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Preview: Canadiens at Flyers

Alex Galchenyuk returns for Montreal; Philadelphia shakes up lineup

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

CANADIENS (30-14-7) at FLYERS (25-20-6)



Canadiens team scope

Montreal Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk and defenseman Jeff Petry are expected to play Thursday. Galchenyuk missed the previous three games because of a right knee injury. Petry didn't play in a 5-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday because of the flu. That game against the Sabres saw the return of defensemen Andrei Markov, who had missed 19 games because of a groin injury, and center David Desharnais, out 24 games with a knee injury. That leaves forward Brendan Gallagher, out until March because of a hand injury, as the only key player missing from the lineup. Despite those injuries the Canadiens lead the Atlantic Division by nine points. "The last two months were pretty rough health-wise, and we were still capable of maintaining our quality of play compared to, I would say, last year," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said Wednesday. "So that's good news for us. Obviously it's a big boost to get some of our players back." Galchenyuk will center a line with Desharnais at left wing and Andrew Shaw at right wing. "[Desharnais] is a playmaker," Galchenyuk said Wednesday. "I can make plays but I'm more of a shooter. And [Shaw], you always need guys like that on your line. Works hard, competes, does the little things right."


Flyers team scope

The Philadelphia Flyers will scratch defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and forward Travis Konecny against Montreal in the opener of a five-game homestand. "I think it's a little bit different in both cases," coach Dave Hakstol said. "But I think there's things that both the young guys can improve upon in their game." It's the second time Konecny will be scratched, and the third for Gostisbehere, who was second in voting for the Calder Trophy last season but has gone 27 games without a goal. Gostisbehere is a Flyers-worst minus-19 and was minus-2 in a 5-1 road loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. "I don't know what to think of it right now," Gostisbehere said. "I'm definitely not happy. … I guess you have to change some things up when you lose that bad, so I guess it's my turn. I could have done a lot of better things defensively, for sure." Forward Brayden Schenn, who had his share of bumps in the road on his way to becoming a regular, said he thinks Gostisbehere will be better for going through this. "I don't think he's playing as bad as people are making it out to be," Schenn said. "He's a good player for us. He brings a lot of offense to our system and that's what we need. … Hopefully he sits out one game and he'll come back a stronger player."


Canadiens projected lineup

Max Pacioretty -- Phillip Danault -- Alexander Radulov

David Desharnais -- Alex Galchenyuk -- Andrew Shaw

Artturi Lehkonen -- Tomas Plekanec -- Paul Byron

Jacob De La Rose -- Torrey Mitchell -- Brian Flynn

Alexei Emelin -- Shea Weber

Nathan Beaulieu -- Jeff Petry

Andrei Markov -- Nikita Nesterov

Carey Price

Al Montoya

Scratched: Greg Pateryn, Sven Andrighetto

Injured: Brendan Gallagher (hand)


Flyers projected lineup

Michael Raffl -- Claude Giroux -- Jakub Voracek

Dale Weise -- Brayden Schenn -- Wayne Simmonds

Nick Cousins -- Sean Couturier -- Matt Read

Chris VandeVelde -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Roman Lyubimov

Ivan Provorov -- Andrew MacDonald

Mark Streit -- Nick Schultz

Brandon Manning -- Radko Gudas

Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth

Scratched: Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Konecny

Injured: Michael Del Zotto (lower body)


Status report

Defenseman Mark Barberio, placed on waivers by the Canadiens, was claimed by the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday. Price will start his fifth straight game. The Canadiens did not have a morning skate. … Weise, a healthy scratch for the past five games, replaces Konecny in the lineup. Schultz, who has sat out nine of the past 10 games, replaces Gostisbehere. Schenn missed practice Wednesday because of the flu, but took part in an optional morning skate Thursday and will play.


Who's hot

Pacioretty had a hat trick in the win against Buffalo and is tied for fourth in the NHL with 24 goals. Radulov had two assists against the Sabres and has seven points in his past five games. … Schenn had a power-play goal against Carolina and leads the NHL with 12.

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