BROSSARD – While the majority of Quebecers may have left the house this morning prepared to do battle with snowed-in cars, sub-zero temperatures and gusting winds, the Montreal Canadiens are preparing for a battle of their own as they get set to take on the Senators Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
“I had to dig my car out this morning just like everyone else,” admitted Hal Gill, who along with the rest of his teammates, arrived at practice right on time, despite the less-than-ideal weather. “I’m from Boston and when we get snow like this, they usually make a point to let you know it’s coming, but with this, I don’t think I heard anyone talking about and all of a sudden it was just here. I guess shoveling last night was a bit of a waste…”
The first major snowfall of the season may be a hot topic of conversation around the city, but it was a distant second on the Canadiens’ list of concerns, with their focus directed squarely towards the two points at stake.
“It’s going to be a hard battle for sure,” continued Gill. “They’re a team with a lot of skilled guys who can go to the net hard. We’re going to come out strong and not just try and match that, but better it.”
Habs’ defenseman, Alexandre Picard, who played half his games in the NHL wearing a Senators jersey, was quick to point out the added intensity of taking on a division rival.
“Games against other teams in your division always tend to be pretty good ones. Whether it’s Toronto, Boston, Ottawa or Buffalo, you know you’re in for a tight matchup,” expressed Picard. “If they haven’t been playing great lately, I’m sure they’re going to want to come out strong tonight, especially with the atmosphere here in Montreal.”
While it’s true the Senators may have hit a slump as of late, winning only three of their last 11 games, Canadiens’ coach Jacques Martin made it clear that a team in dire need a win is often the most dangerous kind to go up against.
“They’re a team that’s going to be playing with some desperation. They’re knocking on the door of a playoff spot right now and realize how important tonight’s game is for them,” explained Martin. “The have a lot of depth on their bench and they’re a very good team. We have to be ready to get out there, go to war and win our individual battles.”Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
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