The Canadiens held an optional practice Tuesday morning before facing the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night at the Bell Centre (7:30 p.m., RDS, TSN Radio 690).
The only players who didn’t take part in the practice were Rene Bourque, Travis Moen, Ryan White and P.K. Subban.
The Canadiens have been struggling offensively this season, ranking 22nd in goals per game at 2.43. Last season, the Habs ranked fourth in goals per game with 3.04.
The Canadiens will be facing Wild goaltender Josh Harding, who was named one of the NHL’s three stars of the week on Monday after going 3-0-0 with a 1.38 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage last week. He ranks second in the NHL in GAA (1.25) and save percentage (.946), behind the Los Angeles Kings’ Ben Scrivens in both marks. The Canadiens’ Carey Price ranks ninth in GAA (2.05) and eighth in save percentage (.936).
The Canadiens lead the NHL this season in blocked shots with 404 (Calgary is second with 372) and have the third-best goals-against average in the league at 2.05. However, they rank 22nd in goals with 2.43 per game and have scored only 18 times in their last 11 games.
“Saying we’re playing great defence isn’t exactly a compliment because it means you don’t have the puck and that means you can’t play offence,” Max Pacioretty told reporters on Monday. “You can talk about offensive D-men not playing well defensively, but they don’t have to because they’re always on offence, that’s my view.
“We’re in our zone too much, sitting on our heels worrying about guys on the other team when we should be attacking,” he added. “We’re caught up trying to shut down stars, but stars take chances and they cheat so I think it’s an opportunity to attack and we’re not doing it.”
Forward George Parros and defenceman Douglas Murray will be healthy scratches against the Wild, while Rene Bourque will be sidelined with a lower-body injury.
Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at Monday’s practice:
(Photo by Jim Prisching/The Associated Press)