Ever since clinching a playoff spot last Thursday with their 5-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres, the Habs haven't looked quite right.
Throughout this season the Habs have been a team who have been able to bounce back after tough losses, but that wasn't the case on Monday night. They followed up their 5-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday by having an even worse performance at home, losing 7-3 against the twelfth place Philadelphia Flyers who were on a four-game losing streak prior to the game.
"We might have taken our foot off the gas after clinching a playoff spot, but we addressed that today and we need to focus on turning things around in these last six games," Jeff Halpern said after practice on Tuesday.
There is no denying that trying to get back on track will be a challenge tomorrow night for the Canadiens. They are facing the Pittsburgh Penguins who are undefeated against the Canadiens this year. With Carey Price struggling to find his game after having two difficult back-to-back performances, Michel Therrien has decided to go with backup Peter Budaj tomorrow night.
The goaltending change might not be the only change to the lineup. The Canadiens are trying to fill the large hole left behind by Russian defenseman Alexei Emelin, who is out for the season with torn ligament in his left knee. Therrien decided to have Yannick Weber practice on the third defensive pairing with Davis Drewiske, replacing Nathan Beaulieu. Weber has played two games this year, missed eight games with a lower body injury and was a healthy scratch for the other 32 games. Therrien said he will make his final decision on Weber on Wednesday.
Ryan White has a 10am et in-person hearing with the NHL tomorrow morning in New York to discuss his hit on Flyers defenceman Kent Huskins.
Michael Ryder took a therapy day and was not at this morning's practice. Raphael Diaz skated with the team for a second time, but he wore a no-contact jersey and will not make the trip to Pittsburgh.
Lines from Tuesday's practice:
Bourque - Plekanec - Gionta
Pacioretty - Desharnais - Gallagher
Galchenyuk - Eller - Prust
Moen - Halpern - Blunden
Markov - Bouillon
Gorges - Subban
Drewiske - Weber