By Allan Muir
If the Canadiens are going to stage a comeback in their series against the Ottawa Senators, they’ll have to do it without No. 1 goalie.
In lousy news for Montreal’s fans and ticket scalpers alike, the team announced this morning that Price is out for the duration of the first round.
Although there were no further details, it appeared that he suffered a lower body injury while making the final save of regulation in Tuesday’s Game 4 loss. Peter Budaj, who came in and allowed the winning goal to Kyle Turris in overtime, will step between the pipes in tonight’s must-win contest. The Habs trail the series 3-1, and will also be playing without captain Brian Gionta (torn bicep) and forwards Brandon Prust (upper body), Ryan White (upper body) and Lars Eller (concussion).
This will be the first playoff start for Budaj, who went 8-1-1 with a 2.29 GAA and .909 save percentage this season. But that one loss? It came against the Senators on Jan. 30. He allowed five goals on 27 shots as Ottawa romped 5-1.
Can he resurrect Montreal’s season and lead the Habs to three straight wins? He’ll be sainted in Quebec if he does, but no need to rush the canonization. Budaj registered just two wins against playoff teams this season (Toronto and Boston), and with his former partner in Colorado, Craig Anderson, at the other end, he won’t have much margin for error.
Of course, no one expected much of Steve Penney, either…