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Notebook - Oct. 15, 2011

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL -- The Habs know there’s no better time to get their first win at home than during a Saturday night tilt at the Bell Centre.

Simplify: As the Canadiens get set to take on the Avalanche in their only meeting of the season, every Hab who chose to attend the optional Saturday morning skate had the same thing in mind: taking their game to the next level.

“We spent this week getting back to basics. We didn’t have the start to the season we were hoping for, but we’ve also only played three games. We’re not panicking, but we know it’s time to take it up a notch,” mentioned Lars Eller, who will get the chance to test out his shoulder again Saturday night against the Colorado squad.

“I don’t know if their size will be a factor. Having the bigger team doesn’t necessarily guarantee you the win. It’s going to come down to who is the more disciplines team over the full 60 minutes,” finished Eller who will be skating on a line with Erik Cole and Tomas Plekanec.

No one to blame: After a disappointing home opener against the Flames, the Canadiens are refocused on their latest adversary, the Colorado Avalanche, ready to make the necessary adjustments needed to win – no excuses required.

“We might have injuries, but if you really look at it, us losing that game had nothing to do with injuries but with a lack of execution on our part,” pointed out Mathieu Darche, who shared the team lead with four shots on goal, Thursday night. “If we had played really well in all of our games and we could look back and say we lost because we were missing players, then we could blame it on injuries. Not to take anything away from Calgary because they came in here and played a great game, but we beat ourselves in that match, not because of the injuries, but because of the way we played.”

The extra man: Up to this point in the season, Jacques Martin’s troops have only managed a single powerplay goal in 13 opportunities. The Habs head-coach has no doubt that his team’s success against the Avalanche hinges on their production with the man advantage.

“The proof is in the numbers. If you can dominate special teams, you’ll end up having a pretty good chance to win the game,” explained Martin. “You can see a good example of that in our last game. Calgary scored two goals with the man advantage, we didn’t score any. It's what made the difference.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for

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