The Canadiens, coming off a 5-4 overtime loss to the Hurricanes on New Year’s Eve in Carolina, enjoyed an off day Wednesday in Dallas as they get ready to face the Stars Thursday night (8:30 p.m., RDS, TSN Radio 690).
The Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty got some good news on New Year’s Day, learning that he will be part of Team USA for the Sochi Olympics. Canadiens teammate Alex Galchenyuk failed to make Team USA.
“It’s obviously such an honour, especially when you see some of the guys who didn’t make the team,” said Pacioretty, who has 17 goals and four assists in 32 games this season and is minus-1. “It could have gone either way.
“I’ve played pretty well of late, but my game is even better than I’ve shown so far this year,” he added. “Now that the stress or pressure to prove anything to Team USA is off my back I have to do more to help my team here. I have to take things one day at a time and build up some momentum and get used to winning.”
Team USA will have 13 returning members from the squad that won silver at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The Team USA roster was announced at the conclusion of Wednesday’s Winter Classic game, in which the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout.
Among the players who didn’t make Team USA’s 25-man roster are forwards Bobby Ryan, Brandon Dubinsky, Kyle Okposo and Jason Pominville, and defencemen Dustin Byfuglien, Keith Yandle, Erik Johnson and Jack Johnson.
Thursday’s game marks the end of a six-game road trip for the Canadiens, who will play their first game of 2014 at the Bell Centre Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators.
Former Canadien Erik Cole has 10 goals and 10 assists in 39 games with the Stars this season and is minus-5. Cole was on a roll in December, scoring eight goals in 15 games.
“I think Erik has played well for a good period of time,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff told the team’s website. “These last few weeks he has really played well for us and has skated well. He’s a big man that’s hard to control and when he’s skating, he’s a powerful body out there for us.”
(Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images)