Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher will be out at least eight weeks after having surgery Thursday to repair a fractured left hand.
Gallagher, 24, was injured when he was hit by a shot by Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber during the third period of a 4-3 overtime win at the Dallas Stars on Wednesday.
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He missed 29 games last season after two fingers on his left hand were fractured when he blocked a shot by New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk on Nov. 22, 2015. Gallagher had surgery the following day.
"We obviously feel really bad for him, two years in a row," captain Max Pacioretty told the Canadiens website Friday. "But he's in good hands and good spirits, so we're hoping to get him back as soon as possible."
Gallagher has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 39 games this season, and 174 points (83 goals, 91 assists) in 299 NHL games, all with the Canadiens.
Video: MTL@DAL: Gallagher exits game with hand injury
"We just take things one day at a time," Paciroetty said. "We have good players stepping in, and guys who are going to get an opportunity now to step in and make a difference, especially with Brendan being an offensive guy. Some guys will get more offensive responsibilities. It's a good opportunity for guys to step up, and we hope that everyone that's injured comes back."
Center Alex Galchenyuk (knee) and defenseman Andrei Markov (lower body) practiced Friday wearing a non-contact jersey. Neither is expected to play against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, TVA Sports, NHL.TV).
"It was nice to be back with the guys, going out there and skating, and not skating by yourself. It was a fun time," said Galchenyuk, who has missed 14 games. "I'm still feeling out some things and now it's just working on the things that I've done before, cutting across and doing the stuff with the puck. The knee feels great so far, and it's one day at a time, but it's definitely getting closer."
Forward Nikita Scherbak will make his NHL debut against the Maple Leafs after being called up from St. John's of the American Hockey League.