BROSSARD – A trio of Canadiens veterans will make their long-awaited preseason debuts on Saturday night.
Tomas Plekanec, Rene Bourque and Andrei Markov will take to the ice against the Hurricanes looking to continue the team’s dominance against the visiting squad. The Habs won a lopsided game 6-0 in Quebec City less than 24 hours ago, and will try to build on that result with another solid team effort.
“It’s been a long time since I last played a game,” remarked Bourque. “I’m just looking forward to getting back on the ice and getting a few games in. You definitely need those preseason games to get into a good rhythm [for the start of the regular season].”
The rugged left winger will likely find himself on a familiar line during the game, as both Tomas Plekanec and Christian Thomas, his usual linemates at training camp, are set to take part in the matchup against Carolina.
For Plekanec, it will also mark his first taste of NHL action since the 2012-13 postseason. While the long-awaited comeback could prove to be nerve-wracking for less experienced players, the Czech centerman doesn’t seem to be overly anxious. When asked about how many preseason games he ideally would want to play, the usually serious Plekanec broke with routine.
“Ten games,” he joked, knowing full well that the Canadiens were almost at the half-way point of a seven-game preseason schedule.
When asked about his objectives for Saturday night, however, Plekanec cut straight to the chase.
“Well, you want to get back to the system we played as a team," confirmed Plekanec. "The timing will come back sooner or later, but the compete level has to be there right away."
Other than several new additions to the lineup, many of the players who took part in Friday night’s victory will also be in the lineup on Saturday. Dustin Tokarski, Jarred Tinordi, Michael McCarron, Magnus Nygren, Sebastian Collberg, Michael Blunden, Michael Bournival, Christian Thomas, Greg Pateryn and Darren Dietz will play their second match in as many days. All of them were given the morning off to rest.
On the injury front, Francis Bouillon and Nathan Beaulieu practiced alone before and after the pre-game skate. Out of the two, Bouillon seemed to be closer to a return, as he also took part in some line drills with his teammates after working on his skating.
Defensemen Douglas Murray and Davis Drewiske didn't skate on Saturday. There were no new updates on their situations. Murray is day-to-day while Drewiske will likely be sidelined for the next four weeks.
Jack Han is a writer for canadiens.com.
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