The Canadiens practised Friday morning in Brossard before heading to Toronto to face the Maple Leafs Saturday night (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
And there was some bad news as the team announced that forward Brandon Prust will miss the remainder of the regular season with an upper-body injury. The regular season ends for the Canadiens on April 12.
In 52 games this season, Prust has 6-7-13 totals with 121 penalty minutes and was minus-1.
Coach Michel Therrien told reporters after practice that the club’s medical team decided it would be best if Prust didn’t play for the rest of the regular season, giving him a chance to heal and be 100 per cent for the playoffs.
Alex Galchenyuk was moved to centre during the practice with Brian Gionta and Rene Bourque, who has missed five games as a healthy scratch. Lars Eller was dropped to the fourth line with Travis Moen and Dale Weise.
Therrien said he wanted to see a lot of intensity from Bourque when he gets back in the lineup.
“Will it be tomorrow? Will it be the next game? I don’t know yet,” Therrien said.
Galchenyuk is looking forward to getting a shot at centre.
“I want to establish myself as a great centreman in this league,” the 20-year-old said. “I’m still really young, but I’ve still got a long way to go. I want to make a step in the right direction. And I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”
Therrien cautioned against banking on all the adjustments he made to the lines at Friday’s practice.
As for Saturday’s game in Toronto, Therrien said: “It’s a big game every time we play the Leafs. Those are emotional games. And we’re getting to that crunch. Both teams are fighting to make the playoffs. There are a lot of teams in our situation and so tomorrow won’t be any different. I’m expecting a tight- checking game, a demanding game to play. They’re fun games to be part of.”
Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at Friday’s practice:
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)
(Videos by The Gazette’s Brenda Branswell)