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Game Day: Blues @ Canadiens

The Canadiens welcome the St. Louis Blues to the Bell Centre in their final home game before the bye week break

by Montreal Canadiens @canadiensmtl / canadiens.com

BROSSARD - The Canadiens skated at the Bell Sports Complex on Saturday morning in preparation for their tilt against the St. Louis Blues at the Bell Centre.

- All players were present and accounted for at Saturday's on-ice session, except for captain Max Pacioretty who the Canadiens confirmed is battling the flu. He will be a game-time decision.

- During his post-practice press conference, head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that if Pacioretty is available to play, he'll be featuring the same lineup that downed the Arizona Coyotes in overtime on Thursday night in the Valley of the Sun. That means that David Desharnais, Nikita Nesterov and Brian Flynn would all be healthy scratches once again, and that Michael McCarron, Daniel Carr and Greg Pateryn would all play.

Video: Michel Therrien on the usage of his goaltenders

- Therrien also confirmed that Al Montoya would get the start in goal against the Blues, marking his first outing since February 5 when he blanked the Edmonton Oilers, but still suffered a 1-0 shootout defeat in Montreal. Jake Allen will will get the call at the other end of the rink for St. Louis. Carey Price will be back between the pipes on Sunday night in Boston against the Bruins.

- Meanwhile, Brendan Gallagher took part in the morning skate sporting a standard practice jersey. Therrien indicated that the Canadiens' No. 11 is inching closer and closer to a return to active duty, but he would not be in uniform against St. Louis.

- Since Mike Yeo took over for veteran bench boss Ken Hitchcock, the Blues have gone 4-1-0 and rattled off three straight road victories, besting Philadelphia, Ottawa and Toronto, before arriving in Montreal. 

Therrien's charges are well aware of what the Blues are capable of, having dropped a 3-2 overtime decision at the Scottrade Center back in early December. 

Now, with a new man calling the shots, the Blues are playing an inspired brand of hockey - and the Canadiens know it.

"They're playing really well right now. We have to make sure we're ready. Obviously, we're on a little bit of an emotional high off that last win [in Arizona]. We've got to make sure that we're using the confidence we built going forward tonight," said Shea Weber, who leads the Canadiens with 24 points in 61 career games against St. Louis. "The one game we played, they were still the same systematically. It was a pretty tight checking game. I'm assuming it will be the same. But, they do have a new coach. We'll scout them and be ready to go when it's time to play."

- The Bruins also have a new man behind the bench in Bruce Cassidy, who took over for Claude Julien earlier in the week, so the Canadiens will be going up against another motivated hockey club in their final game before their bye week officially gets underway on Monday.

"These games over the weekend are going to be tough. It's always tough to win games in the NHL," said Therrien. "I know Mike Yeo really well. We're playing against a team that's really determined. We're going to play against two good clubs. We have to focus on tonight's game, not on Sunday's game just yet."

Video: Shea Weber on facing the St. Louis Blues

- Veteran centerman Tomas Plekanec, who debuted with the Canadiens during the 2003-04 campaign, will be playing the 900th game of his NHL career on Thursday night. 

- Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on CITY and TVA Sports, as well as on TSN Radio 690 and 98,5 fm.

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