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Injured Canadiens forward Gallagher resumes skating

by Arpon Basu

BROSSARD, Quebec – Injured Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher skated Monday for the first time since he fractured two fingers on his left hand Nov. 22.

Gallagher skated alone with Canadiens strength and conditioning coach Pierre Allard for close to an hour with a stick in his hand, working without pucks for the most part.

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien did not have an update on Gallagher, who was expected to be out until the first week of January recovering from surgery to repair his fractured fingers.

Gallagher was injured blocking a shot by New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk with his hand. Despite missing the past nine games, Gallagher remains fifth on the Canadiens' with nine goals and 19 points in 22 games.

The original six-week recovery timeline for Gallagher would mean he would miss the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Boston Bruins at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 1. Gallagher, however, refused to rule out playing on New Year's Day when he spoke to the media for the first time since his surgery Dec. 7.

At practice Monday, several Canadiens players were wearing all blue gloves, which are different from their normal red, white and blue gloves, to break them in for the Winter Classic. Gallagher was wearing the same blue gloves.

Though Gallagher's return is not imminent, the Canadiens received some good news with the likely return of center Torrey Mitchell from injury when they play the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday at Bell Centre (7:30 p.m. ET; SNE, CSN-CA, RDS). Mitchell missed 11 games with a lower body injury.

Therrien announced that goalie Dustin Tokarski would get his third straight start against the Sharks.

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