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Game Day – Canucks – November 16

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday morning in preparation for their tilt against the Vancouver Canucks at the Bell Centre.

- As has been the case for several weeks now, Michael Bournival skated prior to the Canadiens’ on-ice session accompanied by athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine. Bournival is still recovering from concussion-like symptoms.

- Following the morning skate, head coach Michel Therrien indicated that goaltender Carey Price is making good progress recovering from his injury, but it’s still far too early to talk about a return to active duty. Price has been skating at the Bell Sports Complex over the last several days under the supervision of both Roof-Racine and goaltending coach Stephane Waite.

- Also on the injury front, Therrien confirmed that defenseman Alexei Emelin is still listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. That means that Greg Pateryn will remain in the lineup on Monday night against Vancouver.

- The Canadiens aren’t expected to feature any lineup changes for Monday night’s contest. As such, Alexander Semin will suit up for a second straight game, while Paul Byron should be a healthy scratch.

- Monday night’s game will mark the second and final regular season meeting between the Canadiens and the Canucks this year. Back on October 27th, the Canucks handed Therrien’s squad a 5-1 loss at Rogers Arena, snapping the Canadiens’ remarkable nine-game winning streak to start the season. Three weeks later, the defeat is still fresh in the minds of Habs players who are looking to give Willie Desjardins’ all they can handle this time around.

“I know personally, I don’t like when teams beat us like that. You always remember it. But, our approach is that it’s just another opportunity for us to get on the winning side of things. Tough game last game, and we all know that we can be better. We did a lot of things well, but in this league you only get rewarded for wins, so we have to come out with our best effort,” shared P.K. Subban, who posted a minus-2 differential against the Canucks several weeks back. “They’re definitely a team that can score goals, and I felt like they outworked us in Vancouver. We can’t let that happen tonight.”

- If the loss to Vancouver in late October is still etched in the Canadiens’ collective memory, it’s safe to say their 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche over the weekend is, too. Losing like that isn’t easy to swallow, but when you’re among the best teams in the NHL, your opponents are automatically motivated to offer up their best stuff. If the Canadiens hope to remain atop the standings, they know full well they’ll have to be ready to match their opponents’ intensity on any given night. The Canucks’ visit to the Bell Centre is no exception.

“I think that every team that’s at the top of their standings has an automatic target on their back, but we should also have plenty of motivation to play against Vancouver because of what happened the last time we played there. That should just be fuel for us going into tonight’s game. I’m sure everyone is going to be hungry to play,” stressed Lars Eller, who has five goals and six points in 18 games during the 2015-16 campaign. “I think last game we had the puck a lot more than we’ve had in recent games. You have to have the puck to create scoring chances. If you’re playing good defense, you have the puck a lot more. That’s one area we did well and can keep improving on. Sometimes, maybe we’re going to the net and then the puck doesn’t get there. Sometimes, it’s just the other way around. We’ve got to find a way to get in sync again with what each other is doing, but we know we have the ability to make it work.”

- With nine wins in their last 10 games, the New York Rangers are now the league’s top team. Leading the NHL in points at this point in the year might not be cause be celebration with so much hockey left to be played, but it’s still something to be proud of. Having been there in recent weeks, the Canadiens would like to find a way to grab that ranking right back sooner rather than later.

“Our goal is to be at the top. It’s nice seeing your name at the top. Now that it’s not, we’ve got to refocus and get back there. We know it’s possible. We know we’re one of the best teams in this league for a reason. We’ve just got to get back to basics,” offered Nathan Beaulieu, who will likely be paired with Jeff Petry on the Canadiens’ back-end for a second straight game on Monday night. “We have to get off to a better start. The last couple of games, we haven’t been happy with it. If you get behind too much in this league, it’s tough to get back. We weren’t happy with our first period [against Colorado]. We did a little better as the game went on, but we’re looking for a solid 60 minutes.”

- Mike Condon will go up against Jacob Markstrom in goal. Condon will be making his eighth straight start for the Canadiens, while the Canucks’ netminder will be playing just his second game of the year. Markstrom has a 0-1-1 record and a 3.00 goals-against average in two career outings against Montreal.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and Sportsnet.

Probable lineup against Vancouver:

Gallagher – Plekanec – Pacioretty
Semin – Galchenyuk – Eller
Fleischmann – Desharnais – Weise
Smith-Pelly – Mitchell – Flynn
Byron

Subban – Markov
Beaulieu – Petry
Pateryn – Gilbert
Tinordi

SEE ALSO
Words From The Room - November 16
Game preview: Canadiens vs. Canucks
Weekly overview
Getting over it

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