BROSSARD – The Habs held an optional morning skate on Saturday at the Bell Sports Complex, ahead of the evening matchup against the San Jose Sharks.
After taking Friday off in favour of treatments, Ryan White and Andrei Markov were back on the ice.
George Parros, wearing a no-contact blue jersey, once again skated with his teammates.
Douglas Murray participated in the practice wearing a regular red jersey.
Brian Gionta, Francis Bouillon, David Desharnais, Tomas Plekanec and Travis Moen sat out the practice. All of them are, however, expected to participate in the game tonight.
P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov spent a good deal of time honing their one-timers at the tail end of the practice session.
After practice, two of the Canadiens’ recent call-ups talked about what it means to play against the 8-1-1 Sharks, one of the NHL’s strongest teams so far in the 2013-14 season.
“There are lots of good players in the league and San Jose is one of the best teams out there,” rookie right-winger Patrick Holland acknowledged. “Third game out, I’m getting familiar with the system and my linemates, we’re just going to keep it simple and earn the trust of the coaching staff. The chances are so rare in this league that an odd-man rush is sometimes the difference. You have to play so solid because as soon as you make a mistake, the other team is there to capitalize on it. You just have to bear down, wait for the other team’s mistakes and take advantage of that.”
Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu agrees that most of the game, at the pro level, is played between the ears.
“It’s important not to get too comfortable and feel like you can take a night off in this league. Anaheim was a good team and I thought we played well against them. Tonight it’s not going to be easy, it’ll take the whole team’s effort,” the rookie insisted. “We feel good coming off our last win, so it’s important to keep that going. It was tough being in and out of the line-up earlier this month, but now that I’m playing more, I feel a lot more confident on the ice. It’s tough to get your legs going when you don’t play a lot, and going from the American league to the NHL is a big jump, but mostly it’s a head game. You have to be mentally prepared, wherever you are.”
Facing off against the team which gave him his first taste of the NHL, assistant captain Josh Gorges believes that the 6-4 Habs can give the Sharks everything they can handle, and more.
“We’re going to need to be at our best tonight. We’re playing arguably the best team in the NHL right now. It’ll be a fight for the entire game. We need to play clean, sharp and compact. It’s a great challenge for us. As an athlete, you want to play against the best, and go stride for stride with them,” Gorges insisted.
Puck drop is scheduled at 7:00PM.
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