Harry How/Getty Images
Josh Gorges is expected to make his return to the lineup on March 9 against the Chicago Blackhawks, as Arpon Basu of NHL.com reports.
The veteran defenseman broke his hand during a game on March 1. He initially tried to play through the pain, but has been out of the lineup since March 6.
Montreal has won 10 of 15 games in Gorges' absence, so they have found a way to win without him. He is an integral part of the Canadiens' blue line, however, and will certainly bolster the back six for the playoff run.
In the fifteen games sans Gorges, the Canadiens have allowed 2.8 goals per game. This is quite a bit above their season average of 2.48. It's a number they'll want to lower in the postseason, and Gorges should help with that.
Gorges' return should also have a positive impact on his defensive partner, P.K. Subban.
In Gorges' absence, Subban has been paired with 38-year-old Francis Bouillon. The veteran has put forth a valiant effort in playing alongside Subban, but he just can't offer what Gorges can.
Subban and Bouillon have been victimized by the opposition over the past couple of weeks. Coach Michel Therrien has not been pleased with the amount of goals the pairing has given up, and Subban's ice time has suffered.
The reigning Norris Trophy winner has played under 20 minutes in three-straight games, including a season-low of 13:39 against the Senators on April 4. He has not been able to play his style of game while also having to make up for the mistakes that Bouillon makes.
Having Gorges return should get Subban back on track. He'll be able to make the risky plays that make him effective while being confident that Gorges has him covered.
Gorges is an important part of the Canadiens' top-six defence and his return will be key down the stretch and into the playoffs.