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Canadiens shift Galchenyuk to center against Jets

Winnipeg defenseman Morrissey set for NHL debut

by Patrick Williams / Correspondent

CANADIENS (30-29-6) at JETS (26-32-5)

TV: 7 p.m. ET; TVA Sports, SN, NHL.TV

WINNIPEG -- Alex Galchenyuk will center the Montreal Canadiens' top line when they visit the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre on Saturday.

Galchenyuk, who played center earlier this season, will skate between Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher.

"One thing with Alex is that he is progressing really well," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "He is playing with confidence. As a winger, he has been productive. We want to make sure that … he is capable of maintaining that. If he is capable of maintaining the quality of play that he has given us lately, that's great news."

Galchenyuk, fourth on the Canadiens with 39 points (19 goals, 20 assists), took the move in stride.

"I've played wing," Galchenyuk said. "I've played center. I've just got to go out there and do my job."

Right wing Sven Andrighetto will replace Mike Brown. The Canadiens have lost the first three games of their four-game road trip (0-2-1).

The Jets are on a 1-5-2 slide. Their lineup sustained three injuries in a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday, prompting the recalls of defenseman Josh Morrissey and forward J.C. Lipon from Manitoba of the American Hockey League.

Rookie forward Nikolaj Ehlers sustained an eye injury in the game and is out indefinitely. Drew Stafford will replace Ehlers on the left side of the first line.

Along with an injury to forward Anthony Peluso, defenseman Jacob Trouba sustained an upper-body injury. Morrissey, the 13th pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, will make his NHL debut and replace Trouba on a pairing with Tyler Myers. Lipon will take Peluso's place on the fourth line.

"The smile hasn't left my face since [Friday] when I got the call and [Saturday] morning when [coach] Paul [Maurice] told me that I was in," Morrissey said. 

Maurice is eager to see Morrissey.

"First, I'm hoping that he enjoys the heck out of it," Maurice said. "It's a Saturday night playing the Montreal Canadiens. I hope he just soaks it all up and enjoys every minute of it."
"I want to see what he does well at the NHL level. He's a smooth defenseman, skates well, moves the puck well, sees the ice well. This is going to be a whole lot faster than any [preseason] game that he played or any game in the [AHL], so we're going to take that skill set, apply it to an NHL game and see how he does."

Goalie Mike Condon will start for the Canadiens, his sixth start in the past seven games. Goalie Ondrej Pavelec will start for the Jets.

Here are the projected lineups:


Max Pacioretty - Alex Galchenyuk - Brendan Gallagher

Lars Eller - Tomas Plekanec - Sven Andrighetto

Stefan Matteau - Michael McCarron - Paul Byron

Jacob De La Rose - Phillip Danault - Torrey Mitchell

Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban

Alexei Emelin - Greg Pateryn

Morgan Ellis - Mark Barberio

Mike Condon

Ben Scrivens

Injured: Nathan Beaulieu (lower body), Daniel Carr (lower body), David Desharnais (foot), Brian Flynn (lower body), Tom Gilbert (knee) Jeff Petry (hernia), Carey Price (leg)

Scratched: Victor Bartley, Mike Brown, Lucas Lessio


Drew Stafford - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Alexander Burmistrov - Joel Armia

Chris Thorburn - Adam Lowry - Marko Dano

Matt Halischuk - Andrew Copp - J.C. Lipon

Toby Enstrom - Dustin Byfuglien

Josh Morrissey - Tyler Myers

Ben Chiarot - Paul Postma

Ondrej Pavelec

Michael Hutchinson

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back), Nikolaj Ehlers (eye), Bryan Little (neck), Anthony Peluso (upper body) Mark Stuart (hand), Jacob Trouba (upper body)

Scratched: None

Status report: Desharnais skated, but Therrien did not have an update on him. … Ehlers will see a specialist next week. "In a week's time, we'll get a feel for where the blood level is in his eye and go from there," Maurice said. "It hasn't gotten worse. It's not worse than we thought [Friday]."… Maurice said that Trouba is a possibility to play Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers. … Hutchinson and Pavelec have alternated the past five starts.

Who's hot: Eller (one goal, one assist), Markov (three assists) and Subban (one goal, two assists) each have two-game point streaks. … Byfuglien has a seven-game point streak (one goal, six assists), tying a career-high.

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