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Andrei Markov set to return for the Habs tonight

Oct 30, 2010, 3:24 PM EDT

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Some might say that the team is better off without him, at least if they just look at wins and losses. They made the playoffs with him playing hurt or missing games completely, then beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the playoffs after Matt Cooke sidelined him with a vicious but clean check.

Now they’re leading the NHL with 15 standings points despite the fact that he hasn’t played a game in the 2010-11 season.

Yet, despite those out-of-context facts, Andrei Markov is a vital part of the Montreal Canadiens blue line.

NHL.com reports that Markov will return from knee problems tonight against the Florida Panthers tonight. This is great news for the Canadiens, a team that is getting by on great defense more than anything else right now.

The team with the League’s best record will welcome back No. 1 defenseman Andrei Markov, out since the first game of the season round of last season’s playoffs, and he will be paired with rookie sensation P.K. Subban on the Habs blue line when they face the Florida Panthers.

[snip]

Subban and Markov have been in the same lineup only three times: Games 6 and 7 of the first round against Washington and Game 1 of the second round against Pittsburgh before Markov got injured in last spring’s playoffs.

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