Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien says he's optimistic that captain Max Pacioretty will be alright after taking a stick to the face that forced him to leave practice early on Tuesday.

The Habs got a scare on the eve of their opening playoff game against the New York Rangers after the incident happened in front of the net with teammate Michael McCarron.

McCarron later explained that he was trying to lift Pacioretty's stick as he was shooting. Pacioretty then turned to protect the puck as McCarron's stick rode up and hit him in the face. Pacioretty left immediately for the dressing room with the help of a trainer.

"We're very optimistic that he'll be fine," Julien told reporters after practice. "He'll be re-evaluated tomorrow."

Dwight King took Pacioretty's place on the top line with centre Philip Danault and winger Alexander Radulov. Pacioretty led the Canadiens in scoring this season with 35 goals and 67 points.

Julien also confirmed that defenceman Jordie Benn will be back in the lineup for Game 1 after missing the last six games of the regular season with an undisclosed injury.