- The Canadiens held an optional morning skate at Nassau Coliseum on Saturday ahead of their tilt against the New York Islanders. Following the game, the team will travel to Florida to battle the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday, before wrapping up their three-game road swing against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.
- Only a handful of players elected not to hit the ice, including Carey Price, forward Tomas Plekanec, and defensemen P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov and Tom Gilbert.
- While head coach Michel Therrien wasn’t about to discuss his lineup for Saturday night’s contest following the morning skate, we do know that defenseman Greg Pateryn will sport the CH for the first time since February 28. The Sterling Heights, MI native, who was recalled from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday, played six games with the Canadiens in mid-to-late February, and his focus this time around is squarely on offering up the style of game that earned him another stint with the big club.
“I don’t feel any added pressure. I’m excited to be a part of this, to know that they have the faith to put me in there at this point in the season. I think it’s huge for me. My game’s pretty simple. I’m not going to try to change anything out there. I know what I need to do. As long as I stick to that, I think I’ll be o.k.,” offered Pateryn, who dished out 18 hits in his six outings with the Canadiens during the 2014-15 campaign. “I went down to Hamilton and I kept playing the way I was up here. I think it will be an easier transition back here because of that.”
- The question now is who will be the odd man out on the Canadiens’ back end. It might be Nathan Beaulieu, but that is still uncertain. The young rearguard is aware, however, that consistency is the key ingredient to ensuring he’ll be lacing up his skates every night going forward.
“Michel and I had a good conversation. The biggest thing is execution and taking responsibility for the minutes I play. If I’m playing 12 minutes, they’ve got to be a solid 12 minutes. You earn your ice time here, and I just felt from a personal standpoint that I can be better,” confided Beaulieu, who finished Thursday night’s game against Ottawa with a minus-3 differential. “It’s all about results and performance, so it’s in my hands.”
- There’s nothing the Canadiens would like more than to get back on track and kick off their current road trip in style on Saturday night. They’ve already bested the Islanders twice this season, so there’s no reason to think that they can’t make it three in a row and complete the season sweep.
“We know we have to turn it around quickly. We haven’t been playing good hockey lately. We haven’t been getting the results we wanted. Those two things kind of go hand in hand. We need to start getting some wins and some points on the board. We need to get back to the way that’s always made us successful,” stressed Brendan Gallagher, whose squad has just one win in its last six outings and boasts a 5-3-2 record in its last 10 games. “We’re still confident in this locker room. I don’t think anyone’s worried, but we have to have an understanding that it can’t go on too much longer. We’ve got to turn this around and get back to the things that we always talk about doing.”
- Saturday night’s game will mark the final regular season meeting between the Canadiens and the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. With their opponents set to depart for Brooklyn come next year, head coach Michel Therrien took a moment to reflect on what it has meant to coach at one of the oldest buildings in the League over the years.
“Who knows if it’s going to be our last time? Yes, it’s our last time during the regular season. The thing I remember about the Islanders is the history of the franchise and the building. They won Stanley Cups here. It’s always special to play in an old barn like this,” confirmed Therrien. “But, who knows? I think it’s still early to say that this is going to be our last time.”
- Carey Price will make his 56th start of the season on Saturday night. He boasts an 8-3-3 record, a 2.62 goals-against average, and a .906 save percentage in 14 career regular season outings against New York. The Islanders will counter with Michal Neuvirth between the pipes.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on TVA Sports and City TV.