MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens will be without left wing Max Pacioretty and perhaps left wing Rene Bourque when they face the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bell Centre on Thursday.
Pacioretty left the Canadiens' 3-0 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday in the first period with a lower-body injury. He had to be helped off the ice and was unable to put weight on his left leg.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said the team still was awaiting the results of an MRI exam taken Wednesday night amid rampant speculation in Montreal about the severity of Pacioretty’s injury. When he said the team did not have the results as of early Thursday afternoon, a few reporters chuckled.
"What are you laughing at? We don't know yet," Therrien said. "I'm as eager to know as you are. Maybe even a little more eager than you are."
Therrien said the results of the MRI exam should be known later Thursday.
As for Bourque, he missed the morning skate Thursday with what the team called a flu bug, and his status is questionable for the game against Columbus.
Without Bourque and Pacioretty, the Canadiens practiced with 11 forwards, but Therrien said there would be no one recalled from the minors in time for the game. If Bourque is unable to play, rookie defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will play left wing on the fourth line.
Columbus coach Todd Richards said he will go with the same lineup used in the team's 2-1 loss at the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, meaning forward Nick Foligno will miss his second game due to a personal matter.
Richards said the Canadiens' speed and transition game are two areas his team will need to focus on Thursday, and their injury situation won't change that much.
"Their team game isn't going to change," Richards said. "It starts from their back end. They've got a couple of guys on the back end that can move it, they've got other guys that can skate and get up the ice. I don't look at the injuries to key guys as far as really disrupting how they play and how they want to attack."
Here are what the lineups should look like for the Blue Jackets and Canadiens, assuming Bourque is unable to play for Montreal:
Cam Atkinson - Brandon Dubinsky - Marian Gaborik
Boone Jenner - Artem Anisimov - Mark Letestu
Blake Comeau - Ryan Johansen - RJ Umberger
Ryan Craig - Derek MacKenzie - Jared Boll
Jack Johnson - Fedor Tyutin
Ryan Murray - James Wisniewski
Nikita Nikitin - David Savard
Scratched: Dalton Prout, Sean Collins
Injured: Nathan Horton (shoulder), Matt Calvert (abdominal), Nick Foligno (personal), Cody Bass (hand)
Alex Galchenyuk - Lars Eller - Brendan Gallagher
Travis Moen - Tomas Plekanec - Brian Gionta
Brandon Prust - David Desharnais - Daniel Briere
Nathan Beaulieu - Michael Bournival - Ryan White
Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban
Josh Gorges - Raphael Diaz
Jarred Tinordi - Francis Bouillon
Injured: Max Pacioretty (lower body), Rene Bourque (flu), George Parros (concussion), Alexei Emelin (knee), Douglas Murray (upper body), Davis Drewiske (shoulder)