Jacob de la Rose

Habs rookie de la Rose (wrist surgery) out three months

Jacob de la Rose’s first NHL campaign ended on a sour note.

De la Rose, who celebrated his 20th birthday today, underwent wrist surgery that will sideline him for the next three months, the Canadiens announced. The club didn’t reveal when he sustained the injury.

As mentioned, the procedure is a tough way for de la Rose to finish what was an otherwise good rookie campaign. The 34th overall pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, he appeared in 33 games for the Habs during the regular season, scoring six points while averaging 13:48 TOI. In the playoffs, de la Rose struggled — no points in 12 games — but still received over 12 minutes per night while playing a bottom-six forward role.

It’s expected that de la Rose will be ready in time for September’s training camp, where he’ll be in the drivers’ seat to retain his spot at the NHL level.

Habs rule out leading scorer Pacioretty for Game 1

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Montreal will be without 37-goal man Max Pacioretty when they open their playoff series against Ottawa tonight at the Bell Centre.

Pacioretty, dealing with an upper-body injury suffered in Montreal’s third-last game of the season against Florida, was officially ruled out this morning, but could return for Game 2 on Friday night — that said, Habs head coach Michel Therrien wouldn’t commit to any potential comeback date.

“As I said, we’ll use him when he’s 100 per cent,” Therrien said, per the CP. “It’s not tonight obviously.

“It could be Friday, it could be Sunday. Once we get the okay from our medical team, we’ll be very glad to get him back in the lineup.”

With Pacioretty out, here’s what Montreal’s line rushes looked like this morning:

Alex Galchenyuk-Tomas Plekanec-Brendan Gallagher

Devante Smith-Pelly-David Desharnais-P.A. Parenteau

Jacob de la Rose-Lars Eller-Dale Weise

Brandon Prust-Torrey Mitchell-Brian Flynn

Bolts admit ‘there’s a lot at stake’ tonight in Montreal

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A quick rundown of all that’s on the table tonight when the Habs host the Lightning at the Bell Centre:

— With a regulation win, Tampa Bay can draw even with Montreal on 90 points atop the Atlantic Division.

— With any sort of win, Montreal moves into first place in the NHL.

— Montreal swept Tampa Bay 4-0 in the opening round of last year’s playoffs. This season, the Lightning have returned the favor, sweeping both matchups (by a combined score of 11-3.)

Needless to say, this evening’s affair promises to be engaging.

Just ask the Bolts.

“There’s a lot at stake,” Brian Boyle said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “Everyone’s jockeying for position.”

“This is a big test,” added Steve Stamkos. “We realize how tight it is in our division, and obviously playing head-to-head is a big swing.”

Montreal players seem to recognize the significance of what the Bolts represent as well. While the Habs have run roughshod against the Eastern Concerence this year — they’re 14-2-1 against the six other teams currently in playoff position — their inability to handle Tampa Bay has stuck out.

“We haven’t had very much success against them in the two games,” Brendan Gallagher explained, per NHL.com. “They really dominated us in all facets of the game, so we want to come out and show that wasn’t us either.

“We want to change the storyline a little bit.”

Finally, tonight’s game represents a chance for both teams to roll out their latest acquisitions. Given that this is the first of three more meetings this season — Montreal and Tampa Bay play again on Mar. 16, then again on the 30th — the new faces will have plenty of opportunities to experience this simmering rivalry: Montreal will trot out Jeff Petry, Devante Smith-Pelly, Jacob De La Rose, Torrey Mitchell and Bryan Flynn for the first time against Tampa Bay, while the Bolts will send out d-man Braydon Coburn and, possibly, forward Vladislav Namestnikov, who could draw in for the injured J.T. Brown.