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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

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At the Rink blog
Leblanc to make NHL debut for Canadiens
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."
Quote of the Day

I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie