Canadiens coach Michel Therrien continued with his strategy to give his players some rest before the playoffs start next week by having only an optional morning skate in Chicago before Wednesday night’s game against the Blackhawks (7:30 p.m., TSN, RDS, TSN Radio 690).
George Parros and Dale Weise were the only skaters to take to the ice, along with goaltenders Peter Budaj and Dustin Tokarski, who was called up from the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs on Tuesday to replace Carey Price. Budaj will start against the Blackhawks.
Price didn’t make the trip to Chicago and neither did defencemen Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin. All three were given a rest with back-to-back games on the schedule and the New York Islanders visiting the Bell Centre Thursday night (7:30 p.m., TSN-HABS, RDS, TSN Radio 690). The Canadiens will wrap up the regular season Saturday night at the Bell Centre against the New York Rangers.
“Nothing has changed for us,” Therrien said. “We’re going to Chicago to win. We want to play good hockey; inspired, solid hockey. We want to continue preparing for the playoffs and win the most games possible.”
Defenceman Josh Gorges will return to the Habs lineup after being sidelined since early March with a broken hand. Max Pacioretty needs one goal to become the Canadiens’ first 40-goal scorer since Vincent Damphousse in 1993-94.
Here’s how the lines and defence pairings are expected to look against the Blackhawks:
Here’s how the lines and defence pairings looked at practice:
(Photo by Allen McInnis/The Gazette)