BUFFALO - Brendan Gallagher should be in the lineup on Thursday night, but a few more lineup decisions await before puck drop.
Gallagher, who has missed the last six games with headaches, participated in the optional skate at the KeyBank Center.
During his pregame press conference, head coach Claude Julien confirmed that the 27-year-old Edmonton native should play right-wing on a line with Phillip Danault and Tomas Tatar.
Those additional game-time decisions, meanwhile, center around certain players who are dealing with the flu.
"We still have some decisions to make because of what happened last week. We have some question marks," explained Julien. "We have a good idea of what we want, but that doesn't mean that it's going to happen."
Video: Claude Julien's pregame press conference @ BUF
Nevertheless, the two players affected by illness - Max Domi and Artturi Lehkonen - both suited up for the on-ice session.
Unfortunately, Julien himself is dealing with the flu as well. But he assured reporters that he'll still be at the helm against the Sabres.
"It happened fast. I dealt with it last night. Don't worry, I'll be behind the bench tonight," mentioned Julien with a laugh.
All kidding aside, Gallagher's return should do the Canadiens plenty of good.
As per usual, he was enjoying an excellent season before his injury with 15 goals and 32 points in 41 games.
"He can make a big difference. Gally brings a lot of intensity. He works every shift. It's a part of his game that our team needs," stressed Domi. "He's an important player for this team. It'll be good to have him back tonight."
Video: Max Domi on his health status
Julien shared similar thoughts, knowing full well that Gallagher's presence adds more depth to the lineup.
"It's good news when you have a player of his caliber back out there. He brings a lot of energy. He's very dangerous in front of the opposing net," praised Julien. "We'll gladly get him back in there."
This promises to be a high-intensity contest because both clubs have 51 points and sit 10 points out of a playoff spot.
The Sabres have been particularly good on home ice, though, boasting a 14-7-3 record on their own turf.
With that in mind, Montreal understands the challenge ahead.
"It's going to be a tough game. That's a good team over there and they have many elite players. You have to be aware of them on the ice, and you have to be ready to play them. It's a big game. It should be fun," said Domi, who has 12 goals and 34 points in 51 games this season. "There's a kind of playoff atmosphere every time you face a division rival. There's always a good atmosphere. We'll be ready."
Familiar territory for Scandella
Defenseman Marco Scandella will square off against his former teammates on Thursday night.
The former second-round selection of the Minnesota Wild (55th overall) played two full seasons with the Sabres before being acquired by the Canadiens on January 2.
Video: Marco Scandella on his return to Buffalo
Scandella says he's prepared to see some old buddies on the ice.
"It'll be fun. I'm going to have a good time out there. I already have a few chirps to bother them a bit," said Scandella with a laugh.
The Montreal native will be playing his 11th game with the Habs.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.