Max Pacioretty

Montreal’s Parros, Pacioretty nearing return

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Montreal will be on the road this weekend, but they’ll get some reinforcements along the way, according to TSN.

George Parros has been out with a concussion since the season opener, but the enforcer will rejoin the Canadiens lineup for Friday’s match against the Minnesota Wild. Parros was rushed to the hospital on Oct. 1 after he fell face first into the ice because of a freak accident during his second fight of the night with Toronto’s Colton Orr.

The Canadiens are also expected to get forward Max Pacioretty back on Friday or Saturday versus the Colorado Avalanche. Pacioretty hasn’t played since Oct. 15 due to a hamstring injury. Between 2011-12 and the shortened season, Pacioretty was by far the Canadiens’ most productive player with 48 goals and 56 assists in 123 games. He had three points in five contests in 2013-14 before he was sidelined.

In a related story, Montreal has tapped Carey Price to be the team’s starting goaltender on Friday. He has gotten off to a great start with a 2.02 GAA and .939 save percentage in 11 games.

Goalie nods: Neuvirth goes for Caps, Budaj for Montreal

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Some news and notes from around the crease…

Neuvirth to face Canucks

Braden Holtby will rest for the first time in six games on Monday as Michal Neuvirth gets the net against the Canucks in Vancouver.

Holtby sits with a 4-5-0 record with a 3.07 GAA and .913 save percentage, paving the way for Neuvirth — he of the 1-1-0 record with a 3.08 GAA and .893 save percentage — to make his fourth appearance of the season but second in as many games, as he came on in relief of Holtby in Saturday’s 5-2 loss in Calgary.

Neuvirth has one career appearance against Vancouver, a 7-4 loss in Oct. 2011 in which he allowed four goals on 26 shots in 40 minutes of relief action.

Budaj in for Habs

The Canadiens face a tall task in taking on the Rangers in their first game of the season at MSG on Monday, and they’ll do it with backup Peter Budaj in goal.

Budaj, 31, will play for just the second time this season and the first since a 4-1 win over Edmonton on Oct. 10, a game in which he stopped 27 of 28 shots.

Carey Price has been one of the league’s busiest netminders this season, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Habs do in front of a different face (and how Budaj fares after so much time off).

Elsewhere…

— As reported earlier, Henrik Lundqvist will return from a two-game absence to face the Habs tonight.

— Injured Carolina goalie Cam Ward will indeed miss 2-4 weeks with a lower-body ailment.

— Josh Harding’s minor injury won’t keep him from backing up Niklas Backstrom vs. Chicago.

 

After healthy scratch, Tinordi sent down by Montreal

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Jarred Tinordi’s bright start to his NHL career just got a little darker.

Tinordi, Montreal’s 21-year-old rookie defenseman, was sent down to AHL Hamilton on Wednesday, the day after being made a healthy scratch for the Habs’ 4-3 loss to Edmonton.

A 6-foot-6, 227-pounder with a nasty streak, Tinordi made an impression in training camp and early this season by dishing out big hits. He played a career-high 16:42 in a 3-2 loss to Calgary on Oct. 9 and dressed for both games prior to the Edmonton loss — a 2-1 loss to Nashville and a 5-3 win over Columbus.

But on Tuesday, Habs head coach Michel Therrien sent Tinordi a message.

“We want him to bring the intensity he did at training camp,” Therrien explained. “He’s not doing that right now.”

Tinordi’s demotion means Nathan Beaulieu will stick with the Habs — for now — and likely be in the lineup when they host Anaheim on Thursday. Beaulieu played 11:26 against the Oilers, blocking three shots.

 

Montreal’s Briere, Prust injured in loss to Predators

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The Montreal Canadiens suffered another pair of key losses as forwards Daniel Briere and Brandon Prust were knocked out of Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Nashville.

Briere, 36, was skating in Nashville’s end when Predators forward Eric Nystrom caught him with a blindside hit early in the second period:

Nystrom wasn’t penalized on the play, and the Canadiens later announced that Briere would not return.

But that wasn’t it for injured Canadiens.

In the third period, Prust got tangled with Preds defenseman Victor Bartley and crashed hard into the end boards. Like Briere, Prust also left the contest and failed to return.

If the two are lost for any length of time, it’ll hurt a Montreal team already decimated by injury. George Parros (concussion), Alexei Emelin (knee) and Douglas Murray (lower-body) only just returned to post-practice skating, while forward Max Pacioretty is out three weeks with a hamstring ailment.

Gionta returns to Montreal Friday (personal reasons)

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The Montreal Canadiens gave captain Brian Gionta their blessing to return to Montreal on Friday to address the “personal reasons” that have been a distraction for him early this season.

The Canadiens will face the Canucks in Vancouver on Saturday, so it’s possible that he could still play. Still, the Montreal Gazette’s Dave Stubbs believes Gionta’s next game will be a road contest against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

Gionta has been able to play in all four of Montreal’s games so far, scoring a goal and an assist.

The 34-year-old’s $5 million cap hit and salary expires after this season.