DETROIT - The Canadiens skated at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Saturday morning in preparation for their game against the Red Wings.
- Following the morning skate, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that Artturi Lehkonen would be in uniform on Saturday night after missing the last nine games with an upper-body injury. Chris Terry will be a healthy scratch.
Lehkonen, who hasn't seen game action since November 5 against the Philadelphia Flyers, has been eagerly anticipating his return to active duty - which the Finnish forward says was made possible with the assistance of the Canadiens' outstanding medical and training staff over the last few weeks.
"I feel good. I think the medical team did a great job getting me back together and really helping me out and getting me into full game-shape," said Lehkonen, who is hoping to get involved in Saturday night's game quickly. "Of course, you want to have a good start and really get it going from there. I'm just going to try to do what I can and really give my 100 percent out there."
Video: Artturi Lehkonen on returning to the lineup
- There are a few players on the Canadiens' roster who are quite familiar with Joe Louis Arena already. One of them is Michigan native Jeff Petry, who fondly recalls playing at the second-oldest building currently in use in the NHL ranks long before he was a rearguard at hockey's highest level.
"I remember playing Midget hockey here for Little Caesars and playing games here in college [for Michigan State University], and then playing here in the NHL," said Petry, who will have family members and friends aplenty in attendance on Saturday night to mark his return to the Motor City. "I've played in this building quite a few times, and I think it's a little extra special with it being the last year [before the Red Wings move to Little Caesars Arena]."
Captain Max Pacioretty is another member of the Canadiens with strong ties to the Great Lakes State. Back in 2007-08, he played his one and only year at the University of Michigan where he put up 15 goals and 39 points in 37 games, en route to helping the Wolverines reach the NCAA Frozen Four in Denver.
Video: Max Pacioretty on playing at Joe Louis Arena
Pacioretty played his fair share of games at Joe Louis Arena while at Michigan, and it just so happens that his mother, Ana, has a soft spot for the Red Wings, too.
"In college, we played here a lot. I came to a lot of Wings games when I was in college. It's my mom's second favorite team, so we always had to watch them when I was younger," said Pacioretty. "It's just a lot of fun [at Joe Louis Arena]. I love the way they do things - the old-school music and the organist when they announce the starting lineup. There's just a lot of history. It's really cool."
- The Canadiens will be trying to get this extended road swing off to a strong start on Saturday night and set the tone for games to come on the West Coast in Anaheim, San Jose and Los Angeles. It's a divisional matchup, so there's added incentive to find a way to get the job done before making the trek across the country on Sunday afternoon.
"They're kind of looking to turn things around with how things have gone lately for them," mentioned Pacioretty, referencing the Red Wings' recent four-game losing streak, before they rattled off a pair of wins in their two most recent outings. "They played last night [in New Jersey], so we've got to try and jump on them early. A team like this, they probably already feel desperate. They're used to winning in this organization. Making the playoffs seems non-negotiable for an organization like this. They expect it every year. They're going to try to bear down to make sure they make that a reality this year."
- Carey Price will get the start in goal for the Canadiens. He boasts a 12-1-1 record, a 1.71 goals-against average and a .945 save percentage in 14 outings during the 2016-17 campaign. The All-World netminder blanked the Red Wings 5-0 with a 25-save performance when the two teams last met on November 12 in Montreal.
- To see the lines the Canadiens featured at the morning skate, click here.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet and TVA Sports, as well as on TSN Radio 690 and 98,5 fm.