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At the Rink: Bruins at Canadiens

by Sean Farrell

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Sergei Gonchar felt full bore Thursday the glare of the media spotlight that comes with being a member of the Montreal Canadiens.

Gonchar, who was acquired in a trade with the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, skated with his new teammates for the first time at the Canadiens' suburban practice complex before the game against the Boston Bruins at Bell Centre.

The 40-year-old defenseman joins a defense corps that includes fellow Russians Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin. Gonchar said he never had experienced press coverage after a practice like the phalanx of reporters, microphones and cameras that surrounded him at his dressing room stall.

"I think I've heard [Gonchar] talk more than [Markov] and [Emelin] in about two hours here, so I think he'll be OK with talking," Canadiens right wing Dale Weise said.

Gonchar was paired with Markov on power-play drills. Montreal has scored three power-play goals in 42 opportunities, a success rate of 7.1 percent that ranks 28th in the NHL entering play Thursday.

"I have to get out there and see what they do," Gonchar said. "Obviously I got a sense [Tuesday] morning. At the same time it seems like they were missing that left shot, so I think I'm going to be given an opportunity to play with Andrei and be there for [the] one-timer with him."

The Canadiens scored two of their power-play goals in a 6-4 win against Boston on Oct. 16, including one into an empty net by Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau. Montreal has not scored with the man advantage in more than 10 games.

P.K. Subban, who was paired with Tom Gilbert on the other power-play unit, sat beside Gonchar during a video session.

"We're very happy to have him," Subban said. "He's going to make a huge difference on our team, especially on the power play. I mean, what he brings in terms of experience and when you think of having threats like that on the blue line, it's only going to help our team, both even strength and on the power play. So there's no shortage of understanding what he brings to our hockey club."

With Gonchar set to make his Canadiens debut against the Bruins, it is likely that coach Michel Therrien will sit rookie defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, though that will be a game-time decision.

Boston did not skate following a 6-1 loss at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

"I'm sure they're not going to want to lose two in a row, especially coming off a loss like that," Subban said. "I'm sure they didn't wake up on the right side of the bed, and we know how the Bruins can get, they get a little edgy sometimes, so I'm sure it will be a very energetic game [Thursday]. And it's always fun to play these types of games, but we're prepared to see their best game."

There could be a lineup change as the Bruins recalled forward Alex Khokhlachev from Providence of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis Thursday.

Here are the projected lineups:

BRUINS

Milan Lucic - Chris Kelly - Seth Griffith

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Reilly Smith

Matt Fraser - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Simon Gagne - Gregory Campbell - Daniel Paille

Dennis Seidenberg - Dougie Hamilton

Joe Morrow - Adam McQuaid

Torey Krug - Zach Trotman

Tuukka Rask

Niklas Svedberg

Scratched: Matt Bartkowski, Alex Khokhlachev

Injured: Zdeno Chara (knee), David Krejci (lower body), Kevan Miller (shoulder)

CANADIENS

Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

Alex Galchenyuk - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher

Brandon Prust - Lars Eller - Jiri Sekac

Drayson Bowman - Manny Malhotra - Dale Weise

Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban

Alexei Emelin - Mike Weaver

Sergei Gonchar - Tom Gilbert

Carey Price

Dustin Tokarski

Scratched: Nathan Beaulieu

Injured: Michael Bournival (shoulder)

Status report: Khokhlachev will be an option for the lineup Thursday. ... The Canadiens assigned defenseman Jarred Tinordi to Hamilton of the AHL on Tuesday.

Who's hot: Bergeron extended his points streak to five games (two goals, five assists) with an assist on Boston's only goal Wednesday. ... Eller has two goals and an assist, and Sekac has a goal and two assists, in their past two games. ... Gallagher had a goal and two assists, and Parenteau scored twice, in the Canadiens' win against the Bruins last month.

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