BROSSARD, Que. — Max Pacioretty is having trouble keeping track of all the new names coming in and out of the Montreal Canadiens dressing room.
Entering Tuesday night’s home game against the Dallas Stars, Montreal might employ only three forwards and three defenceman playing from their opening night lineup.
“Checking nameplates is exactly what I have to do when I look around the room,” said Pacioretty on Monday. “It’s easy when there’s a couple of guys here and there, but when it hits you with a wave of 10 new guys, it’s tough to really get some good conversations in with everybody and find the time to do so.
“I’m trying to talk to as many guys as I can, but it seems like every time I finish a conversation I look down the row and there’s a new guy I don’t know much about.”
Forward Brendan Gallagher, who missed 17 games with fractured fingers earlier this season, went down with a lower-body injury in the Habs’ 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. Gallagher won’t play against the Stars and will undergo further testing.
Alex Galchenyuk, who has seven goals in his last six games, also suffered a lower-body injury against Winnipeg and is questionable against Dallas. Lars Eller, who’s been fighting through an upper-body injury for a number of games, might not be able to go against the Stars either.
Reigning Hart and Vezina Trophy-winner Carey Price was one of the first Habs to go down. He’s missed 44 games since with a lower-body injury.
Defencemen Jeff Petry and Tom Gilbert each had season-ending surgery in February while Nathan Beaulieu is currently on injured reserve with a suspected knee injury. Centre David Desharnais is also out with a fractured left foot.
The injuries and trades at last week’s deadline have created a reinvented roster for head coach Michel Therrien. The Canadiens now have the second-youngest team in the NHL as they look for their first win in March after posting just 12 wins from Dec. 1 to Feb. 29.
“Our situation with the injuries and the changes is frustrating,” said Pacioretty. “But that’s the card we’ve been dealt and it’s the one we’ve gotta play.”
The Canadiens injury woes aren’t helping their playoff chances. Montreal’s 30-30-6 record has them nine points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with 16 games remaining.