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At the Rink blog

Leblanc to make NHL debut for Canadiens

Wednesday, 11.30.2011 / 4:16 PM

By Curtis Zupke - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- There will be one new face and a different overall look for the Montreal Canadiens tonight against the Anaheim Ducks.

Rookie Louis Leblanc will make his NHL debut, centering the Habs' third line, flanked by Travis Moen and Lars Eller. Yannick Weber will move back to the fourth line, with Petteri Nokelainen and Mathieu Darche, while Frederic St-Denis goes in on defense.

Andrei Markov did not participate in practice because it was a "therapy day," Montreal coach Jacques Martin said.

Peter Budaj will get the start in goal tonight, with Carey Price expected to start at San Jose on Thursday.

Leblanc, who didn't arrive in time for practice Tuesday, was given jersey No. 71 and skated with his new teammates for the first time Wednesday.

He didn't have time to be nervous -- yet.

"I'll try the pre-game nap," Leblanc said. "The emotions are starting to kick in now. I'm just going to go in there and have fun."

Asked if it might be easier making his debut on the road, where the spotlight isn't as intense, Leblanc said, "Maybe it's a good thing, but it's a hockey game and I'm just going to go out there and have fun tonight."

Moen said he was excited to play with the 20-year-old Leblanc.

"We'll try to calm him down a bit," Moen said. "Playing with me and (Eller), just make the simple play. We're the type of players where you chip the pucks deep, we'll go get them. We'll try and get him his first goal."

Once again, it shows character in this dressing room. Once again, there's no quitting in here. We all wanted this so bad and we worked so hard to get home-ice advantage and we weren't going to let this one slide.

— Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog on his team's OT Game 1 win vs. Minnesota Wild