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Game Day - Lightning - Feb. 9

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

- The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning in preparation for their tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre.

- After being a healthy scratch for the last two games, defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will return to the Canadiens’ lineup on Tuesday night. Jeff Petry, meanwhile, will miss the contest due to a lower-body injury. For Beaulieu, the chance to suit up again after taking in the last two tilts from the press box means a lot.

“Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed with what happened. All I can do is take advantage of the opportunity to play tonight,” said Beaulieu, who is averaging 16:58 of ice time per game so far this season through 51 games played. “I believe in myself and my abilities. I think that’s what matters most. This is another opportunity to get out there. I feel fortunate for that.”

The 23-year-old rearguard is taking things in stride, knowing full-well what Michel Therrien and the rest of the coaching staff expect of him going forward.

“I’ve just got to be better,” admitted Beaulieu, who has two goals and 16 points on the year. “I’ve never lost confidence, though. I’m a young D-man, and sometimes the road doesn’t always go where you want it to go. Things happen. But, there’s definitely a little motivation there because of what happened.”

- Beaulieu will be going about his work alongside Mark Barberio, who was drafted by the Lightning back in 2008 and played 103 games with the organization before joining his hometown team during the offseason.

“[Nathan and I] played together before, a couple of games. We know each other pretty well,” said Barberio, who will be playing his 17th game of the season on Tuesday night. “We move the puck well and move our feet. He’s good at jumping in the zone offensively.”

Needless to say, these matchups with Jon Cooper’s squad mean just a little bit more to Barberio given his connection to his former club.

“It’s always special to play against your old team,” said Barberio, who has one goal and three points with the Canadiens. “Tampa is a really good team. They’ve turned it up as of late. They lost on Monday night, so they’ll try to rebound tonight. It’s going to be a good challenge for us.”

Brendan Gallagher shared similar thoughts on Tuesday morning after the Canadiens wrapped up their on-ice session on the South Shore.

“It’s a big game. Everyone remembers how the season ended last year. For us, the focus will be on ourselves and what we can control,” admitted Gallagher, who was still recovering from surgery to repair two broken fingers when the two teams last met in Tampa on Dec. 28. “We understand the situation that we’re in.”

- That’s something David Desharnais touched upon on Tuesday, too. The Canadiens made a lot of good things happen over the weekend against Edmonton and Carolina, respectively. Now, it’s up to them to continue trending in the right direction against an Atlantic Division rival that always plays them tough.

“We scored five goals in a game [on Saturday]. That did us some good. Our goaltender offered up some really good performances, and we didn’t just give up when we fell behind 1-0 [on Sunday],” said Desharnais, who will go in search of his first goal since Jan. 23 – a span of six games. “These are all little things that we need to build off of, but we’re feeling more and more confident.”

Confidence is always key when you’re trying to stop the likes of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Nemestnikov and Victor Hedman. It’s a challenge a veteran like Desharnais enjoys.

“There’s speed and talent out there. They aren’t very physical games against Tampa, but there’s a lot of intensity and emotion,” explained Desharnais. “We like those types of games.”

- Goaltender Ben Scrivens will be making his third straight start for the Canadiens. The Lightning will counter with Ben Bishop between the pipes.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and Sportsnet East.

Probable lineup vs. Tampa Bay:

Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gallagher
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Weise
Fleischmann – Eller – Andrighetto
Flynn – Mitchell – Smith-Pelly

Markov – Subban
Beaulieu – Barberio
Emelin – Gilbert


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