Parise and Suter were the centerpiece of the team's off-season makeover in 2012, as Minnesota signed the pair to 13-year contracts worth $98 million each. Pominville was acquired from the Buffalo Sabres at last season's Trade Deadline and was immediately placed on the team's top line alongside Parise and Koivu. Saturday night against Winnipeg will be the trio's first opportunity to recapture some of the chemistry they found late last season.
Suter and Brodin, who was one of the League's best rookies in 2012-13, made up the team's top defensive pairing all of last season. So they are expected to shake off some of the rust as well.
The trio was held out of Montreal's first three preseason contests, in which the team posted a 1-1-1 record. The Canadiens host Carolina Saturday night at the Bell Centre just one night after defeating the Hurricanes 6-0 in a one-sided match played at the Pepsi Colisee in Quebec City.
Markov ranked fourth in scoring among defensemen last season, posting 30 points in 48 games. His eight power play goals also led all NHL defensemen. Bourque and Plekanec were important pieces on Montreal's top two lines in 2012-13, with Plekanec finishing third on the team with 33 points in 47 games and Bourque posting 13 points in 27 games.
Coach Claude Julien confirmed to reporters Friday that Patrice Bergeron will make his preseason debut after recovering from injuries that included a broken rib, torn rib cartilage, a collapsed lung and a separated shoulder.
"Yeah, [Bergeron] is going to play [Saturday]," Julien said. "Who’s got the tweets going?"
Purcell is not expected to miss any significant time.
"He's not feeling well," coach Jon Cooper said. "He showed up [Friday] and I don't know if it was respiratory or I have no idea, so maybe if it was a regular-season game who knows, maybe he would play. So he went to go get checked out at the [doctor] and even before he comes back [from the doctor], I just wanted to put somebody else in."
The Tampa Bay Lightning assigned forward Adam Erne to the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League on Friday. The move trimmed the team’s training camp roster to 58.
Erne was picked by the Lightning in the second round (No. 33) of the 2013 NHL Draft. He scored two goals and added another in the shootout in Tampa Bay’s 4-3 defeat of the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday in his first NHL preseason game.