- The Canadiens held an optional skate on Thursday morning ahead of their tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center.
- Ryan White and Brandon Prust were the lone skaters who did not take part in the on-ice session on Thursday morning.
- Max Pacioretty and Josh Gorges were back at practice after taking therapy days on Wednesday.
- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that George Parros and Douglas Murray will be in the lineup against Philadelphia. He did not, however, indicate who would be scratched to make room for both players. That decision will come following the pre-game warmup.
- Like the Canadiens, who are looking to erase any and all recollection of Tuesday night’s 6-0 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings at the Bell Centre, the Flyers have similar motivation after dropping a 7-2 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday in the Windy City.
Knowing full well that the Flyers, like his club, are out to prove something to themselves, Therrien isn’t taking the opposition lightly, even if Philadelphia has gone winless in their last three games, is a modest 4-5-1 in their last 10 and currently sits 13th in the Eastern conference.
“It was their last game on a long road trip [on Wednesday]. It’s tough to stay focused. When you look at the Flyers on paper, they’re a constant threat. They’ve got excellent players,” offered the Habs bench boss, referencing a Flyers squad that boasts offensive standouts Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Wayne Simmonds. “These are two teams that are looking to forget their last games, and that’s how we’re approaching the game.
“Everything’s good,” continued Therrien, on the subject of his team’s morale heading into the match-up in the City of Brotherly Love. “We’re doing a lot of good things. What happened last game, happens to every team. It’s about how you react and rebound. With the right attitude, I expect that we’ll do that the right way.”
- Daniel Briere spent six seasons in a Flyers uniform before joining the Canadiens this past summer. On Thursday night, the 36-year-old will skate in front of the Philadelphia faithful for the first time in bleu-blanc-rouge. Despite putting up good numbers in Flyers orange and black for just over half a decade, the Gatineau, QC native understands if his return is met with mixed emotions from his former fan base.
“I really don’t know what to expect as far as the crowd reaction goes. I remember a few years back, Mike Richards was one of the fan favorites here. When he came back for the first time, he got an ovation to start the game, but after that, he was booed every time he touched the puck. I understand that,” mentioned Briere, who has five goals and 10 points in 22 games thus far this season. “They’re supporting their teams. I still had some great times here, though.”
Fortunately, it won’t be the first time Briere will have gone up against his former teammates in 2013-14. Back on October 5, the Canadiens downed the Flyers 4-1 in Montreal. That, according to Briere, will make Thursday night’s experience somewhat easier to handle.
“For sure it’s special to be back in the rink where I spent a lot of time over the last few years. I’m happy that the first game is behind me because it’s always the toughest one,” confided Briere. “Playing that first game in your former rink is probably even harder.”
- Carey Price will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. The Anahim Lake, BC native owns an 8-8-0 record and a 2.71 goals-against average in 17 games against the Flyers over the course of his career. Steve Mason will be between the pipes for Philadelphia on Thursday night.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.
Words From The Room - Dec. 12
Game preview: MTL @ PHI
On the rebound