The Canadiens left goaltender Carey Price and three of the team’s regular defensemen home to rest up for the playoff run as their teammates left for Chicago and their final road game of the season Tuesday.
Peter Budaj was scheduled to play one of the back to back games this week. Michel Therrien has chosen to start him in Chicago and leave Carey Price at home. Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin have been carrying a big part of the defensive load the last month and they will stay behind along with Douglas Murray who will serve the final game of his three game suspension. Also left behind were the injured forwards Travis Moen (concussion) and Brandon Prust (upper body-ribs).
Therrien’s reason for the move? “Markov and Emelin are defencemen who play in very difficult situations, against the other team’s best offensive players. I saw this as a good opportunity to give them a day of so they could get some treatment and do some off-ice workouts to be 100 percent for the rest of the season.”
Markov is the Canadiens current ‘iron man’. His consecutive games-played streak will end at 167, a string that started after his return from his latest major knee surgery. P.K. Subban is next at 121 games.
The logical backup for Budaj is Hamilton goaltender Dustin Tokarski. He’ll have a hard travel day. The Bulldogs are in St. John’s Newfoundland where they’ll play the first to back-to-back games against the ice Caps Tuesday night.
Josh Gorges has fully recovered from his broken hand and will play for the first time in fourteen games alongside P.K. Subban in Chicago. After that it’s mix-and-match on defense. One could only guess that Mike Weaver will play with Jarred Tinordi and Francis Bouillon will see action beside Nathan Beaulieu.
That setup is clearly temporary. The Canadiens still practiced with what seems to be Michel Therrien’s projected line combintions moving toward the playoffs.
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Vanek
Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gallagher
Bourque – Eller – Gionta
Bournival – Briere – White
Markov – Emelin
Gorges – Subban
Tinordi – Weaver
Extra Forwards – Weise/Parros – Defence – Bouillon/Beaulieu
: 67-51-20, 27-14-11, 17-81-21, 49-48-53, 26-76, 79-74, 24-43 et/and 55-6. Extras: 22-15