Canadiens’ Ducharme ‘very confident’ Shea Weber will be ready for Game 1

Sportsnet's Sarah Nurse and Justin Bourne breakdown the Scotia North Division's first, second, and third all-star team with Caroline Cameron on Hockey Central.

Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber is still on track to return from an upper-body injury in Game 1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, head coach Dominique Ducharme said Saturday.

Ducharme said in his post-practice availability he was “very confident” Weber will be healthy enough to play in Game 1, which goes next Thursday.

“He’ll be on the ice later on,” Ducharme added. “He’s skating, he’s preparing and he’s going to be practicing shortly.”

In other Canadiens injury news, winger Brendan Gallagher was a full participant in practice with a full contract jersey, according to The Athletic’s Arpon Basu. Gallagher, who is recovering from a broken thumb, had been skating in a non-contact jersey at practice earlier in the week.

“I’ll be good to go,” Gallagher said after the practice. “You don’t put on that sweater without the expectations of bringing it all for your teammates every night. I wouldn’t put myself in the lineup if I didn’t think I was going to be 100 per cent.”

Phillip Danault and Carey Price, who have both missed time with concussions, were also full participants, according to Basu. It’s unclear for now if they will be cleared for Game 1.

“We’re built on depth and it’s good to see those guys and everyone on the ice,” Ducharme said of his injured players. “We’ll need everyone to be chipping in and playing some good hockey.”

The Canadiens and Maple Leafs open their first-round series – the first playoff meeting between the rivals in more than 40 years – Thursday on Sportsnet and CBC. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. ET/ 4:30 p.m. PT.

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