OTTAWA - The Canadiens held their morning skate on Monday at the Canadian Tire Centre ahead of their evening showdown with the Senators, with one adjustment being made to the lineup from Saturday night's tilt against the Rangers.
Claude Julien confirmed that Al Montoya will get the start in net, after using Carey Price between the pipes the last four games.
"[Carey] has played three in five. At one point, you have to make some decisions. They're never easy decisions," explained the coach. "At the same time, we have a goaltender [Montoya] who is coming off a pretty solid performance in [Los Angeles] and we need both goalies to win us some games. That's the decision we made."
Montoya's last start came back on October 18 against the Kings in Los Angeles, in which he turned aside 37 of the 42 shots he faced. The 32-year-old also saw game action on October 7, when he replaced Carey Price in the second period in Washington.
The head coach also announced that there would be no other changes to his lineup, meaning that forward Jacob De La Rose and defenseman Joe Morrow won't play against Ottawa.
Video: Claude Julien on starting Montoya
Brendan Gallagher once again skated on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Charles Hudon, and feels his squad can build some momentum off a team effort chock-full of resiliency against New York.
"We got off to the start that we wanted to, which is big for us, and then the character we showed. It would've been easy for us to start feeling sorry for ourselves once they came back and tied the game," Gallagher said of his team's performance against the Rangers, which resulted in a 5-4 victory. "That's where we upped our game a little bit more and found a way to come up with a win. Stuff like that goes a long way towards building character and building yourself as a group and as a team. If we look at that and understand that things won't always go your way, that it's what you do the next shift out that really matters. We did a good job of responding."
That said, don't think Gallagher - or any of the Habs, for that matter - will be resting on his laurels at the Canadian Tire Centre; the visitors are well aware they're up for a challenge whenever they step on the ice in the nation's capital.
"They have some guys who can put the puck in the net. They have a guy on the backend who's one of the best players in the world, one you have to be aware of. They have some talented players up front that can certainly hurt you," outlined Gallagher, who spent some extra time at morning skate working on tip-ins with assistant coach Dan Lacroix. "Stay out of the box, don't give them too much time on the power play to feel good about themselves. Play hard and doing what we always do. We know every time we play this team, it's going to be competitive and intense. It's about staying disciplined and doing what you need to do to get two points."
Video: Brendan Gallagher on facing the Senators
If the Habs are indeed able to stick to the game plan Gallagher described, they could emerge from the outing with another two points in the bank. Doing so would go a long way towards putting their difficult start a bit further in the rearview mirror, much to the pleasure of their bench boss.
"You'd like to string some wins together. We'd like to get ourselves back in the race by doing those kinds of things. Right now, it's about consistency and taking it one game at a time. Again, our schedule is not getting any easier. We're going on a road trip after this. We have a tough challenge at the beginning of the season," concluded Julien. "It's important we do the best we can to manage that better than we have in the first 10 games and go from there."