MONTREAL - The Canadiens held an optional morning skate at the Bell Centre on Sunday morning, in preparation for the early evening match against the New York Islanders.
16 players came out on the ice, including Daniel Briere and Alexei Emelin, who are expected to make their returns to action in the coming weeks.
Recalled from Hamilton yesterday, Gabriel Dumont and Greg Pateryn skated with the rest of the Habs players. The 23 year-old Dumont will make his season debut with the Habs and participate in his fourteenth game at the NHL level. He will likely take the place of George Parros, who was one of the last players to leave the ice, in company of Emelin, Briere and Pateryn.
“I talked with Michel this morning and he told me that I will be in the lineup tonight,” Dumont, a right-winger, related. “The coaches told me to play my game, to skate hard and to be solid in my zone. I’ll try to keep it simple.”
Forwards Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher, George Parros, Alex Galchenyuk, Lars Eller, Gabriel Dumont, Daniel Brière, Travis Moen, Rene Bourque, Michaël Bournival and David Desharnais were at practice. Josh Gorges, Raphael Diaz, P.K. Subban, Greg Pateryn and Alexei Emelin represented the defensive brigade.
Assistant captain Josh Gorges addressed the team’s recent losing skid after practice.
“We’ve hit a stretch where things have not gone the way we’ve planned. Tonight we have a tough opponent, and we have to play with a sense of urgency, understanding that one shift can make the difference in the outcome of the game,” the veteran blueliner insisted.
“It’s a matter of details. Right now we’re pressing a bit too much at times, and then overcompensate. We just have to make sure that we tighten up our game and go hard to the net when given the opportunities,” Gorges added.
While the Islanders will likely be without sniper Thomas Vanek, who left Saturday night’s game with an upper body injury, Gorges cautions that the rest of the New York squad is still a team to be reckoned with.
“I never look at a team and say ‘they’re missing a player tonight, it’s going to be a different night.’ The Islanders have lots of highly offensive, highly talented players. We have to make sure we’re ready. Obviously [Vanek] is a key part of their team, but our game plan doesn’t change,” the defensive stalwart offered.
Game Preview: Islanders @ Canadiens