The Canadiens return from a five-game road trip to play the New Jersey Devils at the Bell Centre on Thursday (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet 360, RDS, TSN 690 Radio). Here are five things you should know about the game:
Centre of attention: The Canadiens literally limped back to Montreal with Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais sidelined by leg injuries. The club announced Wednesday evening that both players will miss six to eight weeks. As a result, the Canadiens’ depth at centre will be sorely tested and Tomas Plekanec, who had a goal and an assist Tuesday in St. Louis, will be asked to play a larger role along with Andrew Shaw and Torrey Mitchell.
Beaulieu ready to return: The official decision won’t be made until after the morning skate, but look for defenceman Nathan Beaulieu to be back in the lineup after missing six games with a neck injury. The Canadiens signalled Beaulieu’s return Wednesday when they announced that Mark Barberio was being sent back to the St. John’s IceCaps. He had one assist and a plus-1 rating in six games.
Price plays starring role: The NHL announced this week that Carey Price is the early leader in the Atlantic Division voting for the NHL All-Star Game. He’s ahead of Florida’s Jaromir Jagr and Montreal teammate Shea Weber. Price, who has a 1.82 goals-against average, a .942 save percentage and an NHL-best 14 wins, will start this game after taking a breather Tuesday night.
Familiar faces, Part I: A hand injury limited New Jersey sniper Michael Cammalleri to 42 games last season, but he’s healthy and leads the Devils with nine goals. The former Canadien missed six games last month to be with his 5-year-old daughter Chloe, who underwent surgery after a bout of pneumonia.
Familiar faces, Part 2: Welcome back to P.A. Parenteau and Devante Smith-Pelly who have had mixed results this season. Parenteau has five goals and four assists playing on a top line with Taylor Hall and Adam Henrique, but he also has a minus-9 rating. Smith-Pelly has settled into a third-line role and has two goals and four assists in 23 games. He was a healthy scratch for two games and he checks in at minus-5.