Prust will be game-time decision for Habs in Tampa (with practice video)

The Canadiens practised Tuesday morning in Brossard before boarding a flight to Tampa for Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the Lightning on Wednesday night (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).

Brandon Prust, who missed the last 12 games of the regular season with an upper-body injury, skated on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher, but coach Michel Therrien said Prust would be a game-time decision Wednesday.

“We’re not sure yet whether (Prust) will play,” Therrien told reporters after practice. “We’ll see tomorrow.”

Travis Moen, who is still recovering from a concussion, wore a no-contact jersey in practice and skated on a fifth line with Ryan White and George Parros. Moen will travel with the team to Tampa.

Linemate Gallagher is hoping Prust will be back.

“Getting Prust back into the lineup is going to be big for us,” Gallagher told reporters after practice. “He’s a guy who shows up and plays for his teammates every night. We’ve played well together in the past and it’s a lot of fun playing with him. Hopefully we can have success together and help the team. As a team, we need to do a good job playing defensively. (Steven) Stamkos is a really good player. He will get his chances and create things and it’s up to us to make it tough for him.”

Daniel Briere, who was signed to a two-year, $8-million free-agent contract last summer in part because of his playoff success, centred the fourth line with Michael Bournival and Dale Weise. In 108 career playoff games, Briere has 109 points, including 50 goals.

“When I prepare, what I’m thinking is that I want to be the guy that makes the big play,” Briere said. “I want the puck when the game’s on the line. It’s not about thinking that I’m a playoff performer or that I’m better than anyone. I wish it was clearer or that there was a better explanation, but there really isn’t.”

Briere finished 10th in team scoring with 13-12-25 totals in 69 regular-season games while averaging 12:46 of ice time and was plus-1.

“When I was younger, the preparation wasn’t the same, my focus wasn’t the same,” the 36-year-old Briere said about his early days in the NHL. “How I reacted was different  After playing in so many games, you learn to deal with pressure. I expect there will be some butterflies in my first (playoff) game with the Canadiens, but I’m ready for it.”

Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at practice Tuesday:

Prust-Plekanec-Gallagher
Pacioretty-Desharnais-Vanek
Bourque-Eller -Gionta
Bournival-Briere-Weise
Moen-White-Parros

Gorges-Subban
Markov-Emelin
Tinordi-Murray
Bouillon-Weaver

“We need contribution from everybody,” Therrien said after practice. “We can’t only rely on one line.”

In Tampa, goalie Ben Bishop, who missed the last three games of the regular season with an elbow injury, didn’t practise with his teammates Tuesday and won’t be ready to play in Game 1. Ryan Malone, who was arrested on the weekend and charged with DUI and cocaine possession, didn’t practise, either.

Forwards Valtteri Filppula (lower-body injury) and Ondrej Palat (upper body) both practised Tuesday and are listed as day-to-day. Forward Teddy Purcell, who has been battling the flu, also skated.

(Gazette file photo/John Kenney)

Lightning, Habs find little room for separation, NHL.com

Postseason is Briere’s time to shine, by The Gazette’s Pat Hickey

Habs vs. Lightning should be a treat, by The Gazette’s Dave Stubbs

Habs will fight fire with fire, Canadiens.com

Post-practice interviews (video), Canadiens.com

Setting the playoff mood, Canadiens.com

Number Cruncher: Secret Weapons, Canadiens.com

Tale of the Tape, tampabaylightning.com

Habs focus on special teams, by The Gazette’s Pat Hickey

Lightning season tumultous but rewarding for Stamkos, Tampa Bay Times

How can Habs shut down Stamkos?Stu on Sports blog

Attitude, work ethic helped Lightning goalie Lindback survive struggles, Tampa Bay Times

Lightning’s Vinik a model owner, Tampa Bay Times

Lightning’s Callahan renews friendly rivalry with Habs’ Gionta, Tampa Bay Times

Scotty Bowman weighs in on current Habs, Stu on Sports blog

Being only Canadian team in playoffs a good sign for Habs? Stu on Sports blog

Video-game simulation has Bruins winning Cup, montrealgazette.com

HI/O Summit Facebook Page

736 Comments

  1. jimmy shaker says:

    Mt must really hate Danny to have him on the fourth line, a proven playoff performer, but a plugger like prust who’s been out for a while now, comes back in and plays on the second line. For the love of all things good and holy MT, switch danny and prust. Prust is a 4th liner who would fit in great with weezy and bernie……and danny b deserves a chance to show why MB brought him here. Get him in the top 6 and let him play for 2 periods at least, because we all know you can’t let your lines stay together for a whole game. God forbid! Man I’d love to thunder punch MT right in the skull sometimes!

