There was no game story in the Montreal Gazette, Journal de Montreal or La Presse this morning. But there was a game at the Bell Centre on Monday evening.
The Canadiens decided to shake off some of their rust with an intra-squad game. There were no fans or no reporters allowed inside the building to watch, just family and team staffers.
The Habs have been off since they completed their first-round sweep against the Tampa Bay Lightning at home last Tuesday. They were given two days away from the rink and then returned to work for practices on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in preparation for their second-round series against the Boston Bruins.
On Monday, the Canadiens attempted to simulate a game day. They reported to their practice facility in Brossard for a morning skate, broke bread with a team meal and some players stated that they would take an afternoon nap. The Habs took their game-day routines seriously.
"It's going to be good just to mentally put the mind through a game day," Montreal left wing Brandon Prust said prior to the simulated game. "We're taking it pretty seriously to make sure we're sharp."
There were no details released about the game by the Canadiens. But we do know that extra players recalled from the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs at the start of the playoffs were used to fill out two sides for the Red and White game.
The NHL still hasn't released dates for the 34th Stanley Cup playoff meeting between the rival Canadiens and Bruins. The NHL is waiting for the final series in the East between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers to conclude.
The Canadiens-Bruins series will start in Boston on Thursday, according to the website of RDS, with Game 2 on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Rust could be a factor for the Canadiens because of the lengthy layoff, but Boston is in a similar situation because it finished off the Detroit Red Wings in five games on Saturday afternoon.
"I don't see any rust. It's going to be a pretty emotional series," Prust said.
While the Canadiens took the day off on Tuesday, the Bruins returned to work after two days away from the rink.
Left wing Brad Marchand did not practice, but fourth-liner Daniel Paille filled in for him alongside Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith. Paille has been cleared for contact. He missed the first-round series against Detroit with a suspected concussion.
Closing the gap
Although not cleared for contact, veteran Bruins defenceman Dennis Seidenberg skated with his teammates on Tuesday. He underwent surgery to repair a right knee injury he suffered in a game just after Christmas.
In his press conference on Monday, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli offered little in terms of injury updates. Penalty-killer extraordinaire Chris Kelly also didn't play in the first round due to a back ailment.
Meanwhile, Chiarelli hoped the Bruins impressive five-game victory against the Red Wings dispelled the notion that his team could not keep up with speedy teams like the Canadiens.
"It's too stereotype, and we've improved our speed," he said. "I just hear about it all year, too, and obviously [Bruins head coach] Claude [Julien] and I talk, and we get tired of it. But we have speed and we have heaviness and we have a little bit of a chip on our shoulder because of that, because of this label that we have.
"But fair enough. I understand where it's come from. I understand when you bring it up in the context of the Wings and now the Canadiens because they're both fast teams.
"It's about closing gaps more quickly, it's about establishing a forecheck and leaning on guys. It's about our special teams. Both the PK and PP has been outstanding. We maintain that, and we're going to have success."
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