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Drouin could return against Sabres, Fucale arrives to back up Lindgren

One of the Canadiens' top forwards may be good to go against Buffalo on Saturday night at the Bell Centre

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

BROSSARD - It looks like the Canadiens could have Jonathan Drouin back in their lineup on Saturday night.

The 22-year-old forward missed Thursday night's game against the Minnesota Wild with an upper-body injury, but was featured in between Alex Galchenyuk and Artturi Lehkonen at the morning skate on the South Shore.

Following the on-ice session, Drouin provided an update on his status heading into the tilt against Buffalo.

"I'm going to talk with the doctors, but the chances are good that I'll play tonight," said Drouin, who suffered the injury on November 7 in the loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at the Bell Centre. "I felt better this morning. We're going to make sure that it's the right decision for me and for the team."

Video: Jonathan Drouin on his status for Saturday night

It remains to be seen if defenseman Shea Weber will suit up following a one-game absence due to a lower-body injury.

Like Drouin, Weber took part in the morning skate, but his status for Saturday night's contest hasn't yet been confirmed.

One player who will definitely be in uniform is goaltender Zach Fucale, who was called up from the AHL's Laval Rocket on an emergency basis on Friday after the Canadiens revealed that Al Montoya was out with an upper-body injury.

The 22-year-old netminder was accompanying the Rocket to Springfield, MA to begin a two-game road trip when the Canadiens reached out to have him join the big club.

"We were at customs and they asked me to take my bag off the bus. I waited for a car to take me back to the other side," said Fucale, who will serve as Charlie Lindgren's backup on Saturday night. "An hour or two in the car coming back doesn't bother me."

Video: Zach Fucale on being called up from Laval

Fucale has enjoyed a strong start between the pipes for Sylvain Lefebvre's squad, boasting a 4-1-0 record in five appearances so far this season.

"I've had a good start, but there are always things to improve. As a group, we're coming along," said Fucale, who hasn't yet seen game action in the NHL ranks. "I'm taking [being called up] as a positive, and it's a good opportunity for me again."

The Sabres, meanwhile, arrived in Montreal after dropping a 4-1 decision to the Florida Panthers on Friday night in Western New York.

Paul Byron doesn't expect fatigue to be a factor for Buffalo, though. 

"I expect a hard-fought game. They play a really hard game and they've got skill, so they're a pretty dangerous team," explained Byron. "I think they can beat anybody on any given night. If you're not ready, they'll make you pay, for sure."

Video: Paul Byron on the matchup against the Sabres

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