    Shaker out!

  2. Chris says:

    You know, I really don’t like this current playoff format.

    Seeing LA-San Jose and St. Louis-Chicago in the first round is ridiculous. Those are 4 of the top-5 teams out west, along with Anaheim. The loser of that St. Louis-Chicago series could very well be the 2nd best team in the NHL, if the injured players on each team can all return.

  3. Prop says:

    Prust is in.

    ____________________
    DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!

  4. Mattyleg says:

    Prust in tonight!

    Renaud Lavoie ‏@renlavoietva 6m
    #canadiens Travis Moen-Ryan White-Douglas Murray-Jarred Tinordi-George Parros out vs #lightning #tvasports

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  5. Habcouver says:

    Wear your Habs jerseys proudly, wherever you are!

    We Are (Not) All Canucks.
    Proudly Canadian but passionately Canadien!

    • Chris says:

      I can’t. The Habs have lost pretty much every game that I’ve worn one of my jerseys on game day, so I am not jinxing it. Somebody else can take credit or blame…won’t be me! :)

  6. shiram says:

    Canadiens MontréalVerified account ‏@CanadiensMTL

    Brandon Prust effectuera un retour au jeu ce soir. / Brandon Prust will be back in the line-up tonight.

  7. Mattyleg says:

    Is it 7:00 yet?

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  8. boing007 says:

    Go Habs Go!

    Richard R

  9. jimmy shaker says:

    Who’s the stripes tonight?

    Shaker out!

    • Habilis says:

      Please not Lee. Please not Lee. Please not Lee. Please not Lee. Please not Lee. Please not Lee. Please not Lee. Please not Lee. Please not Lee. Please not Lee. Please not Lee. Please not Lee.

      So… I hope it’s not Chris Lee. Which means it’ll probably be him.

  10. jimmy shaker says:

    okay, lets see what kipper, mac and millard have to say.

    Shaker out!

  11. DipsyDoodler says:

    And now we bring you a new feature called “Oh DO shut up!”.

    Today’s recipient is Jon Cooper head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    “Obviously Ryan is probably a little embarrassed of what’s gone on. He made a poor decision, getting behind the wheel when he had alcohol in his system,”

    “But for me, I’ve watched all the good decisions Ryan Malone’s made in his life, and how charitable he’s been and what a staple he’s been in our community in the years he’s been here,” Cooper added. “I hope this one instance doesn’t take away from that, because he’s been a class act for us, on and off the ice.”

    http://sports.nationalpost.com/2014/04/13/tampa-bay-lightning-coach-jon-cooper-says-ryan-malones-dui-cocaine-charges-wont-be-a-distraction/

    —–
    Moving. Forward.

  12. shiram says:

    Winnipeg JetsVerified account ‏@NHLJets

    “Yes. Ondrej Pavelec is the number one goaltender going into next season.” -Cheveldayoff.

    Sucks to be a Jets fan.

  13. Chris says:

    From a player point of view, I am looking forward to getting the chance to watch Victor Hedman throughout this series. We all know that Stamkos is right there with Crosby as the best offensive player in the game.

    What is perhaps less known is that Hedman has fully arrived now. Playing in Tampa Bay, he has been playing very much under the radar, but he is right there with the other top young defencemen in the NHL in Pietrangelo, Subban, Karlsson, Letang, and Doughty. His 13 goals and 55 points in 75 games both surpassed Subban’s totals (10 goals and 53 points in 82 games), good enough for 5th in the NHL. His minutes are balanced: he averages 2:09 on the penalty kill, 2:29 on the power play and 17:47 at even strength. He’s got size (6’6″, 233 pounds) and mobility.

    I’m wondering if we’ve now seen him reach his potential, or if there is still room for growth. At 23 years old, he’s hitting the age where most of the bigger guys in the league are just starting to figure things out. He’s already established himself near the head of the class…if there is more growth to come, he’s going to be scary.

    Habs fans know what we’ve got in Subban. Now we get to watch the two young superstar defencemen strut their stuff on the big stage. Should be fun.

    • krob1000 says:

      There is room for growth…he is poised to be a Rob Blake clone.

      • Chris says:

        Rob: I think there is more growth to come. I’m not sure if he is a Blake clone, as Blake was a pretty physical guy and that isn’t really Hedman’s style of play.

        I’m worried that he’s on his way to becoming a more physically imposing Nicklas Lidstrom-esque player. He’s obviously not at that level quite yet, as Lidstrom is probably one of the top-5 defencemen to ever play the game. Those are huge skates to fill. But if he takes another step forward next year, look out.

