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MTL@CBJ: Opportunity knocks for Hudon

With Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron on the sidelines, Charles Hudon is hoping to make a good impression

by Pierre-Antoine Mercier. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski. @CanadiensMTL /

COLUMBUS - The Canadiens will battle the Blue Jackets for the second time in just seven days.

Exactly one week ago, Claude Julien's contingent completed an impressive comeback against Columbus at the Bell Centre, posting a 3-2 shootout victory. 

This time around, the Habs are the visitors at Nationwide Arena.

Julien fully expects the Blue Jackets to deliver another strong performance in front of their home crowd.

"They're a team that always works hard. They work hard this season, and they did last year as well. We're expecting a tough game. They're very aggressive and physical. The Jackets play a style of game that's never easy for their opponents," explained Julien, during his pregame press conference in Ohio. "They didn't surprise us in Montreal. We expected that type of game."

Video: Claude Julien's pregame press conference @ CBJ

A good opportunity for Hudon

Given the extended absences of forwards Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron, Charles Hudon is being presented with a prime opportunity to shine.

The Alma, QC native played his first game of the season with the Canadiens last Saturday, registering one shot on goal and dishing out a pair of hits while logging 7:55 of ice time against the New Jersey Devils.

Julien appreciated Hudon's performance in his return to Montreal.

"I thought he was good. He did some good things. He put shots on net. In his case, I think it's important to keep on playing with the same confidence he gained in Laval," stressed Julien. "We're encouraging him to keep going along that same track."

Video: Charles Hudon on his learning process in Laval

Before being recalled by the Canadiens, the 25-year-old winger was enjoying plenty of success in the AHL ranks.

Hudon scored six goals in his last five games, including a hat trick against the Belleville Senators.

According to Hudon, his stay with the Rocket was extremely beneficial.

"I worked on new ways to play with Joel Bouchard. I want to bring that into the NHL. I played two good periods against New Jersey and I want to build on that," mentioned the former fifth-round selection of the Canadiens in 2012. "I want to show a new version of my game. I've been working hard since the start of the year in Laval. My style brings a lot offensively, so I'd say it's helping me."

A confident Cale Fleury

Defenseman Cale Fleury is celebrating his 21st birthday on Tuesday.

A third-round selection of the Canadiens in 2017, Fleury secured himself an early birthday present when he scored his first career NHL goal over the weekend at the Bell Centre.

Video: Cale Fleury on his confidence level

After being scratched on several occasions to start the year, Fleury has played in the last 12 games.

The fact that the coaching staff is showing confidence in him game after game is helping to develop his sense of self-assurance as well.

"I think it helps a little bit. I'm going to try and be confident no matter what happens. I think if I'm not confident, I'm not playing well," said Fleury, following the optional skate at Nationwide Arena. "I try not let that affect me too much if I get taken out of the lineup, but I think being in is a good sign from the coaching staff that I'm doing my job."

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