BROSSARD – After a week’s worth of high-energy practices and an exhibition game at the Bell Centre, many Habs regulars will be getting their first taste of preseason action on Monday night.
The match will be a continuation of the long-standing battle between the Canadiens and the Bruins, and perhaps the first chapter of a sibling rivalry between Subbans at the pro level. Malcolm, P.K.’s younger brother and the Bruins’ first-round pick in 2012, is scheduled to suit up for head coach Claude Julien’s squad in Boston’s preseason opener.
“I sent [Malcolm] a text message yesterday but he hasn’t answered. [I] think he’s giving me the cold shoulder,” joked Subban, who is understandably excited at the prospect of testing his skills against the highly-touted netminder. “Because of the age difference between us, we never played against one another except in summer hockey.”
When asked about whether he had given his teammates a full scouting report on how to score on Malcolm, the elder Subban deferred to Canadiens bench boss Michel Therrien and the rest of the coaching staff.
“Usually the [coaches] give us a detailed scouting report on the players we’ll be facing. They’re pretty good at doing that, so I’ll let them handle it,” he replied.
While opposing goaltenders usually bear the brunt of the pre-game scouting duties, tough guys across the league will often admit to researching potential “dance partners” on any given night. Boston-Montreal games have historically been hard-fought affairs, and Monday night’s tilt should be no different. Veteran tough guy Shawn Thornton will dress for the Bruins. He will likely be countered by equally adept pugilists Nick Tarnasky and Travis Moen for the Habs.
After sitting out Sunday night’s game against the Sabres and watching helplessly as Patrick Kaleta took a run at Alex Galchenyuk, Moen is ready to stick up for his teammates when needed.
“I think we’ll still see the intensity tonight. There are lots of young guys in both lineups who are trying to prove themselves and to make a name for themselves. It’s going to be a fast and energetic game. It’s always like that against Boston. It’s always physical against them,” explained Moen, who stepped up his training regimen during the offseason and arrived at camp looking noticeably trimmer.
Another player who figures to be a physical presence is defenseman Darren Dietz, who will make his preseason debut for the Canadiens.
“Obviously, it’s a huge rivalry. For me, to play the first preseason game of my career against the Bruins, it’s something that I’m really, really excited about. I got the news last night, so I got a good night of rest and this morning I got myself ready to play. I really enjoyed knowing last night that I was playing. It gave me some time to get my mind right and to be prepared,” mentioned Dietz.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Jack Han is a writer for canadiens.com.
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