    • Cal says:

      My vested interest prevents me from wanting Hedman to be all that good, frankly. I hope he has a lousy series, because he is one helluva player.

    • Mattyleg says:

      Are you honestly looking forward to watching a Tampa Bay player?

      Man, I guess how I watch the game is not the way others watch the game.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • Chris says:

        Yep. I will be insanely biased towards the Habs, but that doesn’t stop me from admiring excellent players on the opposing team.

        I’ve always found the inability to acknowledge opponents to be odd. Increasingly, there is this belief that if a team either wins the game or loses the game…the opponent is irrelevant. That is just silly, and reeks of terrible sportsmanship.

        • shiram says:

          I might not be as good an observer as most posters on here, but keeping up with what the 5 skater squad of the Habs are doing is usually taking the great majority of my attention, so it’s difficult to focus on the other teams player and what they do.

          Sure some plays stand out, but I’m always more focused on what the Habs (or the team I’m cheering for) are doing.

        • Mattyleg says:

          The way I admire excellent opposition players is to dislike them immensely.
          My level of dislike is in direct proportion to their level of excellence, and I’m always willing to give the opposition props when they deserve them.

          I’m not looking forward to seeing them play well.
          I’m looking forward to watching them collapse in total disarray, and perhaps even fight with one another. Tears are a bonus.

          The opponent is never irrelevant, and I agree about bad sportsmanship. There’s far too much of that about.

          —Hope Springs Eternal—

          • Chris says:

            IF (and I hope that it doesn’t happen) the Habs lose, I much prefer the loss to come because the Habs played well, but the other team simply better.

            The alternative sucks: the Habs lose because they play like crap. That happens more often that I would like (remember the recent Islanders game?). I have much more positive memories of the Habs 1st round loss to the Bruins a couple of years ago than most because both teams played exceptionally well and the Bruins were just a smidge better. It happens.

          • Mattyleg says:

            Yep, you and I are on the same page, Chris.
            My buddy always says that the other team sucks.
            I always say that we lose to the best.
            :)

            —Hope Springs Eternal—

      • frontenac1 says:

        I’m looking forward to seeing them get decked.

    • Maritime Ronn says:

      He’s only 23, and doesn’t turn 24 until after the start of next season.
      He still might be 4-5 years away from his peak and Dmen should be judged on their all around ability not just points scored – the ability to play and be trusted in any situation including PK and end of game shut down.
      That’s why Doughty-Weber-Keith and possibly soon Pietrangelo are the best in the NHL.

      • Chris says:

        Hedman is playing PK and end of game shut down minutes already. I think Hedman is every bit as good as Pietrangelo. Truth be told, I’ve never quite embraced Pietrangelo as much as most people have, because he has always seemed prone to some brutal defensive play when I’ve watched the Blues.

        Bouwmeester covers up a LOT of Pietrangelo’s weaknesses. Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk were frequently a defensive horror show, which the Blues addressed last season by picking up both Bouwmeester and Leopold.

        If Montreal had Bouwmeester backing up Subban, that would be a stupidly dominant pairing as well. Bouwmeester’s steadying influence on Pietrangelo has not received nearly enough credit.

        Pietrangelo is obviously a much stronger player than he was last season, and he’s definitely on way to the top. But I would be curious to see how he did with a less defensively strict coach than Hitchcock, who I think helps to make his defencemen look a lot better than they are.

        • Paz says:

          The dmans partner is huge. Subban almost never goes d to d and out. He is always looking north south and those are the higher risk plays.

          It’s a reflex now and he needs to break the pattern, take the simpe play, and let Gorges move te puck up the left side.

          Agree entirely with your assessment of Pietrangelo.

          A

        • Maritime Ronn says:

          Chis

          Always wanted to see PK with a “Keith” like… heck even a guy like Rod Scuderi who I would have really liked in a Habs uni but MTL was not on his radar screen

    • Paz says:

      Hedman is terrific. But he has a temper, he can be rattled, thrown off his game, and he can take undisciplined penalties.

      Habs should be exploiting this.

      • Chris says:

        It’s interesting that all three of Subban, Hedman, and Doughty can be described in that same way. The NHL is pretty lucky to have such a great group of defencemen right now, and they all have personalities.

  14. habs001 says:

    MSLE has balls..The Raptors have the highest average playoff ticket of all the teams that made the playoffs($375)….Memphis lowest($130)…I also heard that Leaf tickets are going up…Is there any other city that this can happen based on the dismal records that these two teams have had in the last decade…

  15. habsfan0 says:

    Habs win 3-0 tonight.
    Patches,Vanek,& PK with the goals.
    1/3 on the PP.

