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Canadiens' Desharnais feels better, could play Game 3

by Arpon Basu / NHL.com

TAMPA -- Montreal Canadiens center David Desharnais said he will be in the lineup Wednesday for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena (7 p.m. ET; USA, CBC, TVA Sports).

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien did not want to confirm Desharnais would play, but said as long as the center feels well from the gastrointestinal virus that forced him to miss Game 2, he will be in the lineup.

"I'm feeling fine now and ready to help my teammates have a big win tonight," Desharnais said.

The Canadiens trail the best-of-7 series 2-0.

Desharnais participated in the morning skate Sunday but woke up from his pregame nap when the virus hit.

"I think we all know what happens when you have gastro," Desharnais said.

Desharnais spent all of Sunday afternoon at the hospital trying to get hydrated through the use of an intravenous drip in the hopes he could play Game 2, but he was announced as a scratch when the Canadiens took the ice for the warmup. He stayed in Montreal when the Canadiens left for Tampa on Monday and took a commercial flight Tuesday through Orlando, landing here at around 1 p.m., when the Canadiens began their practice.

"Every time there's a virus you don't want to spread it out," Therrien said. "Our medical staff wanted to make sure the rest of the team didn't get it. So we took a precaution. David looked pretty good this morning. I talked to him; he's got energy. But we'll see for tonight. If he's feeling well he'll play tonight."

A day after the Canadiens appeared loose and chatty following their skate Tuesday, it was a more serious group Wednesday that addressed reporters as the players hoped to avoid a 3-0 series deficit against a team that has defeated them seven straight times this season.

Center Lars Eller smiled when asked whether the extra day off allowed the Canadiens some time to forget their penalty-filled performance in Game 2 or if it allowed the feeling to linger even longer.

"Yeah," he said, "I'm going to make it sound like a good thing for us either way.

"We've done some analyzing among the coaching staff, among the players. But now it's time to go out and act tonight. There's no more time for talk."

The Canadiens handed the Lightning eight power plays and allowed four power-play goals in Game 2, a 6-2 loss, so it was clear what the priority was for Game 3.

"We're not a team that's known for its lack of discipline," Therrien said. "I think we've shown a lot of discipline all season. It's something we take a lot of pride in. We had a faux pas the last game, so we have to learn from it. We'll get back to our good habits."

Here are the projected lineups:

CANADIENS

Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher

Alex Galchenyuk - David Desharnais - Dale Weise

Brandon Prust - Lars Eller - PA Parenteau

Jacob De La Rose - Torrey Mitchell - Devante Smith-Pelly

Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban

Alexei Emelin - Jeff Petry

Tom Gilbert - Greg Pateryn

Carey Price

Dustin Tokarski

Scratched: Manny Malhotra, Brian Flynn, Mike Weaver, Sergei Gonchar, Mike Condon

Injured: Nathan Beaulieu (upper body)

LIGHTNING

Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Ryan Callahan

Nikita Kucherov - Tyler Johnson - Ondrej Palat

Cedric Paquette - Valtteri Filppula - Brian Boyle

Vladislav Namestnikov - J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr

Braydon Coburn - Matthew Carle

Nikita Nesterov

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Brenden Morrow

Injured: None

Status report: If Desharnais doesn't play, Flynn likely would play a second straight game and Eller would move into a spot between Galchenyuk and Weise.

Who's hot: Mitchell leads Canadiens forwards with four points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. … Gilbert, Weise and Pacioretty are the only Canadiens with more than one goal.

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