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Game Day: Canadiens @ Avalanche

Habs look to spark offense on Tuesday in Colorado

by Montreal Canadiens @canadiensmtl / canadiens.com

DENVER -- The Habs held a morning skate at Colorado's Pepsi Center in preparation for Tuesday's game against the Avalanche.

Brendan Gallagher was back at practice with his teammates for the first time since suffering a hand injury in early January, but will need to wait just a while longer before officially making his return.

"He's getting really close, and that's a good sign. He knew how to battle this, and he's been working extremely hard to get back as quick as he can," underlined head coach Michel Therrien, who saw Gallagher come back ahead of schedule from a similar injury a season ago. "Obviously he won't play tonight or on Thursday, but he's getting really close."

Video: Pacioretty on getting more goals

- While the tenacious 24-year-old's return will no doubt spark the Canadiens offense when the time comes, the Habs will nevertheless look to improve their scoring in the meantime after potting just three goals in the last three games.

"We see a trend when we're not drawing penalties -- we're not scoring. That means we're not being aggressive enough offensively," explained captain Max Pacioretty, who leads Montreal with 25 goals this season. "We need to be confident and try to make plays. If we have a chance to attack a defender, we should try to do so, and have the confidence that we can make the play."

It's with that attitude that the Canadiens insist that they will be looking within rather than at the standings as they get set to face the NHL's two last-place teams in Colorado and Arizona.

"We're not focusing on them, we're focusing on us. The thing we need to improve right now is obviously generating more offense -- even if we're doing good things defensively," added Therrien, who will be looking to snap a three-game skid on Tuesday. "My only concern is how we're going to approach and prepare for tonight's game."

Video: Therrien on Tuesday's game in Colorado

- Regardless of positioning, Montreal can expect a tough test from an Avalanche team that will be looking for revenge after being humbled 10-1 at the Bell Centre on December 10.

"You know that they're going to play hard. We were in that situation before, and then we came back and played Columbus with a much better effort," continued Pacioretty, referencing the Canadiens' own 10-0 loss against the Blue Jackets on November 4. "We know they're going to play as hard as they can tonight, but our job is to focus on our game. We can't worry about the past, or things we can't control. We'll worry about our own game and try to produce some offense."

- A familiar face will be in the lineup when Mark Barberio suits up against the Habs just five days after being claimed off waivers by the Avs, and while the 26-year-old defenseman is set to battle his former team on the ice, there are no hard feelings off of it.

"I'm glad he's got an opportunity to play in the NHL, he was a part of our depth," shared Therrien. "We were working with Barbs over the last few years, and it's not like we weren't satisfied with him -- quite the opposite. I'm glad he has an opportunity to show everyone what he's able to do, and I think it's a good fit for him, because he's going to have more ice time now."

- Carey Price will get the start in goal for the Habs at the Pepsi Centre, while Jacob De La Rose will be a healthy scratch.

- Game time is set for 9:00 p.m. EST, and will be broadcast on SNE and RDS.

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