- After a day off on Tuesday, the Canadiens held a morning skate at the Honda Center on Wednesday in preparation for their tilt against the Anaheim Ducks. While Michel Therrien’s troops are coming off a 4-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim is riding a three-game winning streak. Their latest victory came on Tuesday night as the Ducks downed the Arizona Coyotes 4-1 in Glendale.
- Newcomers Torrey Mitchell, Brian Flynn and Jeff Petry took part in their first practice as members of the Canadiens after being acquired on Monday. Petry did, however, suit up in the Habs’ last outing earlier in the week in Northern California, logging over 18 minutes of ice time on the back end.
- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that both Mitchell and Flynn will debut for the Canadiens on Wednesday night. Manny Malhotra and Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau will be healthy scratches.
- The Canadiens’ bench boss spent a significant amount of time working with Flynn and Mitchell at practice, doing everything possible to ease them into the team’s system. Therrien featured the pair on a line with Brandon Prust. That trio will remain intact to start the game against Anaheim.
“Prust is a good player. Everyone here plays pretty fast. It seems like they keep things fast and simple. Hopefully, Torrey and I can get in on the forecheck and cause some turnovers,” offered Flynn, who will center the Canadiens’ fourth line. “I think that helps a lot to be playing with Torrey, too. We played maybe 20 games or so together in the middle of the year in Buffalo before he got injured. We’re really familiar with each other. I think we play pretty similar. It’s easy to read off each other. We’re both used to playing wing and center, so when it comes to faceoffs and things like that we’re on the same page.”
It should come as no surprise that the pair can’t wait to don the CH for the first time. Both Flynn and Mitchell were all smiles following the morning skate.
“I’m a little bit nervous, but I think that’s a good thing. It means I’m excited,” confided Flynn, who put up five goals and 17 points in 54 games with the Sabres in 2014-15 before being dealt to Montreal. “I’m excited to put the jersey on and just get back to playing hockey.”
Mitchell shared similar thoughts ahead of Wednesday night’s contest in Orange County.
“This is the team that I’ve always dreamed of playing for, so there’s a lot of emotion,” mentioned Mitchell. “I’m very excited for tonight.”
- Wednesday night’s game will also be a special one for Devante Smith-Pelly, who will battle his former team for the first time since joining the Canadiens back on February 24. Smith-Pelly spent three-plus seasons in Anaheim before moving on to his new hockey home.
“It’s a little different, obviously. But at the same time, I’m excited. I’m looking forward to playing against guys that I haven’t ever played against before,” offered Smith-Pelly, who is still looking for his first point as a member of the Canadiens. “It will be a little weird, but at the same time it will be a lot of fun.”
- Carey Price will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. It will be his 52nd start of the season. Price holds a 1-3-1 record, a .901 save percentage and a 2.83 goals-against average in six career appearances against Anaheim. The Ducks will likely counter with John Gibson between the pipes.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 10 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet and RDS.
Projected lineup vs. Anaheim:
Eller–De La Rose–Smith-Pelly
Words From The Room - March 4
Game Preview: Canadiens @ Ducks
Dreams really do come true