Brendan Gallagher has missed the past 17 games after breaking two fingers on his left hand, but the Canadiens winger is going to be back in time for the marquee regular season contest of Montreal’s season.
The Canadiens announced Thursday afternoon that Gallagher will be back in the lineup Friday for the Winter Classic game against the Boston Bruins. The 23-year-old has received full clearance to play in the outdoor contest and said he didn’t want to come back just to play because it was the Winter Classic.
“I can't thank the staff enough for what they did for me to be ready to play this game,” Gallagher told media Thursday.
Getting Gallagher back is huge for the Canadiens at a time when the club is digging for positives during one of their worst stretches of the season. In their past 10 games, the Canadiens are 2-8-0 — the worst record of any team in the league over the past 10 games — and Montreal hasn’t strung together back-to-back victories since the end of November.
Gallagher had nine goals and 19 points in 22 games before going down with the broken fingers, which happened in a game Nov. 22 against the New York Islanders. Gallagher had blocked a Johnny Boychuk blast from the blueline and immediately left the ice clutching his hand.
Even after missing 17 games, Gallagher is still on pace for the best offensive season of his career. He’s on pace for 27 goals and 57 points this season, which would be 10 more points than his previous career high, 47 points, set in 2014-15.
In order to make a spot for Gallagher, the Canadiens demoted Sven Andrighetto to the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps. In 14 games with Montreal, Andrighetto registered four goals and five points while averaging just over 12 minutes of ice time per game.