Montreal F Gallagher cleared to play in Winter Classic

Lars Eller
Montreal Canadiens' Lars Eller, right, practices with teammates on the outdoor rink at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015, where the Canadiens will play the Boston Bruins in the NHL Winter Classic hockey game on New Year's Day. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Montreal Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher has been cleared to return for Friday’s Winter Classic after missing 17 games with two broken fingers on his left hand.

Gallagher said at Gillette Stadium on Thursday that coach Michel Therrien gave him the OK.

The Canadiens will play the rival Bruins in the NHL’s traditional New Year’s Day game at the home of the New England Patriots. Gallagher said he is excited to be back for the marquee event. He will wear special padding on his glove to help protect it.

Gallagher was expected to miss six weeks after he was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 23. The Canadiens are 5-11-1 without him, losing 11 of their last 13 games.

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