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Game Day - Maple Leafs - October 7

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

- The Canadiens skated at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Wednesday morning in preparation for their regular-season opener against the Maple Leafs.

- Carey Price will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. It will mark the 427th start of Price’s career. He boasts a 17-13-1 record, a 2.59 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage in 31 career starts against Toronto.

- Just one day after being claimed off waivers by the Canadiens, centerman Paul Byron took part in Wednesday’s morning skate. The 26-year-old Ottawa native rotated with Brian Flynn on a line with Torrey Mitchell and Devante Smith-Pelly. Following practice, however, Byron confirmed that he would not be suiting up against the Leafs, mentioning that he still had to familiarize himself with the Canadiens’ systems.

“My friends and family are really excited to come support me and watch me play. I couldn’t be happier to be here right now,” offered Byron, who put up six goals and 19 points in 57 games with the Calgary Flames last season. “I definitely had a tough end to the year last year with a couple of injuries. But, everything has healed up and I feel ready to turn the page, move on and start a new chapter in my life. I’m really excited about this year. I feel like I took big steps last year in my game, and I know I can get better. I know I can bring a lot to this team.”

- The Maple Leafs enter the 2015-16 campaign with high hopes and new faces both on the ice and off it, too. Needless to say, the Canadiens are going up against a team that is very different than the one they battled a year ago on opening night when they earned a 4-3 victory at the ACC.

“There are nine new players with the Maple Leafs, new coaches and a new administration. I expect them to have better structure and offer up stiffer competition. I’ve experienced something similar before with the Penguins and the Canadiens. When you join a new team, you want to bring a certain structure and a certain measure of discipline,” mentioned head coach Michel Therrien, referencing, among other things, the arrival of Mike Babcock behind the Maple Leafs’ bench. “You want to make the playoffs. There’s a lot of parity in the NHL and the Maple Leafs are a part of a group of teams that I think will be in the running for a playoff spot.”

Therrien’s troops shared similar thoughts ahead of Wednesday night’s contest.

“In the NHL, if you ever approach any game like you’re facing a rebuild team or anything like that, it’s not the best approach. This team is going to come out and work really, really hard,” offered defenseman P.K. Subban, who will begin his seventh NHL season on Wednesday night. "They’ve got a good coach. If we know anything about the Leafs, whenever we play them, it’s always a lot of intensity and high emotion. As far as I’m concerned, we’re prepared to play a good team tonight, a team that’s going to come out and compete for 60 minutes. If we’re not prepared to do that, we’re only hurting ourselves.”

- With the start of the 2015-16 campaign just hours away, several players discussed the expectations they have for the Canadiens as a group this time around.

“We really believe in ourselves. The sky’s definitely the limit for us. We come in here and we have one goal in mind,” shared Alex Glachenyuk, who will be plying his trade at center on Wednesday night, flanked by both Alexander Semin and Lars Eller on the wing. “But, it’s just the first game. We’ve got to take it one game at a time. It’s a long season. We’ve got to stay confident in ourselves and work hard.”

- Max Pacioretty will play his first official game as team captain on Wednesday night in Toronto. It will also mark the 400th game of his NHL career.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on TVA Sports and Rogers Sportsnet.

Lines and D pairings at the morning skate:

Gallagher – Plekanec – Pacioretty
Eller – Galchenyuk – Semin
Weise – Desharnais – Fleischmann
Flynn/Byron – Mitchell – Smith-Pelly

Petry – Emelin
Subban – Markov
Beaulieu – Gilbert
Tinordi – Pateryn

SEE ALSO
Words From The Room - October 7
Game preview: Canadiens @ Maple Leafs 
Steady as she goes 
Canadiens claim forward Paul Byron off waivers from the Calgary Flames 

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