Montreal Canadiens rookie forward Michael Bournival is making it difficult for coach Michel Therrien to keep him off the ice, and that could be a problem for two of Montreal's veteran forwards.
Bournival was re-inserted into the lineup for Game 2 of the Canadiens' Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Boston Bruins on Saturday in place of veteran forward Travis Moen, who returned to the lineup in Game 1 after missing a month with a concussion.
Bournival began the game on Therrien's fourth line with Daniel Briere and Dale Weise, but finished it on the second line with Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher, taking the spot of Brandon Prust.
Limited by an upper-body injury, Prust played in four of Montreal's final 23 regular-season games. He played a team-low 7:29 in Game 2, but Therrien insists that had more to do with Bournival than with Prust.
"Honestly, he's healthy," Therrien said of Prust during a conference call with reporters Sunday. "I really liked Bournival. I thought Bournival had a really good first round and when we put him back in the lineup we wanted to use his speed, and I thought he did a really good job once again."
Bournival had seven shifts in the third period Saturday, matching his total for the first and second periods combined; Prust got on the ice four times in the third.
Therrien will have a decision to make for Game 3 on Tuesday at Bell Centre (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
He said Moen sat out Game 2 because it was a matinee game, meaning a quick turnaround following a 4-3 double-overtime win in Game 1 on Thursday. With Montreal enjoying two days off before Game 3, that argument for keeping Moen out again will not hold.
Moen and Prust are key penalty-killers for the Canadiens; each plays a physical game and seems well-suited to face the Bruins. But if Bournival sticks on the Plekanec line, that means Therrien will need to choose either Moen or Prust to play on the fourth line with Briere and Weise.
The reason there is an open spot on that Plekanec line to begin with is because Alex Galchenyuk is out with a lower-body injury. The original prognosis when Galchenyuk was injured April 9 against the Chicago Blackhawks was that he would be out for the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Galchenyuk, who had 31 points in 65 games this season, skated on his own for the first time last Wednesday, but he has not skated with the team yet.
Therrien was asked Sunday whether Galchenyuk might be able to participate in Canadiens practice Monday morning.
"It's too early to answer your question," Therrien responded.
With Galchenyuk unlikely to be ready for Game 3, either Moen or Prust might pay the price for Bournival's strong play on Saturday.