The Montreal Canadiens will get two major pieces back this week in the form of Daniel Briere and Alexei Emelin.
Briere, 36, will return to the lineup on Tuesday to take on the Lightning after missing the last 10 games with a concussion while Emelin, the team’s leading hitter from a year ago, will make his season debut this weekend after missing the entire campaign recovering from offseason knee surgery.
“Over the past five days, I’ve been pushing harder and harder each day,” Briere told the team website. “I feel ready to come back, though I’ll still have to meet with the doctors, the team’s medical staff and the coaches.
“There’s no doubt I’m feeling better and ready to play.”
Briere will add some offensive punch to the Habs lineup and will play on a line with red-hot rookie Michael Bournival and veteran winger Rene Bourque.
As for Emelin, his return will finally give Montreal its projected top-six defense. The Russian rearguard, who recently signed a four-year, $16.4 million extension with the club, has developed a reputation as a hard-hitting guy that can log big minutes and take on the opposition’s top forwards.
Montreal plays twice this weekend — Friday in Columbus, Saturday at home against the Rangers — and it’s unclear at the moment which game Emelin will dress for (if not both.)