price groinIt’s fairly safe to say the Canadiens are going to play two home games this week and probably Sunday’s game in Buffalo without Carey Price. .

Not only is his suspected groin pull still an issue, there is now a conditioning problem.  Price hasn’t seen game action since the Olympic gold medal game sixteen days ago and hasn’t had a full practice since.  Outside of that one shot he faced before he pulled himself out that February 26th practice he was completely off the ice for twelve days before he had those two brief skates in San Jose last Friday and Saturday in which he basically tested how far he could stretch his groin muscles before he felt discomfort.

Tuesday morningat the Bell Centre he returned to the ice and there was minor progress to report. Not that he’s is out of the woods but for the first time since he stopped that lone shot February 26th Price attempted the groin straining butterfly goaltending position with no apparent problems.  He participated in the early part of practice and then was seen working with goaltending coach Stephane Waite away from the main scrimmaging.

It’s a process. Before he can even think of starting a game he’ll need at least  two or three full out practices. So far he hasn’t  been cleared for that.   All Michel Therrien would say following Tuesday practice was Price’s condition will be re-examined “towards the end of the week.”  

Right now, with a six point lead on the teams that hold down the final Eastern Conference playoff berth, the Canadiens can afford to be cautious.  A continuation of what is now a two game losing streak, may change priorities however.   

No indication whether it will be Peter Budaj or Dustin Tokarski in goal against the Bruins Wednesday night. Therrien did say that Francis Bouillon will be in the lineup. Bouillon has been a healthy scratch in fifteen of the last sixteen games. Who he replaces remains to be seen, but Douglas Murray seemed to be the extra man at Tuesday practice.

Brandon Prust has been cleared by team doctors to play. Michael Bournival is close, but has yet to be cleared for a return from his concussion problems.

The Canadiens Practice Lines

Pacioretty – Desharnais – Gallagher

Vanek – Plekanec – Gionta

Galchenyuk – Eller – Briere

Prust – White – Moen

Markov – Emelin

Tinordi – Subban

Bouillon – Weaver

Extras – Murray, Bourque, Weise, Parros.