- After a day off on Tuesday, the Canadiens hit the ice on Wednesday morning at the Honda Center in Anaheim in preparation for their tilt against Ducks.
|Stefan Matteau in Anaheim on Wednesday morning.
- Acquired at the trade deadline from New Jersey, Stefan Matteau suited up and skated alongside his new teammates for the first time. The 22-year-old forward will be in the lineup on Wednesday night. He skated on a line with Sven Andrighetto and Jacob De La Rose at practice. Matteau also sported a full cage after suffering a facial fracture on January 14.
“I grew up watching the Canadiens, so this is very exciting. It’s a real honor and I’m going to do my best to work hard and give everything I have to help the team,” said Matteau, who was born in Chicago, but grew up in Blainville. “The system is different in Montreal. It’s more offensive-minded and there’s a lot of talent on this team. Changes like this can do a player some good. I look at it as something really positive.”
- Defenseman Morgan Ellis, meanwhile, will be making his NHL debut on Wednesday night. As a result, Victor Bartley will be a healthy scratch on the back end. The 23-year-old Ellerslie, PEI native put up 12 goals and 31 points in 56 games with the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps this season, before being recalled on February 26.
“It’s exciting, obviously. It’s a long time coming. When you end your Junior career, you don’t know how long it’s going to take until you play your first game. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Here I am tonight,” said Ellis, who saw time in the ECHL ranks last season, but worked his way back up with plenty of dedication and persistence. “I’ve got to make the most of it. You never know when your next one is going to be. It’s going to be one shift at a time. I’m going to take this pre-game lunch and nap to focus on what I need to do. I have to play simple out there, move pucks and be hard to play against.”
- Mike Brown, who skated on a line with Torrey Mitchell and Michael McCarron on Monday night in San Jose, will be a healthy scratch against Anaheim. Lucas Lessio will also be taking in the contest from the press box.
- Head coach Michel Therrien elected to form a new line on Wednesday morning, putting McCarron alongside Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk. McCarron will be playing his fifth game of the year – and his third since being recalled from St. John's. On Monday, he saw 13:37 of playing time against the Sharks, and put up two shots on the night.
“It’s exciting to be able to play with offensive guys like that. I hope that we’ll be able to produce and show what we’re capable of,” said McCarron, who isn’t planning on changing his style of play on Wednesday night given his new playing partners. “I played two good games by playing the way I do and I plan on doing the same thing tonight.”
- With the Canadiens set to play two games in as many nights, Therrien is giving Mike Condon the start in goal against Bruce Boudreau’s club. It will mark his 39th start of the season and his first career outing versus Anaheim.
- After being named to their respective squads for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey in September earlier in the day, both Andrei Markov and Tomas Plekanec had a chance to share their thoughts on the nomination following practice.
“It’s always great news. It’s an honor to play for your national team and put on that jersey. It’s going to be a fun tournament,” said Plekanec, who captained the Czech Republic squad in Sochi back in 2014. “It’s a big opportunity for some of the new guys to play in a big tournament right at the beginning of their national team careers. It will be fun for everybody. Hopefully, we’ll be a good team. It’s an opportunity for these guys to step up and show what they can do.”
Markov is also eagerly anticipating the opportunity to ply his trade for Russia in September.
“It’s such a big honor to represent your country in any big tournament, especially this one. I’m proud and happy to be there. It’s always fun to play with the best players. I’m looking forward to it,” said Markov. “I’m going to try to enjoy it, for sure. It might be the last tournament for my country. You never know.”
- Puck drop is scheduled for 10 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and Sportsnet East.
Lines and D pairings at the morning skate:
Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Eller – McCarron
Andrighetto – De La Rose – Matteau
Byron – Danault – Mitchell
Lessio – Brown
Markov – Subban
Emelin – Pateryn
Ellis – Barberio
Words From The Room - March 2
Game Preview: Canadiens @ Ducks