giontaBrian Gionta has left the Canadiens and returned to Montreal for what has been termed a “family emergency” by the team.

Gionta was pulled away from Monday’s charter to Calgary when he was informed that one of his son’s had been taken to hospital.  He took a commerical flight to Calgary on Tuesday and played in both the Wednesday game against the Flames and Thursday’s 4-1 win in Edmonton.

Gionta has three children, two of them sons.  The youngest is 18 months.

The Canadiens are in Vancouver where they will play Saturday night against the Canucks, the third game in a four game-nine day road trip.  It’s not known at this time, but it seems unlikely Gionta will return to the West Coast in time for Saturday night’s game.

The Habs conclude their longest road trip of the season on Tuesday in Winnipeg.

In the shuffled lineup coach Michel Therrien used Thursday night in Edmonton, Gionta played with David Desharnais and Rene Bourque.  In Friday practice at Vancouver’s Rogers Centre, all purpose forward Brandon Prust moved up from the fourth line to replace him on that line.  Ryan White replaced Prust on the fourth line.  Galchenyuk and Gallagher practiced with Tomas Plekanec.

Here are Friday’s Practice lines 






Josh Gorges wasn’t on ice for the practice.   He was taking therapy for the suspected injury that kept him out of most of the third period in Calgary and made him a gametime decision in Edmonton.  He’s not expected to miss the Vancouver game.   The defence pairings for this practice were