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Oilers in the East

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

BROSSARD – The Habs prep to face Edmonton’s young guns… possibly without the services of Andrei Kostitsyn.

The element of surprise: With three games of tap this week, all against western conference clubs, the Canadiens prepare for the task of dealing with the trio of unfamiliar teams by doing their homework as best they can – starting with the Oilers.

“To be honest, I don’t really know what to expect from any of them,” admitted Michael Cammalleri when questioned about the Oilers’ young guns. “We haven’t really seen much of these guys, so the best thing for us to do is not be too concerned with how they’re going to play, but about how we’re going to play. The coaches do everything they can to prepare us for a game like this, it’s our job to absorb all the information that we’ve been getting over the last couple of days and be prepared for tonight.

Canadiens vs. Oilers

“It’d be nice to get off to a strong start tonight,” added the Habs sniper, currently enjoying a hot-streak of five points in as many games. “There are a lot of young guys on their team; guys that don’t have much experience playing in the Bell Centre, so it would be good for us to get the jump on them early.”

Linemates: After failing to make it to the end of practice for two consecutive days, Andrei Kostitsyn could face the possibility of being sidelined from the action when the puck drops against the Oilers at 7:30 p.m. That still didn’t stop Travis Moen from throwing some praise at his linemate’s recent performance.

“Andrei’s been playing great since the beginning of the season. He’s playing with passion, he’s skating well and he’s getting off a lot of shots. When he’s got all those elements going, he’s a dangerous player and we hope he keeps going like he is,” dropped Moen on Kostitsyn’s three points in the team’s last three games.

“I’m sure he’ll wind up scoring more than me, but I’m just trying to keep up as best I can,” joked Moen who’s four goals thus far in 2011-12 put him only one behind Kostitsyn’s five markers.

Jacques talk: With a question mark still hanging over Kostitsyn hours before the Habs’ match-up with the Oilers and Scott Gomez still not cleared for contact, head-coach Jacques Martin offered up some possible changes to Tuesday’s lineup should the Belarus native not take to the ice.

“Kostitsyn is doubtful for tonight after leaving practice. I haven’t really had the chance to talk to the trainers yet, but we’ll have to see how he is come game time. We’ve got 21 bodies here though, so if Andrei can’t play, we’ll go with seven defensemen,” explained Martin.

“This could represent a chance for Emelin to get back in the lineup,” added the Habs head coach. “We could also use Yannick Weber as a forward – he helped us earlier in the season up front. One of the attributes he brings to our team is that’s he’s a very versatile player so it’s definitely an option for us tonight.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for

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