At some point last winter, Alouettes head coach Jason Maas looked at the schedule, saw his team was playing twice within five days and probably gazed at the heavens while muttering under his breath.

Then, just as quickly, he realized the two games at least were at home — a small consolation in the wacky CFL.

Montreal, which defeated Calgary last Saturday night in its most physical game this season, entertains Toronto Thursday night (7:30 p.m., TSN1, TSN4, TSN5, RDS, TSN Radio 690, 98.5 FM) at Molson Stadium. For the 5-0 Als, it’s their final game before a bye week in the schedule. The Argonauts (2-2) have lost two straight and played at Saskatchewan last Thursday night.

“I know there’s going to be weeks like that during our season,” Maas said Wednesday at Olympic Stadium. “Our guys are used to it and we’re used to it as coaches. We’ve tried to figure out a formula that works for us, and I feel like we have. Is it ideal? No. Football’s not meant to be played with five days’ rest. I don’t believe it is. But that’s what we’re scheduled to do. I don’t think it benefits anybody, to be quite honest.

“It does help to be home for both.”

The Als practised only once this week, on Tuesday, when most teams hold three full workouts before games during a regular week. And two players are still feeling the effects of their injuries. Both safety Marc-Antoine Dequoy and long-snapper Louis-Philippe Bourassa are listed as game-time decisions. Dequoy suffered a shoulder injury in the second quarter against Calgary and didn’t return, while Bourassa sustained a back injury during the pregame warm-up.

Bourassa would be replaced by backup linebacker Alexandre Gagné, who has experience long-snapping. On Tuesday, Bryce Cosby received most of the reps at safety. Tyrice Beverette also is available if necessary, although the Als would prefer the playmaking linebacker be in the box, closer to the line of scrimmage.

The key during a short week, according to Maas, is to mentally prepare while limiting the physical exertion. Obviously he trusts his players to handle what’s required and knows they’ll be ready.

“We give our guys a lot of time off here, and it’s for a reason,” he explained. “Mentally we want them to be ready. Physically we want them to be ready. We always want them to be excited to be in the building, too. When there’s five days between games and you’re tired and struggling to be in meetings, the extra day off is helpful. The guys get better sleep, better nutrition and come in here ready to play.”

While quarterback Cody Fajardo passed for 374 yards and two touchdowns against the Stampeders, he also was intercepted twice — albeit one coming on an attempted two-point convert. Fajardo now has thrown for 1,574 yards and 10 touchdowns while being intercepted four times. The Als also committed a third turnover following a fumble by receiver Tyson Philpot.

Nonetheless, Montreal twice overcame 14-point deficits, rallying for a 30-26 victory while outscoring Calgary 15-0 in the fourth quarter.

“Obviously interceptions and fumbles are going to happen,” Fajardo said. “I think the last time this team lost we had five turnovers in the first half at Toronto.” (It was actually the previous game, also a loss to Toronto, that saw the Als make four turnovers in the first half and another in the second.)

“We understand if we don’t turn the ball over, we don’t put our defence in a tough situation and we don’t put our offence in a bad situation. Protecting the ball leads to wins.

“There were some uncharacteristic things, but what we got most out of that game is something you only get if you’re in those types of games. When you’re down, when the chips are stacked against you, you see how you answer the call. For us to be in that game, we learned and got a lot more experience than if we won by double digits.”

A Montreal win on Thursday would increase its lead in the East Division to eight points over both Toronto and Ottawa; the latter plays at Edmonton Sunday night. It would also give the Als the season series against the Argos. Montreal is on a 13-game winning streak, including the playoffs and Grey Cup, and hasn’t lost since Sept. 15.

“The only people focused on the win streak is the media and the fans,” Fajardo said. “For us in this locker room, we hit the reset button each and every week. Our whole goal is to try and find a way to win. Sometimes we’re going to have issues and adversity. This team can win a bunch of different ways. ”

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