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Alex Galchenyuk near return for Canadiens

Injured center, defenseman Andrei Markov will practice Friday @NHLdotcom

Center Alex Galchenyuk and defenseman Andrei Markov will practice with the Montreal Canadiens on Friday for the first time since they were injured.

The Canadiens play the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Galchenyuk has been out since he injured his right knee Dec. 4 against the Los Angeles Kings. At the time, he was 11th in NHL scoring and led the Canadiens with 23 points in 25 games.

Galchenyuk was expected to miss 6-8 weeks, which would have made the best-case scenario a return on Jan. 16.

Markov has been out since Dec. 17 when he sustained a lower-body injury against the Washington Capitals. He has 21 points in 31 games.

The potential return of Galchenyuk and Markov comes after the Canadiens had two players injured in a 3-2 overtime win at the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.

Forward Brendan Gallagher traveled to Montreal on Thursday to visit with doctors after he was hit in the left hand by a slap shot from Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber in the third period. It was the same hand Gallagher injured last season when he fractured two fingers blocking a slap shot by New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk.

Forward Paul Byron sustained an upper-body injury against the Stars. Right wing Andrew Shaw (concussion), center David Desharnais (knee) and defenseman Greg Pateryn (ankle) also are injured.

Montreal called up forwards Nikita Scherbak and Sven Andrighetto from St. John's of the American Hockey League. Scherbak was Montreal's first-round pick (No. 26) in the 2014 NHL Draft and would be making his NHL debut if he plays against the Maple Leafs.

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