MONTREAL -- While the Montreal Canadiens are dealing with a sudden rash of injuries, the Colorado Avalanche could be getting a key member of their lineup back when the two clubs square off on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog missed his team's past 10 games with a lower-body injury. On Friday, he was a full participant in Colorado's practice at the Canadiens' suburban practice facility and felt ready to return to game action.
"Everything is feeling good," he told the Avalanche website. "I've had some good practices and morning skates and some tests on where things have been going well, and I'm feeling good."
First-year head coach Jared Bednar said he "should be able to play."
It's been a disappointing early season for the Avalanche (10-14-1), whose 21 points not only rank last in the Central Division but also ties the Arizona Coyotes for fewest in the NHL overall.
Colorado is hoping to build some momentum off their most recent outing, a 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, which snapped a six-game slide. The road has been a bit kinder than the altitude of the Rockies this season. The Avalanche is 6-6-0 at the opposition compared to a 4-8-1 record on home ice.
A big part of that has been Matt Duchene's apparent comfort in other teams' buildings. Duchene scored his team-leading 10th goal in Thursday's win. Every one of his tallies has come on the road.
"I can't score at home, but we're on the road," he told the Denver Post with a smirk. "I don't know what it is."
The Canadiens (18-6-3) are coming off a big win of their own, disposing of the New Jersey Devils 5-2 despite losing three players to injury in less than a week.
Without offensive centers Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais, and defenseman Greg Pateryn, the rest of the lineup picked up the slack to carry the team to victory. Torrey Mitchell scored twice, becoming only the second Canadiens player this season to notch a pair in a home game. He was one of four players to record a multi-point game, along with Phillip Danault, Andrew Shaw, and Brendan Gallagher.
"We want to show that we're about more than two players," Mitchell said after the game. "(Galchenyuk and Desharnais) are two important players for us that are injured but we have players that are capable of stepping up. We saw that (on Thursday night)."
While Montreal's offense came together, its special teams could use some improvement. After allowing a power-play goal against the Devils, the Canadiens' shorthanded unit has now yielded at least one power-play goal in six of their past nine games, and ranks in the bottom half of the NHL in penalty-killing percentage.
While the power play is enjoying greater success than in year's past and continues to rank among the top teams in the league, it hit a dry spell of late. The Canadiens connected just three times in 22 opportunities over their past seven games, and were held off entirely in five of those seven outings.