Looking to take a 3-2 edge in a pivotal Game 5 at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens will have one of their biggest minute-eaters back on the blue line on Thursday night.

Defenceman Alexei Emelin is expected to return to the Habs’ lineup for Game 5 after missing the first four games of this first round series against the Rangers. Emelin has been out of action since April 5 when he suffered a lower-body injury against the Sabres.

He participated in Montreal’s morning skate at Complexe Sportif Bell on the third pair to the right of Nathan Beaulieu. It was his first full team practice since he resumed skating on April 15. Emelin’s regular partner this season was Jeff Petry, but Jordie Benn has been paired with Petry throughout the postseason.