PITTSBURGH – With the Maple Leafs falling to the Dallas Stars on Thursday, the Canadiens are seeing a big befalling to accretion some arena on their rivals bottomward the 401 as they get set to face the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena.
Despite bottomward two in a row, Montreal sits seven credibility aback from Toronto for third in the Atlantic division, and Claude Julien reaffirmed that no one has befuddled in the anhydrate on a run at the postseason.
“No one’s quitting, alike if we’ve absent some games. We’re not seeing a aggregation that has accustomed up. We’re seeing a aggregation that’s working,” asserted the arch coach. “We accept to be bigger than Pittsburgh if we appetite to win tonight.”
The Canadiens should bout up able-bodied adjoin a Penguins aggregation that plays wide-open appearance of hockey, and with the stakes as aerial as they are for Montreal, apprehend the acuteness to be at its peak.
“It should be a bold with lots of energy,” assigned Phillip Danault, who sits additional in aggregation scoring with 40 credibility (12G, 28A). “They accessible the play, but we can’t abatement into their trap. We accept to comedy a good, well-structured game. It should be an agitative game.”
Video: Phillip Danault on the bold adjoin the Penguins
With one ability comedy ambition in their accomplished six games, the Canadiens are acquisitive for a bigger assuming with the man advantage as they attending to ascend aback into the playoff race.
For Ilya Kovalchuk, it’s a amount of alive calm as a assemblage and aggravating not to do too abundant with the puck.
“It is momentum, probably, because we accept all the accoutrement but no toolbox. We’re affectionate of not on the aforementioned folio yet, but we will be. We aloof charge to abridge aggregate and shoot the bogie more, because we approved to accomplish that added canyon and it wasn’t bouncing not our way,” aggregate the Russian sniper, who has 144 career ability comedy goals. “So hopefully tonight we’ll alpha aloof putting the bogie on net, and acceptable things will happen.”
Video: Ilya Kovalchuk on adverse Evgeni Malkin
The Habs will be authoritative some changes on the ability play, with both Jake Evans and Victor Mete accepting a look. Julien explained that he’s aggravating to accomplish up for captain Shea Weber’s absence on the assemblage in altered means with altered assets.
“We’re activity to try Victor Mete [in abode of Ben Chiarot]. He has acceptable crabbed movement,” explained the coach. “Chiarot has a bigger attempt than Mete, but Mete apparently has bigger movement than Ben. You accept to accord with your cadre and your players and try and acquisition solutions, so that’s what we’re aggravating to do.”
Video: Claude Julien’s pregame columnist appointment @ PIT
Asides from the adjustments on the ability play, there was one change to Julien’s band combinations. Nate Thompson was beneath the acclimate and skipped the morning skate, so Dale Weise confused up to the fourth band and Evans took Thompson’s atom there at center. Julien said Thompson would be a game-time decision.
The drillmaster additionally told reporters that Paul Byron did not accept the blooming ablaze for bold action. He charcoal day-to-day, but will not be in the calendar to face Pittsburgh.
The Canadiens-Penguins showdown gets underway at 7:00 p.m. at PPG Paints Arena.
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