had success as a team when we’ve focused on what we can control. That’s how we play. Not so much worrying about the other team’s personnel and who they have out there, but making sure everybody does their job and is holding each other accountable. That’s our focus going into this game. We know it’s going to be an emotional game. We understand the rivalry,” stressed P.K. Subban, who boasts four goals and 12 points in 20 career games against Boston. “They’re a team that has a lot of experience, and we know that they have a lot of power up front in terms of their big forwards and how they cycle the puck. We’ve got to be competitive from the first shift to the last. If we do that, we’re going to be successful.”
|Lars Eller's father, Olaf, is in town to watch his son take on the Bruins at the Bell Centre. |
- For players like Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, Tom Gilbert, Manny Malhotra and Jiri Sekac, all of whom got a taste of what Montreal had to offer during the preseason, the tilt against the Bruins marks their first opportunity to contest a game that counts in the standings in front of their home crowd.
“It’s really special. I’m really looking forward to playing my first game here. I played exhibition games, but it’s not the same thing. I can’t wait to feel the crowd behind us. The guys talked to me a little bit about what it’s like when you play for the Canadiens, and I’m excited for it to start,” offered Parenteau, who should line up alongside Alex Galchenyuk and Tomas Plekanec in the first of four games between the two teams during the 2014-15 regular-season campaign. “It’s the biggest rivalry in the league. I’ve heard about it. I’ve seen it on TV, but I’ve never played with the Canadiens against them. Based on the way the postseason played out last year, I’m expecting a really intense game.”
- Carey Price could make his fourth start of the season for the Canadiens on Thursday night. He boasts a 17-8-3 record, a 2.50 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage in 29 previous starts against the Bruins. For their part, the Bruins could go with Niklas Svedberg in goal as Tuukka Rask was between the pipes for Wednesday night’s tilt in Detroit.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. Before the game, the Bell blue carpet event will take place in front of the Bell Centre on Avenue des Canadiens de Montréal beginning at 5:30 p.m. EST. Nearly 50 local celebrities will be in attendance to highlight the Canadiens’ home opener against the Bruins.
Lines and D pairings at the morning skate:
Parenteau – Plekanec – Galchenyuk
Sekac – Eller – Bourque
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Gallagher
Prust – Malhotra – Moen – Weise
Gilbert – Markov
Subban – Emelin
Tinordi – Weaver