Rene Bourque practised with his teammates in Brossard on Tuesday and was cleared to play, but he won’t be in the lineup when the Canadiens take on the Sabres Tuesday night in Buffalo . Bourque missed the last three games while recovering from a lower-body injury, with the Canadiens winning all three contests, beating Minnesota 6-2, Washington 3-2 and Pittsburgh 3-2. “(Rene) will not play on Wednesday,” coach Michel Therrien told reporters after practice and before the team caught a flight to Buffalo. “We’re in a position to give him more practice time before putting him back into a game, so we’re taking that option.” The Buffalo game is the beginning of a busy stretch for the Canadiens, who will play four games in six nights. The Habs will be in Washington Friday night, play host to the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night at the Bell Centre, and then take on the visiting New Jersey Devils on Monday. “This is a tough part of the schedule,” Therrien said. “This is why (Monday) we didn’t go on the ice (instead having off-ice workouts). We’re trying to save our energy to be fresh not only physically, but mentally as well. I liked the jump we had today at practice, but this is definitely a tough stretch. We’ll look to manage the ice time of our players, but we all understand that it will be a difficult few days.” Carey Price is expected to start in goal in Buffalo and Therrien said that backup Peter Budaj will play in one of the other two games this week. This will be the first meeting of the season between the Canadiens and Sabres after Buffalo won three of the five meetings last season. The Sabres are the lowest-scoring team in the NHL, averaging 1.6 goals per game, while the Canadiens allow the second fewest (2.1). The Canadiens have scored 12 goals during their three-game winning streak, including five by Max Pacioretty, who was named the NHL’s second star of the week on Monday. The winning streak coincides with Therrien shaking up his lines and reuniting Pacioretty with David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher. “A player like Gallagher brings a lot to a line with his style of play and his enthusiasm,” Therrien said. “I like his play with Desharnais and Pacioretty a lot right now, and we’re seeing good results. On the other hand, Galchenyuk, Eller and (Brandon) Prust played a good first game together. In the last two games, they’ve had some trouble generating scoring chances, and that’s something we’re looking to address. I expect them to keep contributing, and I think the results will come.” The lines to start the game in Buffalo will be unchanged, with Daniel Brière playing left wing on the shutdown line with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta. But if things get tight down the stretch, look for Therrien to move Travis Moen from the fourth line — where he plays with Ryan White and Michael Bournival — into Brière’s spot.
Canadiens’ Rene Bourque will remain on sidelines against Sabres
Montreal Gazette | Nov 27