The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Tuesday morning in preparation for their home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Bell Centre.
- While still recovering from a severe case of the flu, goaltender Carey Price hit the ice for a second straight day on Tuesday, taking part in the morning skate along with the rest of his teammates. Price will not be in uniform against Pittsburgh, though. Al Montoya will make his third consecutive start, while Charlie Lindgren will serve as his backup. Marc-Andre Fleury will get the start for the Penguins.
- The Canadiens will insert Brian Flynn into the lineup against Pittsburgh, opting to make Daniel Carr a healthy scratch. Flynn skated on a line with Phillip Danault and Torrey Mitchell on Tuesday morning.
"In Flynn's case, he's a player we can use at different positions. He's good on faceoffs and he's capable of killing penalties," said head coach Michel Therrien. "He had a good camp. I want to take advantage of this opportunity to put him in the lineup. He can bring some things that we've been missing, especially in the faceoff department."
Therrien says the decision to make Carr the odd man out against Pittsburgh was based on his lack of output up front.
"When you have to bring someone in, obviously you have to take someone out. Regarding Carr, we think he could bring a little bit more offensively," explained Therrien. "He didn't have any scoring chances in the first two games. He's a young man. He's establishing himself in the NHL. It's a process and we're getting there."
Video: Therrien on inserting Flynn in the lineup
- Greg Pateryn and Zach Redmond will be healthy scratches on the back end, while Mikhail Sergachev draws back into the lineup. The 18-year-old defenseman will be playing in front of his parents, Aleksandr and Liudmila, and his 12-year-old sister, Anna, who all made the long trek to Montreal from his hometown of Nizhnekamsk, located 1,100 kilometers east of Moscow.
- There was a real sense of excitement and anticipation in the Canadiens' locker room on Tuesday morning with the first game of the regular season on home turf just hours away. Canadiens veterans and newcomers alike have been looking forward to taking part in the pre-game ceremonies at the Bell Centre for a while now, and they'll finally get their chance to do just that against Pittsburgh.
"It's easy to say it's special to wear this jersey, but until you've put on this jersey and seen the opening ceremony, I don't think you know what it's like," said captain Max Pacioretty, who clearly has a deep sense of appreciation for the festivities in Montreal on opening night.
Alexander Radulov will quickly learn exactly "what it's like" when long-time public address announcer Michel Lacroix calls his name and he skates out to what will surely be a raucous applause. It goes without saying that the Russian forward has had October 18 circled on his calendar for quite some time.
Video: Radulov on the excitement of the home opener
"I was waiting for it. It's always nice to start at home. I know it's going to be a full building and the fans are going to go crazy and cheer for us," shared Radulov, who would love to make the evening all the more memorable by capping it with the Canadiens' second win of the season. "We have to make sure to be ready. We're playing against the Stanley Cup champions and they're a good team. We know that. We have to give our best tonight and just be prepared to work hard. If we do that, hopefully we're going to win."
Like Radulov, local product Phillip Danault will be experiencing opening night at the Bell Centre for the very first time.
"I take a lot of pride in being a part of [opening night]. I dreamed about this moment. I'm proud to be here," said Danault, a Victoriaville native, with a huge smile. "My family is the team right here. I'm definitely experiencing it with family, for sure. My parents will be there. I'm close with my family here, so it will be nice to experience it with them."
- Even though the Penguins are still deprived of captain Sidney Crosby's services due to injury, the Canadiens are well-aware of the firepower their opponents bring to the table every time out. Radulov did a good job of summarizing the talented group of veterans in the Penguins' arsenal who can pick up the slack in Crosby's absence on Tuesday night.
"Obviously, Crosby is the best player in the world. There's no doubt. He's not playing, but they have a bunch of guys who can play that role in [Evgeni] Malkin, [Phil] Kessel and [Chris] Kunitz. All of those guys have been in the league for a while. They won last year and they know how it works," mentioned Radulov. "I don't think it's going to be a problem for them, but we have to focus on our game first and don't even think about who's going to play for them."
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet 360 and TVA Sports, as well as on TSN 690 and 98.5 fm.
Probable lineup against Pittsburgh:
Pacioretty - Galchenyuk - Gallagher
Lehkonen - Plekanec - Radulov
Byron - Desharnais - Shaw
Danault - Mitchell - Flynn
Beaulieu - Weber
Markov - Petry
Emelin - Sergachev