Defencemen Mathieu Schneider (left) and Andrei Markov celebrate a goal last Thursday on Long Island.
Bruce Bennett, Getty Images
Defencemen Andrei Markov and Mathieu Schneider have both been scratched for tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators. Nor is coach Bob Gainey overly optimistic that either will be back to face the New York Rangers tomorrow, saying it’s not uncommon for a player who can’t suit up one night to also be unavailable 24 hours later.
Neither player participated in the morning skate today and Doug Janik was recalled from Hamilton to fill out the lineup. Markov and Schneider both suffered upper-body injuries – think shoulder – in Saturday’s 6-2 rout of Toronto. Both rearguards had early-morning MRI exams, with Gainey saying after morning skate that neither would be available tonight. The coach expected to meet with Canadiens doctor David Mulder this evening to get a clearer idea about their condition.
The injured defencemen will be missed most on the power play. Markov has 39 of his team-leading 64 points with the man advantage while Schneider has scored 16 points in 21 games since coming over from Atlanta and most of those have been on the power play.
Based on the pairings this morning, Mike Komisarek and Josh Gorges will be the No. 1 combination while Roman Hamrlik will play with Patrice Brisebois. Janik and Ryan O’Byrne will be the third pair.
Jaroslav Halak starts in goal, Carey Price as the backup. Look for Price to return tomorrow against the Rangers. Andrei Kostitsyn is a healthy scratch again tonight.