The injury bug has taken a big chunk out of the Montreal Canadiens. On Wednesday, the team announced both Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais will be out six to eight weeks with knee injuries.
Galchenyuk left Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings after a run in with Anze Kopitar that saw Galchenyuk’s knee get tweaked awkwardly.
— Joey Alfieri (@joeyalfieri) December 4, 2016
The center currently leads the Habs in both points (23) and goals (9).
As for Desharnais, in Tuesday’s game versus the St. Louis Blues the smaller Desharnais went in for a hit on Jay Bouwmeester and ended up with the worst of it.
Desharnais’ nine points isn’t as big of an offensive loss as Galchenyuk, but it does put the team in a precarious position at center.
The Canadiens will surely miss both players, but the biggest blow has to be the loss of Galchenyuk, who is their most productive skater.
Galchenyuk currently leads the team in scoring with 9 goals and 14 assists. With Desharnais being his defacto replacement on the first line, the Canadiens will now need to look for unconventional options to jump start their offence.
Tomas Plekanec, coming off of a two-point game will likely be asked to take on a bigger role, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see either Andrew Shaw or Phillip Danault (or even Torrey Mitchell) get an increase in responsibility.
The Habs called up Sven Andrighetto which likely means an existing winger will play centre. They also sent down Charles Hudon who continues to recover from a cracked sternum.
Desharnais has played better since being a healthy scratch, and the team will need efforts from players like Danault, Paul Byron and Daniel Carr more than ever with the two centres going down to injury.
No doubt the next six to eight weeks are going to be difficult for Montreal, but there are a couple silver linings here.
The team sits in first place in the Atlantic Division with a five point lead over the Ottawa Senators. The Habs play six of their next eight games at Bell Centre where they’re currently 12-1-1. Plus there is the Christmas break that allows for the two to heal without the Canadiens playing any games.
Yet the biggest silver lining is this – it could be worse. It could be Carey Price.