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Danault and Byron make the trip

The Canadiens received some good news before flying to Boston on Tuesday

by Pierre-Antoine Mercier, translated by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

BROSSARD - Things could have been far worse for Phillip Danault.

The 26-year-old centerman left Monday night's game against the Arizona Coyotes after being struck by a puck in the face in the second period.

Danault didn't participate in Tuesday's optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex, but head coach Claude Julien updated his health status before the team departed for Massachusetts.

"Phillip will make the trip. He didn't sustain a fracture. He has some minor damage to his teeth, but he can still travel and play," said Julien.

Video: Claude Julien's press conference

The Victoriaville native has been a key contributor this season. After 58 games, he ranks second on the club with 12 goals and 40 points.

He also ranks second with 28 assists as well.

In addition to picking up points, though, Danault has been strong defensively. The former first-round selection of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2011 (26th overall) leads Montreal with a plus-15 differential since the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

The veteran pivot also blocked 30 shots this year, and won a rather impressive 54.86% of his faceoffs.

His teammates recognize just how valuable his services really are.

"We're relieved to know that nothing major happened and he can play. He's a big piece of the team and a hard-working player," stressed defenseman Xavier Ouellet. "We need a player like him who brings energy." 

Video: Xavier Ouellet on the status of Phillip Danault

Even if he played just three career games with the Canadiens to date, young Jake Evans has already seen the impact Danault can make.

"He's an important part of this team. He's one of our best players both offensively and defensively," explained Evans, who scored his first career NHL goal on Monday night against the Coyotes. "It's good to have him on the trip."

Video: Jake Evans on his first career goal

First trek for Byron since November 15

For his part, forward Paul Byron joined his teammates for a charter flight for the first time since mid-November.

The 30-year-old winger underwent knee surgery on November 19, and has missed the last 38 games.

Byron, an Ottawa native, is eager to hit the ice for his first game in quite a while.

"I'm excited to play. I haven't played in a bit. I'm looking forward to it," explained Byron, who has one goal and four points in 19 games this season. "We'll see what happens this week."

Video: Paul Byron on his health status

Julien indicated, however, that Byron likely won't face the Bruins on Wednesday night in Boston.

"If he does get the green light from team doctors, he could play. I don't think it'll be [against the Bruins], but maybe Friday or Saturday," said Julien. "I'd say it's a day-to-day thing."

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