Shuffling the deck:
With the return to lineup of both Alex Tanguay and Georges Laraque, Guy Carbonneau once again juggled his lines. While Tanguay will skate with Tomas Plekanec
and Tom Kostopoulos, Laraque will team up with Steve Begin and Maxim Lapierre. Saku Koivu will be flanked by two of the youngest players on the roster, Andrei Kostitsyn and Matt D’Agostini.
“Andrei is a really good player and we all know what he can do,” said Koivu. “D’Agostini was the best player in the AHL when he was called up and he looked solid even at training camp. He’s got a really good shot and works really hard.”Homebase:
The Canadiens will play their second home game of a seven-game stint at the Bell Centre tonight, marking the longest homestand of the season. Head coach Guy Carbonneau is glad to be home, but doesn’t want his crew getting too comfortable.
“There's the good side of being home for so long like no travel and being able to get some extra practice to work on some of the finer details. But then you also have guys at home watching TV and reading what’s written about them in the paper,” warned Carbonneau. “It's up to us take the positives and make them count.”License to Ilya:
While he might potentially be relegated to the fourth line tonight against the Habs, the Thrashers' Ilya Kovalchuk remains one of the top players in the league. Fellow countryman Andrei Markov
doesn’t have to be reminded about Kovalchuk’s sick arsenal of moves.
“He’s a threat whenever he steps on the ice,” said Markov, who won gold with Kovalchuk at the World Hockey Championship this summer. “We never want to give him too much space out there. He just does everything with so much speed. We’re going to have keep an close eye on him.”
“Whether he’s on the first or the fourth line, he’s going to be dangerous,” added Markov’s blue line partner, Josh Gorges
. “If anything that demotion might just make him even hungrier and more motivated.” Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com