BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal Canadiens forward Rene Bourque will play in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round series against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), coach Michel Therrien confirmed.
Bourque, Montreal's leading scorer in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with four goals in six games, missed practice Monday with an illness but took part in an optional skate Tuesday morning.
Therrien would not confirm any other lineup changes, and with 14 skaters taking part in the optional practice Tuesday there were no line rushes.
Based on the lines the Canadiens ran at practice Monday, it would appear forward Travis Moen may play in place of Brandon Prust, and defenseman Douglas Murray may take the spot of Francis Bouillon on Montreal's third pairing.
"We want to be a team that competes, that's always been our trademark, so we can't deviate from that," Therrien said. "With the depth we have on our team, we have players that are ready to play and that want to play. All season long we weren't afraid to call on our depth."
Therrien was quick to point out that he won't necessarily be calling on that depth.
Though Bourque being able to play is a relief for the Canadiens, Therrien is looking for more production out of his top line of Max Pacioretty, David Desharnais and Thomas Vanek, particularly at 5-on-5. That line has been matched consistently against Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and shutdown center Patrice Bergeron through the first two games of the series and has been kept off the score sheet at 5-on-5.
"The first line of each team has to perform well, to create momentum, to get scoring chances," Therrien said. "From that side of things we have to be better at 5-on-5, but what I take from that is not to focus only on the results. I want that line to impose its rhythm, to be more on the puck, to create scoring chances. If they create scoring chances, eventually with their talent the puck will wind up going in."
On home ice, Therrien will have the opportunity to get the Desharnais line away from Chara and Bergeron for some shifts, but he said that advantage can be limited over two-thirds of the game because Bruins coach Claude Julien will be able to do a hard change to get the matchups he wants with the short change in the first and third periods.
"You have to be careful with that," Therrien said. "With the defensemen, especially in the first and third periods, hard changes can be made at any moment. The Bruins bench is very close by in the first and the third, so those changes are made quickly and regularly. I don't want to cut the tempo of a game just to try and match lines against defensemen."
That can be taken to mean Therrien will not necessarily be pulling his players off the ice as soon as Julien makes a line change. Therrien did admit that at times it can be a tactical move to force an opposing coach into the hard change, but for the most part he wants to focus on the Canadiens dictating the play and forcing the Bruins to react.
"We're going to concentrate on the way we're supposed to play, concentrate on our game plan and the most important thing is to try and create some momentum to the game," Therrien said. "We can't just watch what they're going to do and try to adjust. We have to be the team that's going to put the pressure and we're going to try to make sure they're going to adjust to us tonight."
Here are the projected lineups:
Milan Lucic – David Krejci – Jarome Iginla
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Reilly Smith
Daniel Paille – Carl Soderberg – Loui Eriksson
Shawn Thornton – Gregory Campbell – Jordan Caron
Zdeno Chara – Dougie Hamilton
Johnny Boychuk – Andrej Meszaros
Torey Krug – Kevan Miller
Scratched: Justin Florek, Matt Bartkowski
Injured: Chris Kelly (back), Adam McQuaid (quad), Dennis Seidenberg (ACL/MCL), Corey Potter (upper body)
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Thomas Vanek
Michael Bournival – Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher
Rene Bourque – Lars Eller – Brian Gionta
Travis Moen – Daniel Briere – Dale Weise
Josh Gorges – P.K. Subban
Andrei Markov – Alexei Emelin
Douglas Murray – Mike Weaver
Scratched: Brandon Prust, George Parros, Ryan White, Francis Bouillon, Jarred Tinordi
Injured: Alex Galchenyuk (lower body)