- The Canadiens held an optional skate Tuesday morning at the Bell Sports Complex ahead of a home game against the Los Angeles Kings in the evening.
- Lars Eller was the first skater out on the ice carrying a bucket of pucks. He practiced his stickhandling and took a good number of shots on net before being joined by his teammates. Slotting in alongside the Dane will be Daniel Briere and rookie Michael Bournival, who has been used on several different lines in the past weeks.
“My role’s always been to bring energy and to create things on the ice. No matter who I play with, it’s my job to make a difference on the ice,” stated Bournival, who gets a crack at playing on an offensively line once against after sitting out for a game and spending time on the fourth line. “I just have to adjust myself when I’m with a new line. Everybody here is a good hockey player, so it’s up to me to play well.
While he hasn’t scored since November 19, the speedy winger can be counted on to help his team in other facets of the game.
“I’m not worried about that. I’m working hard, and that’s what matters,” the Shawinigan, QC native insisted. “Things will take care of themselves if I keep doing that.”
- Brian Gionta, Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais, Travis Moen, Ryan White and P.K. Subban opted for off-ice workouts rather than stepping on the ice. In the absence of his linemates, Brendan Gallagher still went out on the ice and got a good sweat going before taking on the Kings for the first time.
“They’re a big, physical team who don’t give up a lot of goals. For us it’ll be about building on what we’ve been doing well so far,” Gallagher indicated. “It hasn’t been too long since L.A. has won a Stanley Cup, so I’m excited to play them. They’re a good team, a very structured team. They have a lot of players who can get in your face, and that always makes for a fun game.”
Meanwhile, the right winger’s former linemate Alex Galchenyuk will have a chance to build on his scoring streak, he who lit the lamp on Saturday against the Sabres. As in the Habs’ previous game, he’ll start alongside Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta.
“Every player on this team brings something different to the table. Plekanec and Gionta have been in the league for a longtime, and they know what to do in order to have success. They’re very good at making simple, smart plays,” offered the American sophomore.”To be honest, I don’t know exactly how I fit in with these guys just yet. I’d have to figure it out. I think I can bring some speed and create offensive chances. But I’d rather not talk about what I bring. I’d rather let people watch and judge for themselves. I’m just excited to play with them and help them.”
- Carey Price, who is 3-0-0 lifetime against the Kings, will be in net for the Habs tonight. He’ll be looking for his eighth win in a row. George Parros and Douglas Murray stayed out to get extra reps in after practice, so it is likely that defenseman Francis Bouillon will play instead of Murray.
- After practice, coach Michel Therrien discussed the progress of his least-experienced charges, as well as the challenge presented by the Kings.
“Young players need all of their focus and physical effort in order to be at the right place on the ice and to make the right plays, so of course it’s harder for them to thrive when the schedule gets busy. Still, in the long term, these are moments which they learn a lot, and we can see the benefits later on,” reflected Therrien on the progress of Bournival, Gallagher and Galchenyuk, the team’s youngest members.
“Los Angeles is a team that I respect a lot. We can’t forget that they won the Cup two years ago, and I give a lot of credit to champions, teams who have gone all the way and won together,” Therrien added about the NHL’s third-best defensive team, coached by Darryl Sutter. “They still have the same core as the winning team two years ago, and they’re a very physical team which is good on the forecheck and puts a lot of pressure on its opponents.”
Puck drop will be at 7:00PM E.S.T.
Game preview: MTL vs. LAK