- The Canadiens held an optional skate in Brossard on Tuesday morning ahead of their tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre. Brian Gionta, Max Pacioretty, Rene Bourque, Tomas Plekanec, Ryan White, Francis Bouillon and Raphael Diaz were absent from practice.
The Habs will be in tough against the Lightning, who currently sit atop the atlantic division. Before dropping a 3-0 decision to the Bruins on Monday afternoon in Boston, Tampa Bay had won four straight games. The Lightning, however, will be deprived of Steven Stamkos' services for the foreseeable future after the Markham, ON native suffered a broken right tibia in the team's last outing. Stamkos will be sidelined indefinitely.
"There's no doubt that for their team it's a big loss. When you talk about Stamkos, you're talking about an elite player who is dominant in the NHL," admitted head coach Michel Therrien. "The Lightning are still a good team that's playing really good hockey. You never want to see elite players sidelined for extended periods of time. They attract people to the game."
- Daniel Briere will make his return to the lineup against the Lightning after being sidelined since October 19th with a concussion. The 36-year-old, who missed the last 10 games, had been skating alongside his teammates since last Thursday.
"It feels great to finally be back. When you’re not playing, especially when the team is having a tough stretch like we had with those four losses in a row, you feel responsible. It’s not fun being on the outside," mentioned Briere, who will likely center a line that also features Bourque and Michael Bournival on Tuesday night. "Best case scenario, there won’t be any adjustments and I'll fit right back in. That’s what I’m hoping for and that’s what I’m visualizing. Getting back playing in the middle also helps. I’ve played center for the most part in my career."
- For the first time since suffering a shoulder injury on October 19th against the Predators, Brandon Prust took part in practice with the rest of the squad. He sported a blue “no contact” jersey during the on-ice session. Therrien confirmed that Prust's recovery is progressing nicely and that the London, ON native will participate in regular practices going forward.
- Travis Moen was back at practice after missing Monday’s skate with the flu. The Habs bench boss confirmed that Moen will be in the lineup against the Lightning as will Gabriel Dumont. David Desharnais, however, will be a healthy scratch.
- Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
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