NEWS
05/19/2014 10:41 EDT | Updated 07/19/2014 05:59 EDT

Canadiens in the playoffs: Price's status still unknown

Game 2 of the Montreal Canadiens-New York Rangers series is tonight, and the Habs are looking to avoid heading to NYC down two games.

After an optional practice on Sunday, the Habs’ Brandon Prust commented on the Game 1 manoeuvre that ultimately sent goaltender Carey Price to the bench: Chris Kreider ramming into Price, skates up, at the top of the second period.

“He did the same thing against (the Penguins’) Fleury in the last series so I mean he’s not doing anything to avoid him. so whether it’s not totally intentional, he doesn’t do anything to lighten it up a bit,” Prust said.

In the third period of Saturday’s game, Prust showed his displeasure in retaliation by slashing Kreider and taking a minor penalty. He also took an unsportsmanlike conduct minor and 10-minute misconduct penalty.

The big question is how big of a loss would it be for the Habs to play without Carey Price. He did not skate at Sunday's optional practice, and coach Michel Therrien said they're waiting to see how he responds to therapy today.

“He’s been the most important piece to this team and that’s pretty much been all year. He’s the backbone of this team, but hopefully he’s ready to go and we’ll rally around whoever,” Prust said.

Budaj says he's ready

Backup goalie Peter Budaj skated with the Habs on Sunday and said he’s ready to take over while Price heals — even if his playoff statistics don’t inspire confidence.

Despite that, you couldn’t ask for a more gracious, competitive, hard-working backup goalie.

On Price, Budaj said, “He’s huge. He’s our best player. He works hard, he’s a competitor, he’s a leader. So I’m sure we wouldn’t be here without him, and hopefully he feels good and he’s ready to go, and if not I’m ready.”

“I did everything I could to prepare myself mentally, physically throughout this time that I haven’t played,” Budaj continued.

But when he stepped in for Price during the third period of Game 1, he was beaten on the first shot and went on to allow three goals on eight shots.

Another scenario that could happen is that the young Dustin Tokarski from the Habs' AHL affiliate the Hamilton Bulldogs will stand in for Price. He skated at Monday's practice.

Max Pacioretty, however, is looking at the bright side of things.

“I think it’s easy to bounce back from a loss like that than a heartbreaker. […] We’re still a confident group and we’ve got to put that one behind us,” he said.

And some good news: Alex Galchenyuk — who has been sidelined for more than a month with a knee injury — has been cleared for contact.

The CBC Montreal Sports team has you covered for the Montreal Canadiens' 2014 Stanley Cup playoff run. Andie Bennett and Doug Gelevan are with Habs from the first round all the way to the victory parade.

Check out cbc.ca/montreal every morning for highlights, interviews from the locker room and the latest reports from Doug and Andie in Montreal and on the road. 

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