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Hudon could play, while Galchenyuk is chasing the 20-goal plateau

The Canadiens square off against the Red Wings on Thursday night at Little Caesars Arena

by Joanie Godin. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski. @CanadiensMTL /

DETROIT - Charles Hudon could return to the Canadiens' lineup on Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings. If it was up to him, he'd play, but the team's medical staff will make the final call.

"In my head, I want to play. Sometimes, though, the body doesn't necessarily follow what the head wants. We'll see what happens. I'm going to talk to Claude [Julien] later," said Hudon, following the Canadiens' optional skate on Thursday morning at Little Caesars Arena.

"Sometimes, when decisions are made, a player isn't happy. But, health is the most important thing," added Hudon.

The 23-year-old forward has been dealing with an injury for about a month to a month-and-a-half. He feels ready to suit up, but sometimes he can't offer up the effort he'd like to.

"Mentally, I was able to play. I want to play and be the best I can be on the ice. But, I wasn't completely comfortable in some spots, not 100 percent. I'm very hard on myself, so it's definitely been tough to swallow," he admitted.

Hudon has missed the Canadiens' last two games.

Meanwhile, Julien shared some kind words about Alex Galchenyuk on Thursday. Galchenyuk is on the verge of reaching the 20-goal plateau for the third time in his career, sitting just one goal shy of the mark with two games to go.

The veteran bench boss isn't planning on changing his game plan to give the American sniper a better shot at lighting the lamp, though.

"The guys who've hit these marks [Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher] did it themselves, and you want Galchenyuk to do it, too. If he doesn't score his 20th goal, during a season like this, I don't think it will change a lot of things. But, it's always flattering for a player to post round numbers. I'm going to coach a hockey game, though, and not just focus on watching him accomplish what he has to accomplish. I think over the next two games he's going to have good chances to score," explained Julien.

Video: Claude Julien's pregame press conference @ DET

Julien also noted that Galchenyuk has shown significant improvement this year.

"It hasn't been an easy season. With the changes to our lineup and the injuries we've had, it's tough to find a rhythm with our lines. A lot of things come into play when it comes to scoring goals. We all want to see him score 30 goals again, but I think on average he's a 20-something goal scorer," he mentioned. 

"This season has been a little bit tougher because he hasn't had the same teammates, but he could still hit 20 goals. That isn't a bad season. We know he's a lot better and that he improved in the aspects of the game that we wanted him to."

One of those aspects, in particular, has been his overall involvement in the play.

"He's a lot more involved than he was when I arrived. I think it was tough for him last season, but I've seen a difference in him this year," concluded Julien.

Thursday night's contest against the Red Wings begins at 7:30 p.m. and Antti Niemi will get the start in goal. 

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