BROSSARD - The Canadiens were upbeat, refreshed, and anxious to get down to business ahead of Tuesday night's showdown against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre, which marks their latest shot at redemption after going 0-3 on their California road trip.
After an up-tempo on-ice workout in Monday's practice at the Bell Sports Complex, captain Max Pacioretty described the positive vibes circulating around his team's locker room.
"I really do [like it] a lot. There have been meetings, and guys have talked individually. I really liked practice yesterday and the energy at practice today. Guys were hungry. Guys said to just park what's happened behind us and move on," said the third-year captain. "It's obviously not the start we wanted, but we're excited to have the opportunity to turn it around and be a part of something special. We feel we have that group. We have to play emotionally tonight to prove it."
Video: Max Pacioretty on his team's body language
Center Phillip Danault found himself back in Pacioretty's company midway through the game against Anaheim. He'll once again be pivoting a line with the five-time 30-goal scorer on Tuesday - with Andrew Shaw rounding out the trio - and credits his winger's leadership with keeping spirits high despite the rough patch their team has been going through.
"We saw it in LA - he took the blame. He was very hard on himself, but that's what makes him a good captain," praised Danault of Pacioretty. "He's a leader, and he wants to win. Everybody in the room wants to win as well."
Video: Phillip Danault on his line
Jonathan Drouin has only played a pair of regular season games as a Hab in Montreal, but feels that a homecoming, combined with his team's positive energy, should lead to a productive outing for his squad.
"It's always fun to come back home, especially when you have three games. We want to use the Bell Centre energy. Still, we haven't played so well at home and it's on us to start winning there. We want other teams to know that it's tough to play us at the Bell Centre," explained the Sainte Agathe native. "They should be intimidated. But it's definitely fun to come home and have that energy from the crowd."
Video: Jonathan Drouin on coming back home
Team Iron Man Karl Alzner will be suiting up for a 549th consecutive game, but the dance against the Panthers marks a slightly different milestone for the 10-year veteran: it will be the 600th of his career. That said, the affable defenseman has his sights set on other feats.
"It's a big achievement, but I try not to think about it a whole lot. If you start worrying about protecting that, then you don't play your game the way you're supposed to play. There was a fair bit of hoopla over it last year and we got a lot of it out of the way. It's a pat on the back," he concluded, "but it's way down on the list of things I'd like to accomplish in the League."
Video: Karl Alzner on his 600th career game