All Habs GameDay: Thursday March 8, 2012

On this day in hockey history 1937 – Montreal’s Howie Morenz died just six weeks after suffering a broken leg during a game against Chicago. Three days later, a funeral service was held at the Forum and more than 15,000 people paid their respects.

GAMEDAY: Habs hockey tonight!

MONTREAL CANADIENS (25-30-10) vs. EDMONTON OILERS (26-34-6)

Last 10: Edmonton 4-6-0 ; Montreal 2-7-1

Rexall Place,  9:30 p.m. EST

TV: RDS, SNET-W, TSN-HABS


Projected line combinations (updated following morning skate)

MONTREAL CANADIENS

Forwards
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Erik Cole
Rene Bourque – Lars Eller – Aaron Palushaj
Ryan White – Tomas Plekanec – Blake Geoffrion
Petteri Nokelainen – Scott Gomez – Brad Staubitz

Defenseman
Josh Gorges – P.K. Subban
Yannick Weber – Alexei Emelin
Tomas Kaberle – Chris Campoli

Goaltenders
Carey Price – Peter Budaj (confirmed)

Scratches

Injuries
Mike Blunden (knee) – Andrei Markov (ACL) – Brian Gionta (biceps)  – Travis Moen (upper body) – Mathieu Darche (dizziness/upper body) – Aaron Palushaj (eye) – Scott Gomez (eye) – Raphael Diaz (lower body)

Power-play
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Cole – Kaberle – Subban
Bourque – Plekanec – Eller – Weber – Campoli

EDMONTON OILERS

Forwards
Taylor Hall – Sam Gagner – Jordan Eberle
Ryan Smyth – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Ales Hemsky
Lennart Petrell – Eric Belanger – Linus Omark
Ben Eager – Shawn Horcoff – Ryan Jones

Defensemen
Ryan Whitney – Corey Potter
Ladislav Smid – Jeff Petry
Theo Peckham – Nick Schultz

Goaltenders
Nikolai Khabibulin (confirmed) – Devan Dubnyk

Scratches

Injuries
no injuries

GAMEDAY: All Habs Headlines

Muller makes an impact: The Canadiens, specifically former coach Jacques Martin, saw no reason to keep Kirk Muller in the organization last summer.  As some of us suspected, Muller was the glue that kept the Habs locker room together — that was quickly proven this season.  Now Muller is in the process of transforming the Carolina Hurricanes on and off the ice.

“He’s kind of come in and set a new culture up. One of his big key focuses is accountability to each other. Obviously, I think we’ve definitely tried to work on that, and I think we’ve definitely improved on that.” — Hurricanes defenseman Jamie McBain

Muller also instituted a puck pursuit style of play, the same approach that often put him at odds with the passive strategy preached by Martin.

“We’re a lot more aggressive in all three zones. He really stresses we work as five, so you’re going to see the defensive zone with five guys back and the neutral zone all five guys helping out each other. We’re really hounding the puck. I think it’s just the consistency in practice of really putting the pressure on us to learn the system and perfect the system.” — Hurricanes defenseman Derek Joslin

Read more: Coach Kirk Muller changed Hurricanes culture

► Was NHL changed by Pacioretty – Chara? One year ago, on March 8, 2011, the Bell Centre fell silent as Max Pacioretty lay motionless after a vicious hit by Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.  While not in possession of the puck, Pacioretty had his head rammed into the stanchion by Chara, fracturing two vertebrae and leaving the Canadiens forward with a severe concussion.  In one of the most controversial decisions in NHL history, the league chose not to levy any supplemental discipline to Chara.

It is a decision that the NHL likely regrets, and led to a host of changes.

“I think the severity of my injury was the biggest concern for most people, and the biggest reason to address the need to make a change. Montreal’s a hockey city, and people spoke out about it. Maybe that forced the league to do something. I think at the end of the day, it was the severity of the injury, and we don’t want to see an injury like that again, or potentially an injury worse than that.” — Max Pacioretty

Read more: A year later, Pacioretty, NHL changed by Chara hit

► New at All Habs Hockey Magazine:

Habs Love from Across the Pond

Y a-t-il quelqu’un dans la place?

Pour un jeu plus ouvert… et autres réflexions éparpillées

Headlines: Pacioretty, Archambault, Clear Day Rosters

Where Did It All Go Wrong?

Can Habs Afford to Let Markov Play at 2012 WC?

Catching the Torch: Beaulieu Conquers

Christmas in June : Alex Galchenyuk

Carbonneau, Clark Square Off in Real Man Challenge

► Puck’s take: Need to know who will win tonight? You can find Puck the Bunny’s prediction here.  His record is an impressive 20-9-5.

(REUTERS/Christinne Muschi )