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CGY@MTL: Big return for Big Ben

The Habs will have defenseman Ben Chiarot back in the lineup as they look to make it two in a row on Monday against Calgary

by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL /

BROSSARD - After beating the Senators in Ottawa on Saturday, the Habs are hoping to make it two in a row and they'll have some reinforcements on the backend with the Calgary Flames in town on Monday night.

Those reinforcements come in the form of defenseman Ben Chiarot, who's returning to the lineup after a two-game absence due to a lower-body injury.

"It was one thing that was kind of just getting progressively worse and worse. I took the chance to get ahead of it, allow me to do what I need to do out there, be able to move like I need to move to be effective," outlined Chiarot, who has seven goals and 15 points in 44 games. "I needed to take a couple of days to do that so I could help the team out when I got back."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Ben Chiarot est de retour �� l'entra��nement ce matin �� Brossard.Big Ben is back at practice this morning. #GoHabsGo

Chiarot noted that morale in the room had improved after the Canadiens snapped their eight-game losing skid with an overtime win at the Canadian Tire Centre, but reminded reporters that the Habs still have a ways to go before they can really start to feel comfortable again.

"It's a little bit better, but we still have a deep hole to climb out of. Anytime you can get a win it takes the edge off a little bit. But we still need to be a desperate team and hungry team in here," declared the 6-foot-3, 225-pound rearguard. "That's the attitude we need to come with tonight."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Here's a look at the forward lines and defense pairings featured at Monday's morning skate at the Bell Sports Complex.#GoHabsGo

After all, the Flames are riding high right now. They have yet to lose a game in 2020 and currently occupy first place in a tight Pacific division race.

"They play hard. We had a tight game in their rink a few weeks ago," Chiarot said of the Habs' 4-3 overtime win at the Scotiabank Saddledome on December 19. "They have some high-end skill with that first line and a couple of their D. We'll look to shut them down and use our quick-skating team against what is a quick team as well. But they can play pretty heavy, so we'll use our skating and we should be alright."

Video: Ben Chiarot on his return

For a second straight game, the Canadiens will be facing off against a Tkachuk brother. And with the the Sens' Brady's brother Matthew of the Flames having a run-in with Edmonton's Zack Kassian the other night, the Habs know they'll have to watch out for any potential antics and stay focused on the task at hand.

"That's the way they play, it's their part of their skill set and it serves them well," shared head coach Claude Julien. "They're a family who have always played that way, from father to sons. They're important players on their respective teams.

"We can't get hung up on those kinds of things. We have a job to do."

Video: Claude Julien's pregame press conference vs. CGY

The Habs bench boss would like to see his team put its recent eight-game losing slide further in the rearview mirror with a win against a second Tkachuk brother on Monday, and hopes his team can deliver a consistent 60-minute effort to get there.

"Hopefully with that win in Ottawa… our third periods can get a little bit better versus being a little bit on our heels," concluded Julien. "We need a big game tonight against a team that's going in the right direction and battling well in their division."


Chiarot will replace Brett Kulak in the lineup, and that's not the only lineup change to expect from the home side on Monday. Julien told reporters it was likely that Jordan Weal would dress in place of Matthew Peca, who skated for 7:57 on Saturday in his first game back since December 10.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Claude Julien confirme que Ben Chiarot sera de retour ce soir �� la place de Kulak. Weal devrait prendre la place de Peca. Claude Julien confirms Chiarot will be back tonight, in place of Kulak. Weal should replace Peca in the lineup.#GoHabsGo

Carey Price was in the starter's net at Monday's morning skate, so expect him to face the Flames.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. For tickets to the game, click here.

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