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Notebook - Feb. 5, 2013

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

BROSSARD – In today’s Notebook: Pacioretty gives props, Eller on ice-time and what it takes to beat the Bruins.

Props from Patches: With the Canadiens enjoying the success they’ve had early in their 2012-13 campaign, a lot of focus has been aimed towards the changes that have gone on within the team both on and off the ice. While it’s hard to argue that those changes have made the Habs into a better, more well-rounded team, Max Pacioretty took the time Tuesday morning to point out that some of the team’s biggest assets have been there all along.

“I don’t know why people were saying that Pleky [Tomas Plekanec] didn’t have a good year because that’s not true at all,” mentioned Pacioretty, on his teammate’s line exploding out of the gate this season, with Plekanec in particular having notched seven points in his first eight games. “He’s been a 70-point player in this league and he’s led the team in points pretty much ever since I’ve been here. He’s one of the most steady forwards I’ve ever played with. He can play a different role in almost every game and he’s kind of what makes our team go.”

Carey Price

Pacioretty also had a few words of praise for Plekanec’s linemate, Rene Bourque who’s been filling the mandate of becoming the impact player the Habs were looking for when they acquired him from Calgary.

“He was playing hurt all year last season and if you look at his numbers over the years, he’s pretty much always a 20-goal scorer,” added Pacioretty.” The players in this room knew what he was capable of, we knew he was going to step up and help this team and so far he’s done a great job of it.”

Business as usual: The rivalry between the Boston Bruins and the Canadiens is one that stretches far back into the depths of NHL history. Games between the clubs are well known for their intensity, and more often than not over the last few years, the Bruins have had the edge over Montreal when it comes to physical play. But all that could change on Wednesday night when the revamped Canadiens play host to their biggest rivals.

“I think we want to show everybody that we’re tougher to play against, not only against the Bruins,” explained Carey Price, who was in nets for both games this weekend. “It might be cliché, but every preparation for every game is the same. Just because it’s Boston doesn’t mean we’re going to change it.”

While the season may still be in its early stages, Wednesday night’s game will likely decide who will emerge as the Northeast division leaders when the dust clears. With only 48 games to play, the tilt against the Bruins will give the Habs a better idea where they stand among the Eastern Conference’s elite teams.

The Habs at practice in Brossard

“We just have to continue what we’re doing,” said Price, who won two of his six starts against the Bruins last season. “We can’t worry about who we’re playing. We just have to worry what we’re doing on the ice.

Earning ice time: While it seemed as though last year’s Canadiens did almost nothing but deal with a season-long string of injuries, the 2012-13 edition of the team is among the deepest in the league. Despite picking up three points against the Sabres on Saturday, Lars Eller was assigned to the fourth line on Sunday in wake of Pacioretty’s return.

“If you’d ask all the guys on the fourth line, they would all say that they would love to be higher in the lineup. Same goes for me. I’m trying to earn my ice time. I take pride in what I do. I continue working hard during practice and in games,” explained Eller, who remains unsure if he’ll be in Wednesday night’s lineup against the Bruins. “We have a really deep team and we’re all playing good hockey now and winning. I’m sure the coaches will have to make some hard decisions.”

While they may have a record of 6-2-0 so far in 2012-13, members of the team that were around last year know how fast that can change, and that’s why they’re savouring every moment of their time on the ice.

“There’s confidence in the whole room, but at the same time, we’re a humble team, too,” added Eller. “We’re not satisfied with where we are now, we still want more. Especially after the season we had last year.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for

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