BROSSARD - The Canadiens could have Brendan Gallagher back in the lineup on Thursday night.
The 27-year-old right-winger took part in the morning skate alongside the rest of his teammates, and was featured at his usual spot on the top line with Tomas Tatar and Phillip Danault.
Gallagher has missed the last four games after suffering a concussion during the New Year's Eve contest against the Carolina Hurricanes.
All that stands between the Habs' alternate captain and a return to active duty is clearance from team doctors, which is expected to come at some point ahead of the contest versus Edmonton.
"It looks good," responded Julien, when asked about Gallagher's playing status. "We're confident that he'll get the green light, but it hasn't been confirmed yet."
For his part, Gallagher is feeling just fine.
He doesn't actually remember the moment he sustained the injury when defenseman Ben Chiarot inadvertently kneed him in the head as he fell to the ice following a hit.
Apart from that, he "never really had a ton of symptoms" related to the concussion itself.
"I'm just hoping to play. I feel good, I feel ready," affirmed Gallagher, who has 15 goals and 32 points in 40 games this season. "We'll see what happens now."
Watching from the sidelines while the group struggled wasn't easy for the ultra-competitive forward.
He desperately wanted to be out there battling alongside his buddies.
"You want to be able to help, and the frustrating thing is the guys are working hard," said Gallagher. "You're a little bit helpless. There's not much you can do. You can't really compare your emotions to what they're dealing with. It's just something you want to get out of and you want to work your way out of. Whatever we're going to go through, we're going to be resilient, we're going to search for results, and we're going to search for answers. At this point, we've just got to find it."
Gallagher's probable return should provide an important boost and restore a bit of normalcy to a club that is still missing some big guns.
Danault is adamant that Gallagher's presence is always a huge asset.
"We're happy to see him back. It should do some good for our line," praised Danault. "Gally's someone who works 60 minutes every game. He goes to the net and he pays the price. He's a really important player for our team. We definitely missed him."
Video: Brendan Gallagher on his health status
Righting the ship
If the Canadiens are going to register their first victory since December 23 on Thursday night, a total team effort is required.
Julien stressed that point time and again during his pregame press conference on the South Shore.
"It's always good news when you see a guy like Brendan back and he has a chance to rejoin the lineup. We hope it'll help, but we'll need more than just him," insisted Julien. "We'll need everyone to beat a team that has been playing well lately, especially on the road."
Video: Claude Julien's pregame press conference vs. EDM
The veteran bench boss is hopeful that his players can channel their frustration towards achieving a positive outcome in front of the Bell Centre faithful.
"Everyone is definitely frustrated right now. We aren't winning. But we're the only people who can get ourselves out of this situation. It's up to us to turn things around and start winning games," emphasized Julien. "It will take a good effort from everyone, and we have to minimize the mistakes. We have to pay attention to the small details and play with a lot of passion."
Unfortunately, Chiarot won't be available against the Oilers. He's out with a lower-body injury.