The Montreal Canadiens have announced that both Alex Galchenyuk and Andrew Shaw will be returning to the line-up on time for tonight’s match-up against the New York Rangers. If that’s not a good news for Habs’ fans, players, coaching staff and management, I don’t know what is.
Galchenyuk, who suffered a knee injury back on December 4th in Los Angeles, has missed the last 18 games. At the time, he was leading the Canadiens in scoring with 23 points in 25 games played and while Phillip Danault has done a great job filling in with 12 points in 18 games, the 22 year old Galchenyuk adds to an already potent Canadiens’ offence.
“I feel like it’s my first game of the season!” ~ Alex Galchenyuk, visibly excited to come back in the line-up.
Shaw was playing his best hockey since joining the Canadiens with a production of 12 points in his last 15 games played, suffered a concussion on a questionable hit to the head from Boston Bruins’ defenseman Torrey Krug back on December 12th. He has missed the team’s last 14 games.
In the absence of Brendan Gallagher, who had surgery to repair a broken hand after suffering the effects of a shot from the point from teammate Shea Weber, Shaw will add some quality depth and grit to the line-up.
The team looked flat and out of juice against the Minnesota Wild and this news of two key players coming back to the line-up will serve as a shot in the arm on a Habs’ team that really could use something positive to happen and that, in spite of keeping an excellent record throughout the injuries.
The lines at the morning skate were as follows:
Pacioretty – Galchenyuk – Radulov
Lehkonen – Plekanec – Andrighetto
Byron – Danault – Shaw
Flynn – Mitchell – McCarron
The team announced that Andrei Markov, suffering from what is believed a groin injury, is not skating, having suffered a set back as he was skating not long ago. David Desharnais is skating while Greg Pateryn is still recuperating from a broken foot. Gallagher had surgery on the knuckle of his left ring finger, one of the two damaged in 2015. More pins had to be inserted to augment the original surgery.
One thing is for sure though, the games are bringing a lot more interest for Habs’ fans with a bit healthier team. What this team has accomplished in the absence of such key components is nothing short of amazing and teams around the league have noticed. The Canadiens currently sit in fourth place overall, four points from the Columbus Blue Jackets who occupy first place and three points from the Washington Capitals in second place. Both those teams have been amongst the healthiest in the NHL so far this season.