- The Canadiens held a full game day skate at Joe Louis Arena on Monday.
- Called up from Hamilton on Sunday, defenseman Greg Pateryn skated with his teammates at practice although head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that the 24-year-old will not make his 2014-15 debut against the Red Wings. Tom Gilbert will be back in the lineup after missing Saturday’s game against Toronto.
- Therrien also confirmed that no changes will be made up front, opting to keep Saturday's lineup intact with Jiri Sekac once again a healthy scratch. Carey Price should get the start in goal.
- After watching star defenseman P.K. Subban log a career-high 35:21 of ice team against the Maple Leafs over the weekend, Therrien stressed that he is not anticipating another ironman outing from the Canadiens’ assistant captain on Monday.
“We don’t expect him to play 35 minutes again tonight. Last game was the result of a unique set of circumstances – losing Sergei [Gonchar] for the game and Nathan [Beaulieu] for most of the second period – but luckily for us, P.K. is the type of guy who rises to those kinds of challenges,” praised the Habs’ bench boss. “He’s a guy who’s able to learn and we couldn’t have asked for more from him last game. He was extraordinary.”
Subban for his part insisted that despite the heavy workload, he’s ready to go for another marathon outing should his coach call for it.
“I feel good, but it helps when we don’t have practice [the next day]. I always enjoy sleeping in a bit,” cracked the 25-year-old, who nevertheless stressed that it’s not the quantity of minutes that count so much as the quality. “Part of being a pro is managing your body and I’m feeling good today. Whether I play five minutes or 35 minutes tonight, what I just need to make sure of most of all, is that I’m playing the best that I can. Every minute counts against these guys.”
- Coming off a string of games against teams struggling in the standings, the Canadiens now get set to face a Red Wings squad currently ranked third in the Atlantic Division, just four points behind Montreal.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a crucial game yet, but it’s a good test to see where we are right now. There’s still a lot of hockey left to be played before the end of the season, but tonight’s a good opportunity to extend our lead atop the division,” admitted David Desharnais, who has racked up seven points in seven career games against Detroit. “They’ve got guys like Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk who are always dangerous, and also young guys like Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist who are very good.”
If the Red Wings have earned a reputation among the NHL’s elite over the years, part of that is thanks to one particular aspect of their play.
“They’re a good puck possession team and they’ll often skate right into your zone with the puck rather than dumping and chasing,” explained Max Pacioretty, who has picked up a pair of assists in two against Detroit this season. “Our job is going to be to force them into making mistakes. We’re going to need to be patient and play a full 60 minutes.”
- Currently in one of the busiest stretches of the 2014-15 season, with 14 games over 28 days in February, staying healthy will be key as the regular season begins to wind down.
“You need to really take care of your body at this point in the year. I went to bed earlier than usual last night, because it’s important to be rested,” added Pacioretty, who will make his 375th NHL start on Monday at just 26 years of age. “That’s where the years of experience can pay off – knowing how to take of yourself after games and doing the right things off the ice to feel good when you’re on it. I’m confident that the guys in this room are mature enough to make the right decisions and come out with full energy every night."