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Game Day – Red Wings – March 29

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

- The Canadiens held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Detroit Red Wings at the Bell Centre. It will mark the second meeting between the two teams in less than a week. Last Thursday night, Michel Therrien’s troops dropped a 4-3 decision at Joe Louis Arena after going down 4-0 through 40 minutes of play.

- P.K. Subban took part in Tuesday morning’s on-ice session. It was confirmed on Monday, however, that the Canadiens’ No. 76 wouldn’t be suiting up against Detroit. Subban will be missing his ninth consecutive game as a result of a non-serious neck injury.

Jacob De La Rose returns to the Canadiens' lineup on Tuesday night.

- As per usual, several injured players hit the ice before practice got underway. Brendan Gallagher, Lucas Lessio and Brian Flynn skated a little earlier than the rest of the group. Gallagher and Lessio then continued working out with their teammates and sported white “no contact” jerseys.

- The Canadiens will be featuring only one lineup change on Tuesday night. After being a healthy scratch for the last two games, Jacob De La Rose will play in place of Stefan Matteau.

“First of all, I want to have a good game and help the team win. It’s a good chance for me to prove that I’m good enough to stay in the lineup,” said De La Rose, who will be playing his 21st game of the season with the Canadiens. “I’m trying to pick up as much experience as I can every day and to learn from the older guys here. It’s the same every day for me. I get more experience and I keep on developing myself.”

- The Red Wings find themselves right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference playoff race, sitting tied with the Philadelphia Flyers with 87 points for the second wild card spot, two points back of the New York Islanders. The Flyers, however, have one game in hand, and given that they’re idle tonight, picking up points is of primordial importance for Jeff Blashill’s contingent on Tuesday night. The Canadiens know this and have to be prepared for Detroit to come out flying.

“When we played in Detroit, it was a tough second period for us, but I thought we bounced back and almost tied the game. That’s how we have to play from the start. We’ve got to come out and dictate the game, not let them do it,” said Alex Galchenyuk, who picked up an assist last Thursday night in Michigan to register his 50th point of the season. “It’s going to be a hard game tonight. They will show up ready to go because things are so close in the playoff race. They’re battling for it, so we have to show up and be ready to play.”

For his part, Galchenyuk is just three goals shy of reaching the 30-goal mark for the first time in his young NHL career. He isn’t about to let the prospect of hitting that plateau cloud his thinking right now, though.

“Honestly, I don’t really think about it. Without thinking about numbers obviously when you come to the rink, you want to contribute. People talk about it and it’s hard to ignore,” said Galchenyuk. “But no, I don’t focus on the 30-goal mark.”

- Following the morning skate, Brendan Gallagher confirmed that he’d be accompanying the team to Florida on Wednesday afternoon. The Canadiens’ No. 11 has missed the last 10 games with a lower-body injury suffered on March 5 against the Winnipeg Jets. While his playing status has yet to be determined, it’s safe to say Gallagher is eagerly anticipating a return to active duty sooner rather than later.

“I’ll be on the trip. I’ll hope to play on it. There are a lot of people who’ll make that decision. But, I’m feeling good. I feel like I can come back here pretty quickly and help the team. That’s all I want to do,” said Gallagher, who also missed significant playing time earlier in the year after suffering a pair of broken fingers while trying to block a shot. “Even though we’re not in the situation we want to be in, the games still matter. There’s still something on the line. We’re all competitive guys. You don’t go into any game with the expectation of anything less than getting a win. I just miss the feeling of getting on the ice and competing.”

Being sidelined isn’t something Gallagher is used to since joining the NHL ranks back in 2012-13. In fact, over the last two years, the Edmonton native has missed just one regular season game before the injury bug affected him during the 2015-16 campaign.

“It’s something I’ve always prided myself on, staying healthy and playing a hard-style game, but at the same time not getting hurt. It’s tough this year the way it’s happened. I haven’t been able to help the team as much as I would have liked,” shared Gallagher, who has 18 goals and 35 points in 49 games this season. “Certainly, it’s something that I haven’t been all that happy to deal with, but it’s something to learn from for me. I certainly hope it doesn’t happen again.”

- Mike Condon will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. It will mark his 47th start of the season. The Red Wings, meanwhile, will counter with Petr Mrazek between the pipes.

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet East and RDS.

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