- The Canadiens hit the ice on Wednesday morning at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh in preparation for their midweek tilt against the Penguins.
- There were nearly as many Habs jerseys in the stands as there were on the ice during the morning skate, as the players’ dads filled a section of the arena to take in their sons’ practice as part of Canadiens’ 2015-16 Father & Son Road Trip.
“It’s special. I had a nice meal with him last night and got to introduce him to the guys,” revealed Nathan Beaulieu, whose father Jacques was sporting a familiar No. 28 jersey at practice. “Growing up he coached a lot of hockey and our seasons were at the same time, so he didn’t get to see me play much. Opportunities like this go a long way. I know Geoff Molson arranges this every year for our moms or our dads, and it shows a lot of class. We’re very appreciative of it.”
Indeed, fathers arrived from all over to spend the special day with their sons.
“He had to come in late because of work, but it’s just awesome spending time with him now,” added Max Pacioretty, whose father Raymond flew in on Wednesday morning. “A lot of the guys’ dads were around hockey when we were kids, so they have a pretty good understanding of what goes on in here, but my dad never played hockey in his life. He’s learning something new every minute and he’s having a lot of fun right now.”
Following the morning skate, the proud pops went on a tour of Pittsburgh while the Habs continued with their regular game day routines.
- Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that there would be no roster changes on Wednesday, opting to stick with Saturday’s winning lineup against Boston.
“It’s very encouraging for us as a team. We have four lines right now that can all generate offense and score,” underlined Lars Eller, who will once again play alongside Alex Galchenyuk and Devante Smith-Pelly. “We’ve seen our fourth line scoring big goals which have won us games recently and that depth has been a big part of our success.”
- Mike Condon will likewise be back in goal for the Habs, making his fifth consecutive start since Carey Price was announced to be sidelined with an injury prior to last Sunday's game against the Jets. Condon has gone 3-0-1 over that stretch so far, earning the NHL’s Third Star of the Week honor along the way.
“We know that Carey’s our best player, but we also know that this is an opportunity for us to make some noise,” continued Pacioretty. “Obviously as individuals we want to prove that we can be one of the best teams in the league. A guy like Condo’s felt that pressure and has used it as motivation. It’s been great so far but this is just the start. We still want to continue getting better with every game.”
- The Penguins have been hot since the last time these two teams met, going 9-2 since falling to the Habs on October 13.
“They’re always a tough team to beat. Just look at their lineup,” admitted Therrien. “We’ll need to be structurally sound tonight to come out with the win. We’ll be facing top-tier players.”
That certainly includes Sidney Crosby, despite the fact that the Pens captain has only registered a pair of goals and five assists through 12 games so far this season.
“That’s actually scary. He’s the best player in the world for a reason, so he’s about to take off soon, I’m sure,” added Beaulieu, who will once again be tasked with containing Pittsburgh’s stars with Tom Gilbert on the blue line. We’re not going to change our approach going into this game. He’s a special player. We’re not paying too much attention to his stats, we have to respect the player he is.”
- Puck drop at the CONSOL Energy Center is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on RDS, Sportsnet, and NBCSN.
From the room
Game Preview: Canadiens @ Penguins