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Game Day - Canadiens vs Bruins

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

- The Canadiens returned to practice in Brossard ahead of Tuesday night’s clash against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre. All players were present and accounted for including newly acquired Victor Bartley who skated alongside Greg Pateryn at practice.

- Following practice coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Devante Smith-Pelly will make his return to the lineup, replacing Jacob de la Rose. Smith-Pelly’s return to the lineup comes after the 23-year-old was left out of the lineup for the previous three games.

"We want to see what Devo can do. We know he can be physical, he is able to finish his checks hard on the fore-check,” clarified coach Michel Therrien, on his decision to reinsert Smith-Pelly in the lineup. “That's what we expect out of him. He can be very tough to play against.”

- After the Bruins held an optional skate at the Bell Centre Tuesday morning, coach Claude Julien confirmed that David Krejci will not be in uniform tonight against the Habs. Krejci has been on the shelf since December 27, 2015 after suffering an upper-body injury.

- As the Canadiens are looking to break out of a four-game losing streak, a matchup against the rival Bruins could not have come at a better time.

“With the Bruins it’s always a fun rivalry. At the end of the Winter Classic it got a bit heated and physical, so we have to come out with that emotion from the start,” expressed captain Max Pacioretty, who will lead his team into battle against the Bruins for the final game between the two rivals this season. “We have to find a way to find that confidence that we had in our room earlier this year, show that we are able to make plays and play the right way for 60 minutes.”

- Though it can be easy to doubt yourself in the midst of a slump, captain Pacioretty maintains a positive attitude.

“You know we’ve played this game for a long time. I’ve played this game for 21 years I don’t think one month or six weeks should completely shatter my confidence and I know that everyone else in this room feels the same way,” noted Pacioretty, who collected three points in two games this past weekend on the road against the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks. “Our system has been flawless in the past when we have executed it the right way,” concluded Pacioretty.

- With a big two points on the line, the club could turn to Massachusetts native Mike Condon, who has a 2-1-0 record in three career starts against his hometown team. In fact, Tuesday night’s game at the Bell Centre comes with just one point separating the Canadiens and Bruins in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

“The standings are so tight that every game matters so much, but if you look around the room, that’s all the motivation you need. You don’t want your teammates to be traded and you don’t want your friends to be gone,” explained Brendan Gallagher, who has registered five points in seven games since returning to the lineup on January 1, 2016, where he scored a goal and added an assist in the Winter Classic against Boston. “We need to start winning hockey games and playing for each other. Come together as a group, we enjoy coming to the rink everyday together as a group but the only way that stays the same is if we win hockey games.”

- Having averaged 38 shots on net in their last four contests, the Canadiens’ goal scoring struggles are not due to a lack of effort.

“It’s a job driven by results. It doesn’t matter how many things you do well, if you don’t come away with the win then you’ve failed,” noted Gallagher, who fired seven shots on net in Saturday night’s loss to the St. Louis Blues. “It is a big game tonight, we need to show up and compete because it’s going to be a battle.”

- According to defenseman P.K. Subban -who also contributed seven of the 49 shots the Canadiens directed on Blues netminder Brian Elliot in Saturday's 4-3 loss - the solution to finding the back of the net is to stick to the game plan.

“I think it is just about bearing down. We’ve been focused before games, I just think there are these lapses in the game. I don’t know what it is but we have to be prepared, we have to be ready to go. Once the puck drops we have to be ready. You can’t just assume that good things are going to happen. You have to play well and make things happen,” added Subban, who extended his personal five-game point streak to five games with an assist on Sunday night against the Blackhawks. “I think we have to think about one shift at a time, not one game, but one shift. It’s not games that have been costing us, its shifts. Everyone just has to focus on their job and doing it every single shift. For us, we just need to pay that much more attention to detail.”

- Puck drop for tonight's contest is set for 7:30 p.m.

Lines from practice

Galchenyuk – Desharnais – Weise
DSP – Mitchell – Flynn
Gallagher – Plekanec – Pacioretty
Byron – Eller – Fleischmann
De La Rose

Subban - Markov
Petry – Emelin
Barberio – Beaulieu
Bartley - Pateryn

Words from the room: Jan. 19
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