The Canadiens held an optional morning skate Thursday in Brossard as they prepared to face the Ottawa Senators in Game 5 at the Bell Centre Thursday night (7 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690) and Carey Price wasn’t on the ice.
The Canadiens announced that Price will not return during the series against the Senators due to a lower-body injury suffered in Game 4. Peter Budaj will start in his place Thursday and Robert Mayer will be the backup. It will be the first playoff start of Budaj’s career.
The Canadiens, trailing the series 3-1, are facing elimination Thursday night.
“I am confident in Peter Budaj,” coach Michel Therrien said. “Every time we needed him, he performed well.”
Twenty-one players took part in the optional skate, including Mike Blunden and Michael Bournival, who spent this season with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, posting 10-20-30 totals in 69 games to go along with a minus-3 and 26 penalty minutes. Therrien said that Blunden will take Brandon Prust’s spot in the lineup while Bournival will take part in the pregame warmup.
Captain Brian Gionta, who will have surgery on a torn left bicep muscle on Friday, is done for the season, while Ryan White and Prust are definitely out for Game 5 with upper-body injuries.