ST. PAUL - The Canadiens are a confident bunch heading into Thursday night's contest against the Minnesota Wild.
With three wins in their last four games and 18 goals during that span - including 13 in their last two outings alone - it's safe to say that Claude Julien's troops are feeling good about themselves as they begin a three-game road trip in the State of Hockey.
"I think it's about confidence in execution. When things are going well, confidence takes over and everything we've been working on falls into place and the guys gain confidence. We're hoping to build on that success," said Julien, who won't be making any lineup changes against Bruce Boudreau's club, aside from featuring Carey Price in goal. "Things have started to come around now. Confidence comes with seeing things go the right way. That makes a big difference for us."
Video: Claude Julien's press conference
Julien's charges are certainly in agreement there. Finding the back of the net in bunches as of late has done the group as a whole a world of good.
"I feel like everyone was a little bit snake-bitten at the start of the year, but you break through that and the confidence is going, the morality in the room is happy and everyone's good," mentioned Andrew Shaw, who confirmed that he will be uniform after missing Wednesday's practice in Brossard with the flu. "I think it's a nice part of it as well."
As for the key to the Canadiens' recent success… Shaw insists that it starts with playing hard from start to finish, avoiding those lapses that cost them dearly in early-to-mid October.
Video: Andrew Shaw confirms that he'll play against the Wild
"I think we're playing a full 60. We're still getting caught in our end at some points, but we're working through it, making sure we're keeping pucks to the outside. I think the big thing is a full 60," said the hard-nosed right-winger. "When it happens, all lines are going to start scoring and things are going our way."
Things have definitely been going Max Pacioretty's way in the scoring department. With three goals in his last four outings, the Canadiens' captain has found his touch again and is primed to keep things rolling.
"We're professionals. We approach each game as if it's an opportunity to make a statement, and whether we've won or lost the last game, it shouldn't change," stressed Pacioretty, who sits tied with Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk with a team-leading four goals so far this season. "I think throughout the year the mindset has been pretty good and the mood's been good, the emotions have been high and that's what it feels like to be on a good team."
Video: Max Pacioretty on playing a confident brand of hockey
Julien is eager to see what Pacioretty, Shaw and fellow linemate Phillip Danault can accomplish against a Wild squad that is notoriously stingy defensively.
"I think it's been a good blend so far [on the line]. For some reason, they seem to have decent chemistry. That line has been good for us. I think we're starting to see a little bit more of that on a lot of our lines right now," said Julien, knowing full well that playing Minnesota always presents a challenge - especially in their own barn. "We're going to have to work really hard to score goals. They're pretty solid in their own end. Hopefully the confidence from last game, our speed and our execution will give them some fits and hopefully we'll find a way to come out on top."