BROSSARD - After a day off on Friday, the Canadiens hit the ice at the Bell Sports Complex on Saturday morning in preparation for their game against the New York Rangers at the Bell Centre.
- Just as the morning skate got underway, the Canadiens confirmed that both Alex Galchenyuk and Andrew Shaw would be returning to the lineup on Saturday night after extended stints on the sidelines due to injury.
- The Canadiens also provided several additional updates with respect to players who are still injured. While David Desharnais (knee) has started skating on his own again, Andrei Markov (lower-body), Greg Pateryn (ankle) and Brendan Gallagher (hand) aren't doing any on-ice workouts at this point in time.
- With respect to Galchenyuk, the 22-year-old forward returns to active duty after missing the last 18 games with a knee injury suffered on December 4 at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
The Canadiens' No. 27 simply couldn't wait to heal up and get back to the business of putting up points again. You'll recall that when the American sniper went down, he had already registered 23 points - including nine goals - in 25 games.
"It's been pretty long, five-and-a-half weeks. It's exciting to get back. I've been working hard to get to this point and now it's here and it's game time. It feels like the first game of the season for me, back to the start, and I can't wait to get out there at the Bell Centre," said Galchenyuk, who head coach Michel Therrien will feature on a line with captain Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov on Saturday night.
"I wanted to make sure that I'd come back when I felt 100 percent confident and ready to go out there and play my game," added the former third-overall selection back in 2012. "Obviously, you could have rushed back a little bit earlier, but now I feel confident in my abilities and everything feels pretty good out there. I just want to go and play my game."
Video: Alex Galchenyuk on his return to the lineup
- Shaw, meanwhile, has been battling concussion-like symptoms since going down in a tilt against the Boston Bruins on December 12. He's been watching from afar for 14 straight games, which isn't something the 25-year-old forward is accustomed to at all over the course of his NHL career.
"I think the longest I've ever sat for an injury is two weeks, so obviously it was tough for me," said Shaw, who has six goals, 15 points and a plus-12 differential in 29 games so far this season. "I've never been out with a concussion like that before, so it's mentally and physically tough. I'm excited to get it going. I'm going to be playing the same way I was when I left. I don't expect my game to change at all.
Video: Andrew Shaw on returning on Saturday night
- The Canadiens welcome Galchenyuk and Shaw back against a Rangers squad that is coming off a 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night at Madison Square Garden, but sits just one point back of them in the Eastern Conference standings in fifth spot with a 28-4-1 record (57 points) on the year.
- Carey Price will be looking to bounce back between the pipes after surrendering seven goals on 24 shots to the Minnesota Wild in a 7-1 defeat at the Xcel Energy Center in the Canadiens' most recent outing on Thursday.
- Saturday night's contest will also mark Therrien's 800th career game as a head coach in the NHL.
- Puck drop on Saturday night is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet and TVA Sports, as well as on TSN Radio 690 and 98,5 fm.
Probable lineup against New York:
Max Pacioretty - Alex Galchenyuk - Alexander Radulov
Artturi Lehkonen - Tomas Plekanec - Sven Andrighetto
Paul Byron - Phillip Danault - Andrew Shaw
Brian Flynn - Torrey Mitchell - Michael McCarron
Alexei Emelin - Shea Weber
Nathan Beaulieu - Jeff Petry
Mark Barberio - Zach Redmond