Coming off a 3-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens practised Wednesday morning in Brossard before heading to St. Louis, where they will face the Blues Thursday night (8 p.m., RDS, TSN Radio 690).
After losing 6-0 to the Los Angeles Kings on Dec. 10, the Canadiens have tightened up defensively, allowing only five goals in their last four games, while posting a 2-2 record. The Canadiens have scored six goals during that span.
“We’re not allowing a lot of goals,” coach Michel Therrien told reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “We want to play solid, defensive hockey. Since (losing to the Kings), they’re all tight games.”
The coach added: “We go tomorrow in St. Louis against one of the top teams in the NHL. This is going to be a great challenge for our team, but we go there with confidence.”
Said defenceman Josh Gorges: “I think when we go on the road we have a mindset of keeping things simple, playing that hard-style game, and to be honest, that’s when our team plays the best.”
George Parros, who is recovering from a concussion, skated on his own Wednesday before practice but didn’t head to St. Louis with the team.
After Thursday’s game, the Canadiens visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday before enjoying a one-week break in the schedule. Their first game after Christmas will be on Saturday, Dec. 28 in Tampa.
Here’s how the lines looked at Wednesday’s practice:
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gionta
Bourque – Eller – Prust
Bournival – Brière – Moen
Therrien said he’ll probably stick with the defensive pairings he switched to during Tuesday’s game, with Andrei Markov joining Alexei Emelin, P.K. Subban with Josh Gorges and Raphael Diaz with Douglas Murray.
The Blues, coming off a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, were in fourth place in the Western Conference heading into Wednesday’s action with a 22-7-4 record for 48 points. The Canadiens were third in the Eastern Conference with a 21-12-3 record for 45 points.
Former Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak has a 16-6-2 record with two shutouts, a 2.35 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage with the Blues. Carey Price has a 16-10-2 record with two shutouts, a 1.96 GAA and a .936 save percentage for the Canadiens.
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)