MONTREAL -- Ales Hemsky
will return to the Edmonton Oilers
lineup tonight after an 11-game absence due to a shoulder injury, but it appears the Montreal Canadiens
will be without the red hot Andrei Kostitsyn
Hemsky is expected to line up next to Shawn Horcoff
and Ryan Smyth
, bumping Ryan Jones
off that line and sending Magnus Paajarvi
to the press box.
"He sure adds a lot to the team," Smyth said. "He's a special player, he's good offensively and he's a power-play guy so that will help. Any time you get a veteran back in the lineup it adds another element."
One of those elements may be some added freedom for the Oilers' much-heralded kid line of Taylor Hall
, Jordan Eberle
and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
, who have been regularly facing difficult opposition on the road.
"With Hemsky coming back in the lineup it gives us that extra look," Eberle said. "Teams are going to have to pick which line they want to focus on. It comes back to depth. It's something that every championship team has, and I feel we have it."
Oilers defenseman Cam Barker
will also return after missing three games with a shoulder injury, but coach Tom Renney wouldn't say who will sit out but Colten Teubert
remained on the ice for extra work after the morning skate, suggesting he’ll be the one sitting.
Kostitsyn's probable absence for the Canadiens couldn't come at a worse time as he had racked up 4 goals and 2 assists over his past seven games.
Coach Jacques Martin said he will probably dress seven defensemen if Kostitsyn can't play, with Yannick Weber
lining up as a forward and rookie Alexei Emelin
drawing in on the blue line after sitting out six straight game as a healthy scratch.
Probable lines for tonight:
– Tomas Plekanec
– Erik Cole
– David Desharnais
– Brian Gionta
– Lars Eller
– Travis Moen
– Petteri Nokelainen
– Yannick Weber
– P.K. Subban
– Raphael Diaz
– Jaroslav Spacek
– Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
– Jordan Eberle
– Shawn Horcoff
– Ales Hemsky
– Eric Belanger
– Sam Gagner
– Anton Lander
– Lennart Petrell
– Tom Gilbert
– Theo Peckham
– Jeff Petry