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Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov not ready to return from knee injury

BROSSARD, Que. - Defenceman Andrei Markov will not make an early return from a knee injury for the Montreal Canadiens.

Coach Jacques Martin said Tuesday that Markov, who had surgery in May to repair a knee ligament that was torn during the playoffs, will sit out a home game Thursday against New Jersey and a game Saturday night in Ottawa.

Markov has been practising with his teammates for two weeks and hoped to play this week.

Team doctors estimated Markov would be out until late October or early November after he was hurt in the opening game of the NHL Eastern Conference semifinals against Pittsburgh.

Without Markov, the Canadiens power play has sputtered, with one goal in 17 chances through five games. Martin also said struggling defenceman Jaroslav Spacek will no longer play the right point with the man advantage, but did not say who would replace him.

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