Suffering Canadiens withdrawal? The Gazette has the answer with the ultimate fantasy experience as beat writer Pat Hickey and Gazette techie Eric Tobon employ EA Sports NHL 13 to produce The Season That Isn’t. Here’s how things might have looked in Tuesday night’s scheduled game between the Canadiens and New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center.
NEWARK, N.J. – Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said he felt ill when he saw goaltender Carey Price Tuesday afternoon.
But not as ill as Price.
“We had an optional morning skate, but Carey was there because he didn’t play last night,” Therrien said. “He was fine, but he said that when he woke up from a nap after lunch his sheets were all wet. He was running a fever and our first thought was to keep him away from the other players.”
Price’s illness forced Therrien to use Peter Budaj in nets, and while the backup turned in a strong 32-save performance the Canadiens finished on the short end of a 2-1 count Tuesday night at the Prudential Center.
“I can’t remember the last time I played back-to-back games,” said Budaj, who was in nets for a 4-3 win over Nashville Monday night in Montreal. “I wasn’t tired, but I was worried about getting hurt because there was no way Carey could have played.”
Price was listed as the backup, but stayed in the trainer’s room and never put all his equipment on. Therrien said there was no time to summon a backup from Hamilton, because the Bulldogs were in Newfoundland, and he’s not too concerned because the Canadiens are idle until Saturday when the Vancouver Canucks are at the Bell Centre.
Budaj and New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur were both working on shutouts when Travis Zajac redirected Henrik Tallinder’s shot from the point at 16:57 of the second period. Adam Henrique’s, who has been experiencing the sophomore jinx, scored what proved to be the winner at 18:16.
“I didn’t have a chance on the first one, but I would have liked another shot at the second goal,” Budaj said. “I got a piece of it with my blocker.”
Brodeur made 31 saves and lost his shutout when Rene Bourque scored his seventh of the season at 12:58 of the third period.
While Therrien said he was pleased with his team’s effort, he was disappointed the Canadiens didn’t generate more offence on the power play. With Andrei Markov out of the lineup, the Canadiens went 0-for-5 with the extra man. New Jersey had only power play.
The game ended on a sour note when Steve Bernier drove P.K. Subban into the boards from behind with 31 seconds to play and received a major for boarding. Subban had a small cut on his cheek, but skated off under his own power.
(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)