- The Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Saturday morning ahead of their 7:00 p.m. game against the visiting Minnesota Wild.
- Mike Condon will once again get the start in goal for the Habs following a 3-2 win against the Sabres on Thursday. The 25-year-old netminder has earned points in six of his last eight starts, going 4-2-2 over that span.
- Lars Eller (flu) and Stefan Matteau (lower body) will be out of the lineup against the Wild.
- Called up from St. John’s on Friday, forward Charles Hudon and defenseman Darren Dietz were both at practice on Saturday.
Hudon formed a line with Tomas Plekanec and Paul Byron during the morning skate, a pleasant surprise for the Alma, QC born forward.
“When I got here this morning, I texted my parents to tell them I wasn’t playing because I didn’t see my name on the fourth line,” admitted Hudon, who is making his second stint in Montreal this season. “But when Sven [Andrighetto] showed me I was actually playing on the second line, I texted my parents right back! I wasn’t expecting it, but now it’s up to me to prove that I’m capable of being a Top 6 forward. That’s what I intend on doing tonight.”
- Dietz for his part was paired with Victor Bartley on the back end. Despite getting his first NHL call up, there were a lot of familiar faces in the lineup for the 22-year-old rearguard.
“It’s great to have already played with a lot of the guys around here. It makes things a little bit more comfortable, and it kinda helps calm me down,” underlined the Medicine Hat, AB native, who joins a number of fellow IceCaps call ups in Montreal recently. “I’m going to try to be a simple defenseman, make a good first pass, and follow up on the play and create some offense if it’s available. But mostly I’m going to try to be steady.”
- Dietz was called up to fill in for P.K. Subban, who suffered a neck injury against the Sabres on Thursday. Out of the lineup against Minnesota, Subban will miss a first game due to injury in his career.
“He’s had a very healthy career and has been fortunate to not have to miss too many games. Obviously he’s a very important part of this team and eats up important minutes. It’s going to be different, but we’re going to have to have a next man up attitude,” acknowledged captain Max Pacioretty. “We can’t worry about things we can’t control -- we just have to worry about playing hard.”
That sentiment was shared across the dressing room on Saturday.
“It’s going to be different without him in the locker room. We’re going to miss him, but at the end of the day I’m glad he’s okay,” added Alex Galchenyuk, who is currently enjoying a hot streak to the tune of 11 goals in his last eight games. “It was a scary moment but I’m happy he’s going to be back soon.”
- Facing a Minnesota team that currently sits ninth in the West, just two points out of a playoff spot, the Habs will have home ice advantage on their side in Saturday’s important matchup. Having dropped just a single regulation loss at the Bell Centre since the month of February, the Canadiens have enjoyed a 7-1-1 record over that span.
“We’ve definitely had success at home. I think it’s special for a lot of these young guys to come play in the best building in the League for the first time. A lot of guys are playing either their first NHL game or their first game with the Habs at the Bell Centre. It adds a little more energy on the ice, even for the guys who have been here for awhile,” concluded Pacioretty. “We’ve played some good hockey as of late though, so it doesn’t matter who’s in the lineup. With the system we have in place, we have the ability to outwork teams and it puts us in any game and gives us a chance. We found that out the last two games and hopefully we can keep it going.”
- Saturday’s game will be broadcast on Sportsnet and TVA Sports, beginning at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Forward lines and defensive pairings at practice:
De La Rose-McCarron-Mitchell