Canadiens coach Michel Therrien confirmed after the morning skate in Dallas that Daniel Brière and Alexei Emelin will be healthy scratches for Thursday night’s game against the Stars (8:30 p.m., RDS, TSN Radio 690).
It will be the second straight game in which Brière is a healthy scratch, while Douglas Murray will take Emelin’s spot on the blue line. Murray was a healthy scratch for the last three games.
The Canadiens also announced that George Parros, who is recovering from a concussion, left the team Thursday morning to see a specialist at the University of Michigan.
“In Emelin’s case, both myself and Jean-Jacques (Daigneault) sat down with him and had a good discussion,” Therrien told reporters in Dallas. “He’s a guy that’s trying to find himself right now. It’s our responsibility to bring him back to a level that he’s capable of playing at like last season. Often, after a major injury and missing some serious time, returning to full status can be difficult for certain players.
“We’re going to work with him on his conditioning, his execution, his skating, and the way that he reads the play,” the coach added. “There are a lot of areas that need to be dealt with. But, we have a lot of confidence in Emelin. It’s part of our responsibilities as coaches to gradually work on both his game and his confidence level.”
Former Canadien Erik Cole has been on a roll with the Stars, scoring eight goals in 15 games in December, giving him 10 goals and 10 assists in 39 games this season, along with a minus-5.
“I think Erik has played well for a good period of time,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff told the team’s website. “These last few weeks he has really played well for us and has skated well. He’s a big man that’s hard to control and when he’s skating, he’s a powerful body out there for us.”
Thursday’s game marks the end of a six-game road trip for the Canadiens, who will play their first game of 2014 at the Bell Centre Saturday night against the Ottawa Senators (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
Friday will be an off-day for the Canadiens.
Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at Thursday’s morning skate:
Gionta – Plekanec – Bourque
Galchenyuk – Eller – Prust
Moen – White – Bournival
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Gallagher
Diaz – Murray
Gorges – Markov
Subban – Bouillon
(Photo by Dave Sidaway/The Gazette)