The Canadiens held an optional morning skate Tuesday in Brossard as they prepared to face Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals Tuesday night at the Bell Centre (7:30 p.m., TSN-HABS, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
The only players who didn’t skate were Brian Gionta, Tomas Plekanec, Michael Ryder, Travis Moen and Francis Bouillon.
Max Pacioretty, who left Monday’s practice early with a lower-body injury, did skate Tuesday morning and will play against the Capitals. Rene Bourque, who has missed the last 21 games with a concussion, also took part in the morning skate and will face the Capitals.
Coach Michel Therrien told reporters in Brossard: “Rene Bourque is playing tonight. Great news for our team!”
Carey Price will make his 32nd start of the season in goal.
Ovechkin was named the NHL’s first star of the week on Monday after scoring seven goals and adding two assists during Washington’s four-game winning streak last week. Ovechkin is tied with Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos for first in the league with 25 goals, and ranks sixth in NHL scoring with 43 points.
Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun tweeted some interesting stats concerning Ovechkin:
“Some Ovechkin perspective: Only 4 of his 25 goals have been scored against teams currently in playoff spots. 14 scored vs weak SE division.”
“Alex Overchkin’s stats vs. playoff teams this year: 15 games played, 4 goals scored, 6 assists.”
After a slow start to the season, rookie Capitals coach Adam Oates moved Ovechkin from left wing to ring wing and he has scored 16 goals in his last 14 games.
“He never met me before,” Oates told The Associated Press. “And I totally respect who he is, and what he’s accomplished. And when you suggest something like that (changing wings), it has to be a meeting of the minds and private conversations, and he had to trust me. It takes a little time, and obviously I hope he does now. We’re going in the right direction.”
Said Ovechkin: “It’s trust. That’s what I didn’t have last year. When you have that kind of feelings you just want to go out there, play for your team for your coach and do your best out there.”
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)