- The Canadiens held an optional morning skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Monday in preparation for Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Bruins at the Bell Centre.
- All players were present and accounted for at practice, expect for Carey Price. Bulldogs netminder Dustin Tokarski assumed Price’s spot opposite Peter Budaj.
- Alex Galchenyuk skated prior to the start of practice alongside Canadiens strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard.
- In his post-practice press conference on Monday morning, head coach Michel Therrien didn’t indicate whether or not he’d make any lineup changes heading into Game 6 against the Bruins. As per usual, the Canadiens bench boss kept that information close to the vest, stressing the fact that he felt no pressure whatsoever to tinker with a lineup that has responded well to adversity all season long, regardless of which players ultimately took to the ice come game time.
That being said, Therrien insists matching up against the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners in a do-or-die scenario offers up a fascinating test for coaches and players alike.
“I see it rather as a good challenge. We all understand the importance of tonight’s game. The fact that we’re playing Game 6 at home against one of the league’s powerhouse teams presents an interesting challenge for this group,” offered Therrien, who last coached in a Game 6 situation during the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals when he was behind the bench in Pittsburgh.
“That’s what I sense from my players, too,” added Therrien, whose Penguins squad ultimately lost that particular game by a 3-2 margin as the Red Wings hoisted the Stanley Cup at Mellon Arena in Western Pennsylvania. “We’re looking forward to tonight’s game. We have to have the right attitude heading into a game like this. After speaking with the guys yesterday and today, I sense that they’re right there.”
- Many players inside the Canadiens locker room aren’t strangers to the situation they find themselves in with Game 6 just hours away. Back in 2011, Tomas Plekanec was part of a squad that staved off elimination at the hands of the Bruins down 3-2 in the series with a must-win Game 6 at the Bell Centre.
With memories of the Canadiens’ 2-1 victory on that night in mind, the veteran centerman believes there’s a clear cut way to come out on top in these types of situations.
“There’s no secret but to have a good game. We have to go right at them from the start. We’ve got to play our game and use our speed,” underlined Plekanec, who has three goals and seven points in nine postseason games in 2014. “It was really close the last time that we played against them in the playoffs. We lost in overtime in Game 7 and we were right there. We just need to focus on tonight’s game. We can’t start thinking about Game 7 now. We have to focus on having a good start tonight and we’ll go from there.”
- Like Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher will draw on past experience when he takes to the ice against the Bruins on Monday night to contest the first Game 6 of his NHL career.
“I think back to similar experiences I’ve had back in Junior. I’ve been in the exact same situation where we’ve been down 3-2 and came back and won a series. It’s certainly not impossible,” offered the 22-year-old right-winger, who sits tied for the team lead with Rene Bourque and P.K. Subban with four goals this postseason. “It’s certainly a tough task as well, but at the same time you’re not worrying about two games, you’re worrying about one game. If you take care of one game, the whole situation is different. But, you’ve got to show up and make sure you play your best game tonight.
“We need to come out and we need to be the hungrier team,” added Gallagher. “We need to be desperate, but at the same time we need to focus in on all the little details that got us to this point.”
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