BUFFALO - Brian Flynn and Torrey Mitchell return to the lineup as the Canadiens close out a three-game road trip against the Sabres on Wednesday night at the KeyBank Center.
The pair skated on a line with Dwight King at the morning skate, meaning that Steve Ott, Michael McCarron and Andreas Martinsen are all out as the Canadiens go in search of their sixth consecutive victory.
Flynn hasn't seen game action since March 7 when he went down with an upper-body injury in Vancouver. He missed eight games due to the injury, and was a healthy scratch for the last four.
"It's been a while. I think it's been about a month. Watching the boys having some success, hopefully I can jump in and continue that," said Flynn, who has six goals and 10 points in 49 games so far this season. "It's tough to sit out over a month and then jump into a playoff series. I've been working hard to get back as quick as I could, and then skating with the guys. I'm ready to go."
Video: Brian Flynn on his return to the lineup vs. Buffalo
Mitchell, meanwhile, has spent the last three games on the sidelines. He was a healthy scratch on March 30 when the Canadiens clinched a playoff berth at home, then fell ill on Saturday in Tampa, before being a healthy scratch again on Monday night in Sunrise.
"There's a lot of competition [for playing time]. You have to come to the rink sharp. If you aren't sharp, somebody is going to take your spot for games. There's a lot of competition and it's good for the team," said Mitchell, who plans on using the fact that he hasn't seen game action as of late as extra motivation on Wednesday night. "If you take the frustration and you use it for your focus, you might have a better game, so I'm going to use it to hopefully have a big game tonight."
Head coach Claude Julien underscored the importance of getting the likes of Flynn and Mitchell back into the fold with just three games to go before the start of postseason play.
"I want to make sure that everybody plays in order to be well-prepared for the playoffs," said Julien. "[Flynn] hasn't played for a while, and Mitchy has also missed a few games, so we're going to give them a chance to get back in the lineup tonight."
Video: Claude Julien on the return of Flynn and Mitchell
The Canadiens' bench boss also provided a few injury updates following Wednesday morning's on-ice session.
With respect to defenseman Shea Weber, who returned to Montreal for precautionary reasons after suffering a lower-body injury, Julien indicated that "it isn't serious."
Julien also mentioned that defenseman Jordie Benn remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury, going on to add that he's confident that the Canadian rearguard will be back for the playoffs. He cautioned that it's "only a coach talking," though.
After begin given the night off against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise on Monday, Carey Price will be back between the pipes. Charlie Lindgren will serve as the backup as Al Montoya continues to recover from a lower-body injury.
The Sabres will counter with Robin Lehner in goal as they look to snap a three-game losing streak in their final home game of the year.
"Their game against Toronto on Monday was pretty intense," said Julien, who fully expects Dan Bylsma's squad to play their hearts out in front of the KeyBank Center faithful. "That tells me that they want to finish on a high, but that there's also some frustration on their side. We have to be ready to play smart hockey tonight."