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Game Day - Wild - November 8

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

- The Canadiens held an optional morning skate at the Bell Sports Complex on Saturday ahead of their tilt against the Minnesota Wild at the Bell Centre. While the game is scheduled to get underway at 7 p.m. EST, Guy Lapointe’s jersey retirement ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on TVA and CITY Montreal.

- Eighteen players took part in the on-ice session. The only absentees were Tomas Plekanec, P.K. Subban and Tom Gilbert.

- Travis Moen will return to the Canadiens’ lineup after missing the last two games as a healthy scratch. Jiri Sekac will also see action against Minnesota.

- After snapping a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night, Michel Therrien’s troops are eager to give Mike Yeo’s contingent all it can handle at the Bell Centre. Like Montreal, the Wild have struggled as of late, dropping their last two outings to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators, respectively. It’s no secret what the Canadiens have to do in order to be successful against the Wild, who currently rank atop the league in shots against per game (22.3).

“We’ve got to shoot the puck more, go to the net more, be more aggressive in front of the net, be hungrier and try to get a shot on net every chance we get because you never know if the shot will go in or not,” offered Alex Galchenyuk, who boasts four goals and eight points in 14 games during the 2014-15 campaign. “Sometimes, we overthink things and try to make a nicer play which doesn’t always work out.”

That being said, the Canadiens are still satisfied with their style of play, even if the group has collectively struggled to light the lamp on a consistent basis.

“We’ve let in too many goals in a couple of our games recently. At the same time, we like the way we’re trending right now. We put in a solid 65 minutes in the Buffalo game. Ultimately, what we’re looking at is playing and competing for a full game,” stressed Max Pacioretty, who leads the team alongside Tomas Plekanec and P.K. Subban with nine points on the season. “Obviously, the results haven’t always been there, but I think they’ll come.”

- That’s something Brendan Gallagher stressed on Saturday morning, too. The 22-year-old right-winger is in the midst of a scoring drought of his own, having failed to find the back of the net over the last nine games.

“I just think I have to execute on my chances. I feel like the scoring chances haven’t gone away. If anything, I’m getting more chances than I did earlier in the year. I’ve just got to find ways to put them in,” offered Gallagher, who has been held off the scoresheet since putting up two goals and three points in the Canadiens’ home opener back on Oct. 16. “The hard part is not letting it affect your play and continuing to play the same way. You have to know what the most important thing is, whether you’re scoring or not, and that’s winning hockey games. That’s what our job is, and if we continue to keep that as our main focus, we should be fine.”

- Manny Malhotra might be in the veritable infancy of his career with the Canadiens, but he’s well aware of just how significant jersey retirement ceremonies in Montreal can be.

“It’s something very special. When you head into the room here [in Brossard] and you see all of the photos on the wall and the faces behind you, it’s special. I had a chance to be a part of the retirement ceremony for Bob Gainey when I was with the Columbus Blue Jackets,” mentioned Malhotra, who was in the Bell Centre when Gainey’s No. 23 jersey was raised to the rafters back on Feb. 23, 2008. “I’ve seen just how special it is for the players and the fans, too. I’m excited to experience it.”

Pacioretty shared similar sentiments on Saturday morning.

“It’s definitely nice, especially a Saturday night game, to have some alumni here who’ve had so much success in the league and in this organization,” praised Pacioretty. “It’s a special night for everybody, not just for Guy. We’re honored to play in a game where his jersey and number are retired. It will be a lot of fun.”

- Carey Price should get the start in goal for the Canadiens on Saturday night. He boasts a 3-2-0 record and 2.79 goals-against average in five previous outings against Minnesota. For their part, the Wild will likely counter with Darcy Kuemper.

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