It appears the Montreal Canadiens will not be back to full health when they begin their third-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday.

Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme said Friday they are "not very confident" that Jeff Petry, Jake Evans or Jon Merrill will dress in Game 1.

Ducharme noted that all three players are progressing and should return in the near future. 

The Canadiens completed their sweep of the Winnipeg Jets in Game 4 on Monday without Petry, who is dealing with an upper-body injury.

The defenceman appeared to be injured when he got his right pinky finger caught in a camera hole in the glass during the second period of Sunday's 5-1 win in Game 3. He went to the locker room, but was able to return to action and finish the period on the bench. The 33-year-old played 16:02 over the first two periods of the game and was a plus-1. He did not play in the third period.

Petry has contributed three assists for the Canadiens during the 2020-21 post-season.

Rookie Alexander Romanov made his playoff debut in place of Petry in Game 4.

Evans has been sidelined since Game 1 of the team's second-round series, when he sustained a concussion on a hit from Jets forward Mark Scheifele. Scheifele was suspended four games for charging after the incident. Evans has one goal in four postseason games.

Merrill, acquired at the trade deadline from the Detroit Red Wings, has been out since Game 5 of the Canadiens' first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He is without a point in five playoff games.


Embracing their role 

The Canadiens are considered heavy underdogs once again in their third-round series, though Ducharme said he's embracing the role this postseason.

"I personally like to prove people wrong," Ducharme said Friday.

Ducharme: I always personally like to prove people wrong

With the Habs being big underdogs yet again in the playoffs, head coach Dominique Ducharme discusses if he uses the external doubt to motivate or push the team in any way.

The Canadiens will fly to Vegas on Saturday ahead of Game 1 on Monday.