NHL

CANADIENS' SHOW DOESN'T DISAPPOINT

FOX Sports DAMIAN CRISTODERO, TIMES STAFF WRITER, St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
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The Canadiens' pregame show is widely considered the best in the league, with a stunning combination of music, on-ice video graphics and a screaming Bell Centre crowd.

The venue lived up to its reputation before Wednesday's home opener against the Lightning. Running 25 minutes, the show began with two kids skating around center ice laying down a graphically enhanced vapor trail that slowly morphed into a huge Canadiens logo.

A montage played on the scoreboard of Montreal players as kids. During formal player introductions, players stood in spotlights around the center-ice circle, and captain Brian Gionta called their names.

The sellout crowd ate it up.

"It's just a great atmosphere," Lightning C Dominic Moore said. "You feel like a kid again in that kind of environment."

Moore, acquired by Montreal last season from the Panthers, saw first-hand, or at least heard, the party that precedes games. But Moore, signed by Tampa Bay as a free agent, said the atmosphere is not for everyone.

"It depends on your personality," he said. "If you thrive under those conditions, it's great. A lot of teams and players can be intimidated by it. I enjoy it.

"I have great memories, but I'm trying to build some here in Tampa Bay with the group we have here."

OHLUND UPDATE: D Mattias Ohlund, in his second week off skates in an attempt to reduce swelling and fluid in his right knee, should be back on the ice next week, GM Steve Yzerman said, though there is no timetable for him to resume playing.

"Just try to do a little more every day," Yzerman said. "When we get back from the trip, he and (head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan) will start exercising and gradually each day step it up a little bit."

PARTY ON: Yzerman missed his first victory as a GM on Saturday because he was at his brother's wedding in Ottawa.

"I just saw the highlights," he said of the 5-3 win over the Thrashers. "It was mixed emotions. Obviously, I would have loved to have been at the game.

"Everybody at the wedding was giving me updates. ... It was festive when it was 4-0 and quieted down a little bit when it was 4-3."

With the victory in hand, Yzerman said, "I got a bunch of texts from people from all over."

FIRST TIME: F Dana Tyrell, 21, before his second NHL game, said the hype and atmosphere in the Bell Centre made him "more ready than intimidated."

"When you're out there skating, you can tell by the stands that the crowd is going to be right on top of you," Tyrell said. "It's a big honor to play here."

Still, Tyrell admitted to being a Maple Leafs fan growing up in Airdrie, Alberta.

So he hated the Canadiens?

"Yeah," he said. "I guess I did."

ODDS AND ENDS: Lightning players requested 71 tickets for the game. LW Simon Gagne requested the most, 17. ... G Dan Ellis is expected to start tonight at Philadelphia. ... D Matt Smaby and LW Mattias Ritola also were scratched.

Tagged: Canadiens, Lightning, Mattias Ohlund, Dominic Moore, Matt Smaby, Dana Tyrell

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