Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin will make his season debut Saturday at Bell Centre against the New York Rangers. The Russian defenseman has been out seven months since undergoing reconstructive knee surgery following a collision with Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins on AprIL 6.
Emelin had the procedure to repair the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee in May. Until the injury, Emelin was enjoying a breakout season in Montreal, establishing career highs in assists (nine), points (12) and plus-minus (plus-2) in his second NHL season.
The Canadiens have been anticipating the return of the 27-year-old. A third-round pick (No. 84) in the 2004 NHL Draft, Emelin provides a physical element to the Montreal defense that has been missing in the early part of this season. Though he missed the final 10 games of 2012-13, Emelin finished first on the Canadiens with 110 hits.
With Emelin back in the lineup, Douglas Murray, who signed with Montreal as a free agent in August, will be a healthy scratch.