The Canadiens practised again Tuesday morning in Brossard, preparing for the start of their first-round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators that kicks off Thursday night at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
“They’re a good defensive team so we’ve got to be ready for a tight-checking game,” Canadiens forward Tomas Plekanec said after practice.
The Habs and Sens split their four-game series during the regular season.
There was some untimely off-ice news Tuesday with The Canadian Press reporting that Habs prospect Nathan Beaulieu and his father, Ontario Hockey League coach Jacques Beaulieu, are facing assault charges in London, Ont. Strathroy-Caradoc police told CP the father and son have each been charged with two counts of assault, stemming from an altercation Saturday at a house party that followed a charity golf tournament. Two people suffered minor injuries, police added. A June 11 court date has been set.
“We’ve been made aware of the situation,” Donald Beauchamp, the Canadiens’ senior vice-president, communications and community relations, told The Gazette. “The organization spoke with Nathan Beaulieu. Since it’s a legal situation for that reason we can’t comment any further.”
Beaulieu, a first-round draft pick in 2011 who played six games with the Canadiens this season, is one of the players the Canadiens called up from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs to practise as part of the “Black Aces” during the playoffs.
Jacques Beaulieu was nominated for OHL coach of the year this season after leading the Sarnia Sting to a 35-28-5 record.
After practice Tuesday, Josh Gorges said the Senators are a team that “waits for you to make mistakes, waits for you to get frustrated.”
“We’ve got to be smart. We’ve got to be patient. We’ve got to – no matter what happens – stick to our game plan,” Gorges added. “It’s going to be one of those long, hard, drawn-out series (where) you’ve got to stay resilient.”
Coach Michel Therrien wasn’t made available to the media on Tuesday after practice. However, the players were asked about Senators players, including defenceman Erik Karlsson, who has made a remarkable return to play ahead of schedule from a sliced Achilles tendon injury.
“His ability to skate, to make plays, to read situations it’s unbelievable,” Gorges said. “He’s a guy that we’re going to have to focus on.
“He’s a tough guy to play against because you want to finish your checks on him because you don’t want him jumping into the play. But he’s pretty elusive out there.”
While some Habs fans were hankering for the team to meet the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs, Plekanec predicted the Habs-Sens series will be a compelling one.
“It’s a Canadian matchup,” he said. “We’re two hours away from each other. It’s going to be bus rides there. A lot of fans on both sides are going to be at the games.
“It’s going to be an exciting series.”
The lines at practice Tuesday were: Gionta-Plekanec-Ryder; Desharnais-Bourque-Pacioretty; Gallagher-Eller-Galchenyuk; Prust-White-Moen; Halpern-Armstrong.
The defensive pairings were: Gorges-Diaz; Markov-Subban; Bouillon-Tinordi; Kaberle-Drewiske; Weber.
(Photo by Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)