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Canadiens' Galchenyuk practices, not ready for games

by Arpon Basu

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Injured Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk took part in his first practice Friday since being cleared for contact a day earlier, but he is not ready for game action.

The Canadiens will play the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final at Bell Centre on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, RDS).

Galchenyuk skated on a line with scratches Ryan White and George Parros at practice Friday.

"I have a couple of more steps to go and I should be good," Galchenyuk said Friday after putting in some extra time after practice with the Canadiens scratches.

Galchenyuk has not played since sustaining a lower-body injury April 9 against the Chicago Blackhawks. He confirmed rumors it was a knee injury that sidelined him but said it is fully healed.

"The knee doesn't really concern me anymore," he said. "It's just game speed, game conditioning."

Galchenyuk, 20, was eighth on the Canadiens in scoring with 31 points in 65 games. He scored one goal in two games against the Rangers this season.

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said he was happy to see Galchenyuk take the step of practicing fully, but other steps remain before he's put back in the lineup.

"First of all he hasn't played for almost six weeks," Therrien said. "It was great news for us that he was capable to practice with the team. This is another step. He's going to need some more practice with the team to make sure he's in the best shape physically, mentally about performing in the playoffs.

"But that's good news. Eventually he'll get a shot because he's an important player for our team. I was excited to see Alex back with the team."

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