BRIDGEPORT -- He didn't want to miss opening night, but Brett Gallant hasn't been able to play since then because of injury.

Gallant is hopeful he can return Saturday, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers play their first road game against the Syracuse Crunch.

"I'm ready to go," he said Thursday after practice at the Wonderland of Ice.

"The last week, I've just been going on early with Bogy and Doug (assistant coaches Eric Boguniecki and Doug Holewa). They've been getting me conditioned. I'm ready to go for the weekend."

Gallant won't go further than the team did in describing a lower-body injury. It had been bothering him late in training camp, but he wanted to keep playing.

"I thought he had a tremendous training camp," Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin said. "He worked hard. He played his game."

"He's a guy who can play hockey," Pellerin added. "He makes smart plays. If he continues to get his conditioning level where it needs to be, he's going to earn more ice time."

Gallant, 24, has pushed his way from freelance muscle to a regular role, going from a tryout in 2011 to an NHL contract last year and again this season. He set a team record with 26 fighting majors before a shoulder injury ended his year last season, while his all-around game continued to progress.

Milford has become a second home for a guy from Prince Edward Island and his family. He's actually the longest-tenured Sound Tiger, arriving Feb. 10, 2011, and when the team's leadership comes up in conversation, his name is on the list.

"Wherever I've been, I've tried to be a leader," Gallant said. "We've got a lot of guys, even in their first year, who are leaders."

Bridgeport remains without defenseman Joe Finley and forward and captain Chris Bruton. They're both out at least for Saturday's game with upper-body injuries. Bruton skated separately at Wonderland on Thursday, while Finley was undergoing treatment.;