- After a day off on Wednesday, the Canadiens hit the ice on Thursday morning at Rexall Place in Edmonton in preparation for their tilt against the Oilers.
- Forward Paul Byron will play his first game with the Canadiens since being claimed off waivers from the Calgary Flames on October 6. For his part, Alexander Semin will be a healthy scratch.
“I’m really excited to play. The team has been winning, and it’s been a lot of fun around here. You want to see your team win as much as you want to play. You just have to continue working hard. When your time comes, you have to be ready,” shared Byron, who boasts two goals and seven points in nine career games against Edmonton, the highest point-total he’s amassed against any NHL team. “I just want to help the team win another hockey game tonight. I think one off my skills and strengths has always been that I’m the kind of guy who can just jump in anywhere and anytime. For me, it’s just a mental challenge and I have to be smart and pay attention to the small details.”
Head coach Michel Therrien believes Byron will ultimately bring some good attributes to the table.
“The situation we’ve been in lately made it difficult to make lineup changes. Even if sometimes you might be a little less satisfied with certain guys, the time was right to get Paul in there,” explained Therrien, who will feature the 26-year-old winger on a line with Torrey Mitchell and Devante Smith-Pelly, while Brian Flynn will ply his trade alongside Alex Galchenyuk and Lars Eller. “I’m excited to see Paul play. There are a lot of things that I like about him. I’ve seen a lot of good things at practice. He’s very fast, good on the forecheck, and I think he’ll cause our opponents to make mistakes. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to get him in there.”
- Defenseman Jeff Petry will be playing his first game against his former team since joining the Canadiens at the trade deadline last March. Petry, who began his NHL career in Edmonton in 2010-11 and played 295 regular season games with the Oilers, is excited to be back in his old stomping groups. But, things are a little bit different this time around, of course.
“It’s definitely different coming in and going left to the visitors' room. I had a chance to catch up with some of the guys this morning and get that out of the way just to be ready to play here,” offered Petry, who put up 17 goals, 74 points and 139 penalty minutes during his time in Alberta. “Somebody brought it to my attention that not only is it the first time I’ll be playing against them, but it’s the last time I’ll be playing here in this building. It’s going to be a special night.”
- Thursday night’s contest will give the Canadiens a first-hand look at rookie sensation Connor McDavid, who has been lighting opponents up as of late. McDavid has five goals and 10 points in 10 games this season, and Therrien’s troops are well aware that keeping the Oilers’ No.97 in check will be a tall task.
“I’ve skated with him a couple of times this summer, so I know a little bit about him. He doesn’t know, but I’ve been taking notes during summer skates, so I’ve got a notepad on him. I’m going to sit with the D-men and share what I know,” cracked P.K. Subban, who has one goal and 10 points in 10 games during the 2015-16 campaign. “He’s dynamic. You can see it when you watch the highlights. He can make plays at top speed. Only a few players in the world can do that. You have to be prepared, as a defenseman, to transition and move your feet to keep up with him and to take away his options. To take away time and space from a guy who can make plays at top speed isn’t easy. It can be done, though. He has to continue to gain experience, so we’ve got to take advantage of that.”
- Coming off a tough outing in Vancouver, Carey Price will once again get the start in goal on Thursday night in Edmonton. Following the morning skate, Therrien confirmed that Mike Condon would be between the pipes on Friday night in Calgary against the Flames.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 9 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on RDS and Rogers Sportsnet.
Probable lineup against Edmonton:
Game Preview: Canadiens @ Oilers
The Montreal Canadiens – evenko Blood Drive on November 18