CANADIENS (13-2-1) at PENGUINS (9-5-0)
TV: NBCSN, SN, RDS
PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis returns to the lineup Wednesday against the Montreal Canadiens, five days after he was taken to an Edmonton hospital for precautionary reasons.
Dupuis participated in the morning skate at Consol Energy Center after missing the Penguins past two games because of symptoms that could have been related to his history of blood clots. Penguins coach Mike Johnston confirmed Dupuis will play after all tests came back negative.
"Everything was cleared," Dupuis said. "I'm ready to go … I was kept out of the lineup and we had to make sure coming back here to Pittsburgh a couple tests were done and they came out negative. So that's why I'm here. That's why I was here yesterday, here this morning, and I'll play tonight."
Dupuis is expected to return to center Sidney Crosby's left side against the Canadiens. He skated Wednesday alongside Crosby and right wing Beau Bennett, whose promotion bumped forward Patric Hornqvist to the third line.
"[Bennett] has a really high hockey IQ," Dupuis said. "Beau's a guy with great skill. He has a great shot. He's been playing some really good hockey and it'll be good to have him there on the right with us. … It's going to be the first one, so it might take a little bit of an adjustment period, but I'm glad he's here on the line with us."
Bennett will become the third forward to begin a game to Crosby's right through 15 games this season.
"Yeah, it might just be a full spring back to the bench [if he scores]," Bennett said while remarking on an undisclosed injury he sustained while celebrating a goal against Montreal on Oct. 13. "We'll see. Hopefully I can get one tonight."
Phil Kessel began the season next to Crosby before moving to the second line alongside center Evgeni Malkin. Kessel and Hornqvist traded positions, with Hornqvist returning to his spot next to Crosby he manned for a bulk of last season.
Hornqvist, who has four points this season, has failed to score in his past three games. Crosby has scored four points in his past five games after failing to score in eight of his first nine, but is stuck on two goals in 14 games.
The Penguins will avoid goalie Carey Price (lower-body injury), who helped the Canadiens to a 3-2 win the previous time these teams played. Pittsburgh might not be entirely fortunate, however, if they face goalie Mike Condon.
Condon, who would face the Penguins for the first time in his career, has started five consecutive games, winning four and losing one in overtime. He has gone 6-0-1 this season with a 1.57 goals-against average and .940 save percentage.
"We know that Carey's our best player and we know that there's an opportunity for us to make some noise," Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty said. "Obviously as individuals, we want to prove we can be one of the top teams in the League. I know guys like [Condon] felt that pressure and use that as motivation."
Here are the projected lineups:
Max Pacioretty – Tomas Plekanec – Brendan Gallagher
Lars Eller – Alex Galchenyuk – Devante Smith-Pelly
Tomas Fleischmann – David Desharnais – Dale Weise
Paul Byron – Torrey Mitchell – Brian Flynn
Andrei Markov – P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin – Jeff Petry
Nathan Beaulieu – Tom Gilbert
Injured: Carey Price (lower body)
Scratched: Zack Kassian, Alexander Semin, Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi
Pascal Dupuis – Sidney Crosby – Beau Bennett
David Perron – Evgeni Malkin – Phil Kessel
Chris Kunitz – Nick Bonino – Patric Hornqvist
Daniel Sprong – Matt Cullen – Eric Fehr
Ian Cole – Kris Letang
Olli Maatta – Rob Scuderi
Ben Lovejoy – Brian Dumoulin
Injured: Bryan Rust (undisclosed)
Scratched: Adam Clendening, Sergei Plotnikov
Status report: Clendening rotated with Scuderi next to Maatta during Pittsburgh's morning skate. … Pateryn was recalled from the St. John's IceCaps on Nov. 8, five days after being reassigned for conditioning purposes.
Who's hot: Kessel has scored at least one point in six of his past seven games, including in three straight. He leads Pittsburgh with six goals, two more than Malkin. … Weise's four-game scoring streak that began with a hat trick against the Calgary Flames on Oct. 30 came to an end against the Boston Bruins on Saturday. Weise is tied with Pacioretty for the Montreal lead in goals.