ANAHEIM -- A huge scrum surrounded Montreal Canadiens goalie Dustin Tokarski at his locker before a media relations official announced that he wouldn't be speaking.
It was quite a surprise that Montreal will give Tokarski his first start as a Canadien, and eighth of his career, Wednesday against the Anaheim Ducks. But Peter Budaj started the previous four games and Montreal plays the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday.
"We ask a lot of Peter Budaj," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "We play and we're traveling – a lot of hockey in a short period of time. We've got back-to-back. We figure that was the right time to put the kid there. What I'm expecting [is] that [our] players [are] going to play a hard-nosed team because we play the Ducks tonight. This is the best team in the League, and [we need] to make sure they give a good effort for the young kid in net tonight."
Another lineup change will see wing George Parros return to Anaheim for the first time since he departed. Anaheim will recognize him during the first television timeout, a move typically reserved for members of its 2007 Stanley Cup team. Parros is among the last of that team to come back and he was also a huge fan favorite.
Parros said he had a "quite a bit" of anticipation" for the game.
"A lot of familiar faces, a lot of good memories, from the security guys on down, so it's always cool to come back to a familiar place," Parros said about returning. "That being said, I'm looking forward to tonight and hopefully getting a win. They're on fire this year, and hopefully we can take two points from them."
The Montreal media expectedly descended on Saku Koivu, who said facing his former team isn't as big of a spectacle when it's in Anaheim. The visiting Ducks lost to the Canadiens 4-1 on Oct. 24.
"Less hectic, less emotional," Koivu said. "We had a tough experience the last time in Montreal, so hopefully this will be different."
Here are the expected lineups …
Max Pacioretty – David Desharnais – Brendan Gallagher
Brian Gionta - Tomas Plekanec – Alex Galchenyuk
Dale Weise - Daniel Briere – Rene Bourque
Travis Moen – Ryan White – George Parros
Josh Gorges – P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin – Andrei Markov
Douglas Murray – Jarred Tinordi
Scratched: Mike Weaver, Francis Boullion, Lars Eller
Injured: Carey Price (lower body), Michael Bournival (concussion), Brandon Prust (upper body)
NOTES: The newly acquired Weaver skated with Bouillon in the fourth pairing and won't make his Canadiens debut.
Price skated briefly Tuesday, but told reporters there is no timetable for his return. He indicated it was not a season-ending injury.
Kyle Palmieri - Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Daniel Winnik – Saku Koivu – Andrew Cogliano
Patrick Maroon – Jakob Silfverberg – Teemu Selanne
Matt Beleksey – Nick Bonino – Tim Jackman
Hampus Lindholm – Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler – Ben Lovejoy
Bryan Allen – Mark Fistric
Scratched: Luca Sbisa
Injured: Mathieu Perreault (upper body), Sheldon Souray (wrist)
NOTES: Perreault skated, but Anaheim can afford to rest him more and give Silfverberg a turn at center. Hiller was first off the ice.