The Montreal Canadiens are coming off one of their biggest victories of the season, a 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins that has allowed them to sit at the top of the Northeast division but those two points did come at a cost.
It was announced today that defenseman Alexei Emelin will be out for the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his left knee.
Nathan Beaulieu was called up from Hamilton on Sunday, this is his second time being called up this year. He had his first taste of the NHL just under two weeks ago when he played just two games with the Habs and picked up an assist. Beaulieu was not called up to emulate the physical playing style Emelin has left behind, head coach Michel Therrien stressed that today. In fact he doesn't want any of his defensemen to change their style of play, he just wants to elevate it.
The reason why Beaulieu got the call over Greg Patteryn or Jarred Tinordi, who also showed earlier this season that they can play at the NHL level, is because they want to take a second look at Beaulieu on the power play. With Raphael Diaz missing the last 19 games with a concussion the Habs have been forced to rely heavily on Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban.
There was some good news today at practice as forward Rene Bourque is expected to play tomorrow night against the Washington Capitals. This will be Bourque's first game since February 21 after he was sidelined with a concussion.
Therrien had him practicing on the 4th line with Travis Moen and Jeff Halpern, partly to ease him back slowly and partly because the top three lines are performing well and he doesn't want to break them up. Therrien might not have a choice when it comes to tomorrow's game, Max Pacioretty left practice half way through, he is day-to-day with a lower body injury his status is unknown for tomorrow night.