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Preds hungry as Canadian road trip continues

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 16: Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators blocks the shot of Danny Briere #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers on March 16, 2010 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Pekka Rinne;Danny Briere2010 NHLI

MONTREAL -- The Nashville Predators arrived in Montreal on Tuesday on the heels of an embarrassing 5-4 loss to the Maple Leafs in Toronto, where they allowed four power-play goals in a row in the second period.

On Wednesday, Predators coach Barry Trotz addressed his players about its lack of discipline in allowing a season-high eight power plays to the opposition, and then proceeded to put them through a practice they won't soon forget.

"It wasn't very fun to be a Nashville Predator yesterday," Trotz said with a grin on Thursday morning.

Mercifully, Trotz gave the players the morning off in advance of their game Thursday night against the Canadiens at Bell Centre.

That didn't stop a good number of them from getting some physical activity in, with a handful of players -- including star defenseman Shea Weber -- playing a game of football in the Bell Centre hallway and another group playing the more traditional game of soccer further down the hall.

In between the two, defenseman Francis Bouillon and forward Sergei Kostitsyn were conducting interviews, as both are former Canadiens returning to their old stomping ground for the first time.

"It's going to be special," Bouillon said. "Last year when they came to Nashville it was a great feeling to play against the team I played with for nine years. I'm going to have a lot of emotions tonight, but we better win this game."

This will also be Bouillon's first trip back to Montreal since helping out a community organization that helped him become a professional hockey player.

While growing up in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhood in Montreal's east end, Bouillon benefited from the charity organization Les Jeunes Sportifs de Hochelaga (loosely translated, The Young Athletes of Hochelaga). He played for the community group's hockey team and had his equipment paid for by the organization.

This past summer, the organization was suddenly without a home and on the verge of bankruptcy until Bouillon stepped in and bought the building it was housed in, saving the community group from extinction and ensuring that future kids will get a chance to play the game the way he did.

"I was really lucky to play hockey," Bouillon said. "They made it really cheap for us to play."

Thursday night, the president of Les Jeunes Sportifs de Hochelaga will be in the stands to watch Bouillon play for the first time since he gave his generous gift. 

The game will also mark the first time Sergei Kostitsyn faces his older brother Andrei in an NHL game. Both drafted by the Canadiens, Sergei was traded to Nashville in the offseason for the rights to free-agent goalie Dan Ellis and free-agent forward Dustin Boyd.

"We played a couple of times back home in professional hockey, just not in the NHL," Sergei Kostitsyn said. "So it's pretty new."

For the Canadiens, Jeff Halpern is a game-time decision after he had to leave Tuesday's 3-0 win over Philadelphia early in the third period. Halpern had his head slam off the stiff Bell Centre glass on a hit by Darroll Powe. Coach Jacques Martin had said Wednesday that Halpern was fine, but changed his tune Thursday morning even though Halpern took part in the morning skate.

The Canadiens also recalled offensive defenseman Yannick Weber from the American Hockey League. Weber, a right-handed shot, has 8 goals and 4 assists in 15 games for the Hamilton Bulldogs this season. His 8 goals are the most by a defenseman in the AHL.

It is unclear why Weber would be recalled as Martin said Thursday that Josh Gorges would play against Nashville after sitting out practice on Wednesday.