BROSSARD - After a day off on Wednesday, the Canadiens practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on Thursday morning before departing for Raleigh, NC where they'll play the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
- Before practice got underway, Artturi Lehkonen hit the ice with athletic therapist Vincent Roof-Racine to continue rehabbing from an upper-body injury that has forced him to miss the last five games. In his post-practice press conference, head coach Michel Therrien said that the Canadiens are hoping to have the Finnish forward back in the lineup next week.
- Meanwhile, Alexander Radulov was absent from practice again on Thursday due to illness. The Canadiens confirmed that the Russian forward is still sick and that he will not be accompanying the team to North Carolina. Radulov also missed Tuesday night's game against the Florida Panthers at the Bell Centre. Therrien isn't ruling him out for Saturday night's game against Toronto at the Bell Centre, though. It remains to be seen if he'll be well enough to play.
- The Canadiens' bench boss also confirmed that Al Montoya will get the start in goal on Friday night. The Hurricanes will counter with Cam Ward between the pipes.
- Therrien also shared his thoughts on Alex Galchenyuk's strong start to the season on Thursday. The Canadiens' No. 27 is currently on a six-game points streak, amasssing three goals and five assists during that span. Interestingly enough, Galchenyuk has only been held off the scoresheet on three occasions so far this year.
"He's a guy with a lot of self-confidence. He's always had that. His skills, his speed, and his understanding of the game are all improving," praised Therrien. "It's the first year that we've considered putting him in that position [as our top centerman], and he's responded really well up until now. He's making great progress and it's encouraging to see that from a player in your organization."
Lines and D pairings at practice:
Byron - Galchenyuk - Gallagher
Pacioretty - Danault - Shaw
Desharnais - Plekanec - Terry
Carr - Mitchell - Andrighetto
Emelin - Weber
Markov - Petry
Beaulieu - Pateryn