  16. jimmy shaker says:

    Just finished watching the Rocket ovation along with Koivu’s ovation……WOW is all I can say! I’m ready for tonight! OH and when Patch scores the habs are something like 24W’s and 1L…..and when leading after 2 periods, they are ridiculously good. So those are the keys tonight!

    Shaker out!

  17. Cal says:

    Will this bleeping workday ever end? Aaaargh!

    http://calshabsongparodies.weebly.com

  18. shiram says:

    Flyers going with Emery, as Steve Mason is injured and not practicing.

  19. habs001 says:

    Based on age and experience the Habs should beat Tampa…Management made the decision that this year was not to build for the future as very limited play was allowed for the young players…This roster is not meant to be better next year…

    • shiram says:

      Why can’t they be better next year?

      • habs001 says:

        13 players on the roster are over 30…these players are not going to be better next year..7 players 25 and older….this team will need an infusion of young players and the ones that may help the team were given very little playing time this year…This roster is not of a young up and coming team…

        • shiram says:

          Oh that again.
          13 players are also under 30.
          And I think they can continue to improve.
          With the big salaries going to Subban/Markov, they’ll have to rely on some youth to fill roles.

          The likes of Murray, Weaver,Bouillon, Bourque could all leave the team in the off season.

    • I think they’ve done a pretty good job at keeping their focus on the future while also allowing themselves to be somewhat competitive now. They’re not exactly elite, but anything can happen in Montreal in the spring. ;)

      GO HABS, GO!

      Defense wins championships

      “To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.” St. Thomas Aquinas

      • Maritime Ronn says:

        Then the intangibles

        Regardless if Vanek stays, how much did Max-51-the 2 Gallys and Bournival learn from this vet?
        Even though a guy like Weaver is not elite, did PK pick up some tips as did guys like Emelin and Tinordi?

  20. shiram says:

    Jets sign Paul Maurice for 4 more years.

  21. Say Ash says:

    Did the mayors make any bets? Can’t find anything.

    • Mustang says:

      Much more importantly, will the parade be along the regular route? It has been far too long since I was at a Stanley Cup parade in Montreal. I am ready, I hope that our guys are up for 16 wins in the next 2 months.

  22. habsfan0 says:

    The last two times the Habs made the playoffs, in 2013 and 2011,they were eliminated in the 1st round by Ottawa and Boston respectively.
    I just don’t see that trend continuing this year.

  23. Savardian Spin-o-rama says:

    Aw come on, Bouillon and Weaver together! We’re doomed.

    ~~ You’ve been spun ~~

  24. Maritime Ronn says:

    The answer to the Habs PP problems could be taking a page from the…1960′s, wily Hab Dman J.C. Tremblay book.

    For those old enough to remember, JC would carry the puck to between his own blue line and red line, then hoist/flip the puck high in the air that would bounce somewhere in front of the goalie.

    It drove goaltenders nuts. They didn’t know how to play it, and several times the puck took a weird bounce and went into the net.

    MaxPax came close to doing that last year when he scored from center ice against Carolina, but his shot was nowhere near the height that JC would hoist it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zv3dKVVC0rM&feature=player_detailpage

    Hey, anything beats slapping it into the corner or around the boards on the PP to try and gain the zone…

    • Mattyleg says:

      There were a couple of attempts like that in the last couple of games, alright.
      Vanek did it, and a few others too.
      It’s a morale-killer when those go in against you.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

    • Ian Cobb says:

      RONN! I remember it very well. PK use to do that when he was here in Belleville. Flip it very high and have it bounce in front of the goaler, also have a foreward going full out to get to it as a rebound or a miss by the tender. Great Play!!!

  25. WAR72 says:

    My daughter is napping and i am enjoying tsn playoff preview. Really looking forward to tonights game…

    My guess is habs take this series in six.
    Split in tb. Win both at home.Lose game five. Take game six.
    Based on goaltending and four solid lines. Subban being on top of his game is imperative.

    Retirement? Max out that tfsa with solid dividend paying stocks. I prefer canadian banks/canadian energy in particular and exchange traded funds in general, like xre.

  26. HabsWin-nipeg says:

    As per Berkshire – Carey Price put up an astounding .956 save percentage against the Lightning this year, with an even more impressive .972 save percentage at even strength, stopping 104 of 107 shots. Yet even with that spectacular goaltending, Price recorded losses in three of four appearances.

    So, if we can score, we should win.

  27. zephyr says:

    I like seeing tinordi & murray in the lineup. we’re going to need some real toughness every series. can’t let price get run again & it’s up to our guys because the refs will be incompetent/negligent again.
    I like weaver too. it’s nice to have some depth.
    too many small fwds still. briere better produce or else I’d sit him.
    if we play with some character, we’ll win. we have a better team. better goalie, better dmen & we have an edge up front too. if we lose it’s because we’ve been out-coached or the refs throw it (or both).

  28. frontenac1 says:

    Jack Nevins has a couple of tilts with Maggio last night. First one he gets the decision,second one is a draw.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oh1VbmXQVM

  29. Mattyleg says:

    So people are foaming over Lindback.
    I’m not so certain about his skills.
    Imagine us going in with Budaj in nets.
    Even if he’d had a good run in the last few games of the season, we would be feeling a little uncertain, to say the least.

    They’re desperate to get Bishinator back in, as proven by his presence at morning skate (without full equipment), and that will be playing on their minds, along with the Ryan Malone debacle.

    They’ve got all the markings of a team falling backwards into a playoff matchup, but nobody can be counted out at this stage of the season.

    Except Dallas and Columbus.
    I predict sweeps.

    —Hope Springs Eternal—

  30. DipsyDoodler says:

    Anyone remember when the first round of the playoffs was just a formality? Usually a best of three against the Hartford Whalers or something.

    —–
    Moving. Forward.

    • Mattyleg says:

      YES!
      I was just talking about that yesterday, and wishing we were in a best-of-five against Hartford or Buffalo.
      Them’s was the days.

      —Hope Springs Eternal—

  31. Ian Cobb says:

    PUNKSTER! & PENSION conversation.

    If your looking for something to do in retirement, take a drive or a train to Belleville and come fishing with me, it is not much fun alone my friend, big house to share, no cost. Bought a small boat and motor last year!

    Pension talk– Mine is $21,000 a year! But no debt, so I do pretty well. As a matter of fact my room mate pays half house expenses, so I have plenty for single malt as well. We watch hockey every night until we sit on St. Cathrine watching the parade in June!!

  32. krob1000 says:

    Prust is now likely out for tonight? listed as doubtful on tsn. http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/injuries/

    • habsfan0 says:

      My concern is that they rush Prust back into the lineup prematurely,and that he’s completely ineffective or worse,re-injures himself.

      • krob1000 says:

        I think this is part of why the lines were designed this way as well…solution is simple.
        MT practised with 2nd unit as Briere-Pleks and Gally. THey will likely move Briere up to the second line. White slots in at center ont he 4th (that has been teams most effective 4th line anyway IMO…White-Bourn-Weise).

  33. habsfan0 says:

    I wonder how long it will take before the HNIC crew mentions the Laffs?
    I predict before the opening faceoff.

    • Stanley Cup or Bust ! says:

      Can we have a moratorium on the freakin leafs! ;)

    • Ian Cobb says:

      CBC Toronto is already talking about the Leafs. How they are going to turn things around now that Shanahan is running the show and calling Ontario, “Leaf’s Nation” time and time again, it is sickening garbage. They mentioned Mtl. as a small foot note after talking about the Bruin’s and Detroit. I hold my nose every time I even drive around Toronto’s Leaf Nation!

    • Mavid says:

      Lets start a pool..I say 2 minutes in

      Weed Wacker Grandma Smurf

  34. Maritime Ronn says:

    Even though sometimes it seems like Max Pacioretty has been around forever, he will be looking for his FIRST EVER NHL playoff point this series.
    Max has only played in 4 Habs playoff games and went pointless in those 4 last year.

    In another first, tonight will be Emelin’s first NHL playoff game.

  35. HankHardball says:

    Habs have more depth, more playoff experience, and better goaltending.

    I don’t see TB winning this series.

  36. shiram says:

    First World problem for me this morning.

    I wanted to wear my Habs jersey to work, but it was too cold, and did not fit over my winter jacket.

  37. CHicoHab says:

    The pp has finally been perfected after yesterday’s practice and we are good to go. Basically Markov and Subban trade places on the blue line 3 times instead of the usual 4 to save seconds and then Subbans fake slapshot becomes a soft bouncy lob in the air towards the crease in which Vanek will clear that area allowing DD to baseball it in thus avoiding highsticking it because of his height all this while Max is doing the sword thing. Can’t believe after 82 games they still were trying to figure out a power play yesterday.
    But good luck Habs I’ll be cheering from the get go. 16-12 is good for me.

  38. jimmy shaker says:

    Where’s Anakyn Slade’s Habs playoff montage for 2014? He’s a bit late!

    Shaker out!


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