BROSSARD - After making three straight starts, goaltender Carey Price is being given a well-deserved break on Wednesday night.
Charlie Lindgren will get the start in goal against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bell Centre.
It will mark his third start of the season with the big club, and his first since January 7 when he turned aside 26 of 30 shots in a 4-3 loss to the Red Wings in Detroit.
What's the reasoning behind the switch? Head coach Claude Julien wants Price to be fresh for the tail end of the back-to-back in Philadelphia on Thursday.
"Carey will face the Flyers. They're a team in our conference," said Julien, following the optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex. "That's why Lindgren will be in goal tonight."
Video: Claude Julien's pregame press conference vs. CHI
No doubt Lindgren and the rest of the Canadiens will have their hands full going up against players like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat.
Kane, who leads the Blackhawks in scoring with 59 points on the year, is always a threat whenever he jumps over the boards.
Former Chicago teammate Dale Weise knows exactly what Kane is capable of.
"He just never panics when he has the puck. Most guys, you're pressuring them, guys start to panic and they want to get rid of it. He almost welcomes that confrontation. He's so skilled, he's so poised, he's dangerous whenever he's on the ice," explained Weise, regarding the three-time Stanley Cup champion. "He can slow the play down, he can play fast, he goes east-west, he cuts back. He's just so dangerous individually."
With that in mind, the recipe for success and a third straight victory remains a total team effort from start to finish.
Getting into a back-and-forth affair with Jeremy Colliton's contingent would be a major mistake, according to Ryan Poehling.
"You've just got to play them hard. You don't want to get caught playing the up-down game with them because they've got a lot of skilled players on their team," insisted Poehling. "If we can slow them down and kind of finish checks, and just get in front of them, I think that will help us a lot in the transition game and keeping pucks in deep and kind of create some offensive time."
Speaking of Poehling, he's coming off a solid performance against the Calgary Flames earlier in the week.
All of his hard work down low paid off with his first goal of the season just shy of the midway point of the third period.
Right now, the 21-year-old Lakeville, MN native is enjoying the opportunity to play alongside both Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Nick Cousins.
"Our line has done a good job of playing well and doing the right things and getting rewarded for it a little bit," praised Poehling. "It comes in spurts, so tonight hopefully we can keep that momentum going and kind of help our team towards a victory."
Video: Ryan Poehling on his play of late
Joining forces with Kotkaniemi, in particular, has been a real thrill for Poehling. The St. Cloud State University product believes there's good chemistry there.
"He's a fun guy to play with. He's got a lot of skill and a hard shot. I just have to work hard and give him the puck, and then get to the net," mentioned Poehling. "If he can get pucks there, I'll be waiting for them. I think that's why we gel well together."
Kotkaniemi wholeheartedly appreciates the partnership as well.
"He skates well. He's a fast guy who works hard. And obviously his skill set, too," noted Kotkaniemi. "I think everybody in the locker room would like to play with him."
Watching and learning
There's no shortage of role models for Nick Suzuki to observe in the Canadiens' locker room.
They're all around him, including Price and captain Shea Weber, and Suzuki is soaking up lessons aplenty.
"It's more about watching them, what they do. Pricey's here really early in the gym preparing his body. Same with Shea. They prepare their bodies very well for games and practices," said Suzuki. "That's something not a lot of people do in Junior, especially me. I didn't do too much of that. But now I'm trying to learn that and be prepared."
Video: Nick Suzuki on the Canadiens' veterans
It's clearly paying off in the production department. He ranks fifth in the League among rookies in both goals (9) and points (27).
Nate Thompson and Phillip Danault have also been important mentors for Suzuki in his freshman season.
In short, he's being given the best possible education every single day.
"All the guys I've looked up to since I've gotten here, just the preparation and detail that they put into their work is pretty crazy," said Suzuki. "I try to learn from them."