NHL

Your! Call: Can the Canadiens still win without Price?

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Ryan Horne, TSN.ca Staff
5/19/2014 1:04:21 PM
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The worst possible news has happened for the Montreal Canadiens.

Head coach Michel Therrien announced Monday morning that Carey Price will miss the rest of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers after suffering a lower-body injury in Game 1.

The incident occurred when Rangers' forward Chris Kreider slid into Price after falling on a partial breakaway.

The question is, with Montreal's best and most important player sidelined while already being down in the series after a miserable loss in Game 1, can the Habs still beat the Rangers and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

The Canadiens seemed to be on top of the world coming into the series. They brushed off the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening round followed by a grueling victory over their hated rivals - the Boston Bruins - in seven games.

Many thought Montreal had a great opportunity to advance to the Stanley Cup Final and maybe even become the first Canadian team to hoist the Stanley Cup in 21 years.

Now after just one game, all of that is in doubt.

Montreal could go with backup Peter Budaj or former Canadian world junior goalie Dustin Tokarski for Game 2.

Budaj replaced Price in the third period of Game 1 and proceeded to let in three goals on eight shots, all on the power play. Budaj has only one post-season start in his career (last year with Montreal) and has appeared in a total of seven games with a 5.10 goals against average and a .843 save percentage. Can this 31-year-old backup send the Habs to the Cup or is he too inexperienced?

Therrien might decide to shake things up and go with Tokarski. The 24-year-old has only played in 10 regular season games in his short three-year career, but has shown signs of success this season, picking up two wins in three games with a 1.84 GAA. Is it possible Montreal can catch lightning in a bottle with Tokarski? It happened once before when Ken Dryden came out of nowhere to lead the Canadiens to victory in 1970-71.

Adversity has a reputation of either bringing a team together or causing them to fail miserably. To say losing Price at this time of year is adversity would be an understatement. This really is a punch in the gut. Do the Canadiens have the strength and leadership to recover from such a blow or will it cause them to crumble?

Therrien did say Price might be available for the Stanley Cup Final. Well, they're going to have to get there first without the guy that was instrumental in getting them this far.

Can the Canadiens beat the Rangers without Price?

As always, it's Your! Call!

 

Carey Price (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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