- After a day off on Sunday, the Canadiens held a morning skate on Monday at Amalie Arena ahead of their tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It will be the first of five meetings between the two teams during the 2014-15 campaign. The game marks the end of the Canadiens’ season-opening four-game road trip.
- After missing Saturday night’s game in Philadelphia due to an upper-body injury, defenseman Alexei Emelin participated in the morning skate. Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed, however, that the Russian rearguard would not return to action against the Lightning.
- Michel Therrien also confirmed that there would be no lineup changes on Monday night. As such, the forward lines that were featured in the latter stages of the game in Philadelphia last Saturday night could remain intact against the Lightning.
- The Canadiens might have rattled off three straight wins to start the year, but they know full well that they haven’t played their best hockey as of yet. Case in point is the fact that Michel Therrien’s troops have been forced to stage comebacks in each of those early-season victories. The Habs didn’t get off to impressive starts in Toronto, Washington or Philadelphia, and the consensus inside the locker room is that it’s time for that to change.
“I think we’re satisfied with about three periods through that stretch here. We’ve got to be better. We’ve got to have a better start. It shows the character of the team with those comebacks, but we can’t rely on our goalies only for the first-half of the game. All around, we’ve just got to be better,” stressed defenseman Mike Weaver, who sits tied with P.K. Subban for the team lead in hits with nine through three games. “I expect them to play hard and come at us. Obviously, they’ve got some skilled guys. They’ve got some elite guys over there. Having run into them in the playoffs last year, it’s probably going to be a hard game.”
Like Weaver, Max Pacioretty stressed the need for the Canadiens to come out firing on all cylinders against Jon Cooper’s contingent.
“After an emotional game like the one in Phildelphia, there’s an opportunity for a letdown, so I think we’ve got to do a good job of getting on each other and making sure that we find that emotion early in the first period. That’s going to be the most important part for our team, worrying about ourselves,” offered Pacioretty, who has one goal on the year. “The resiliency we’ve shown has been great, but you know that as the season goes on and you play teams with more success, you can’t give up periods like we have. We’d like to play a good strong game for sixty minutes.”
- Tomas Plekanec was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week on Monday. The Czech forward sits tied for the league lead with four goals through the Canadiens’ first three games of the season.
“It might be an individual kind of thing, but I don’t think they would have ever called on a player from Montreal if we’d lost two out of those three games,” offered Plekanec, who also sits tied for second in the NHL with five points on the year. “I have good teammates, good linemates, and we won the games. It’s a nice recognition for Montreal, and we need to just keep it up and keep winning games.”
- Carey Price will make his third start of the season for the Canadiens. Ben Bishop will get the start in goal for Tampa Bay. Price boasts a 10-7-4 record in 21 outings against the Lightning, in addition to a 2.32 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
Forward lines featured at the morning skate: