Michel Therrien

Poll: Who should the Habs start in Game 3?

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In the aftermath of Monday’s 3-1 loss in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final, Habs head coach Michel Therrien was non-committal about his starting goalie for Game 3, refusing to say if Dustin Tokarski would be back in net on Thursday.

Tokarski, who made his NHL postseason debut tonight, did about as well as could be expected given the circumstances. He was hardly at fault for the loss — Montreal provided him with just a single goal of offense — but looked a little slow and a step behind the pace of the game, understandable given he had just 10 previous NHL starts and hadn’t played since Apr. 19 (with AHL Hamilton).

But since Therrien wouldn’t commit to Tokarski beyond Game 2, there could be other options at play.

Specifically, backup netminder Peter Budaj. The 31-year-old Slovak has a boatload of experience — nearly 300 games over nine years in the NHL — and has played seven postseason games, including a relief appearance of Carey Price in a Game 1 loss to the Rangers.

There are issues with Budaj, though. Once is that he’s clearly a backup — a trusty, veteran guy meant to provide spot duty during an 82-game grind. There’s also the trust issue — if the Habs didn’t have enough to turn to Budaj in Game 2, why would they for Game 3? One would also have to wonder about Budaj’s mindset after being passed over in favor of Tokarski. Budaj has been with the organization for a while, serving as Carey Price’s trusty backup for the last three years.

“We did talk to Peter this morning, and he really reacted as a pro, and he’s a good teammate to understand our decision,” Therrien said. “We let him know the reason why [we started Tokarski].”

The other option, the longest of the longshots, is to give ex-Edmonton No. 1 Devan Dubnyk a whirl. Problem there is that Dubnyk was buried behind Tokarski with the Bulldogs and had an awful year in the NHL, both with the Oilers and Predators. He’s a virtual non-factor but warrants a mention here, if only to illustrate how bleak Montreal’s goaltending situation is.

With all that in mind, feel free to vote in our poll!

Caggiula expected to sign shortly, Canucks could be front-runners

during the championship game of the 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championships at Amalie Arena on April 9, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.The North Dakota Fighting Hawks defeated the Quinnipiac Bobcats 5-1 to win the national title. Getty
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College free agent Drake Caggiula is expected to pick a team shortly, possibly even today.

The University of North Dakota winger had originally shortlisted six teams, according to a report. Those teams were Philadelphia, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver, Chicago and Buffalo.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie said this morning on Edmonton radio that the Canucks are “maybe” the front-runners to land the 21-year-old. Vancouver signed Caggiula’s teammate, defenseman Troy Stecher, a couple of weeks ago, and Caggiula’s linemate, Brock Boeser, was drafted by the Canucks in the first round last year.

Recently, Boeser told Postmedia that he was trying to convince Caggiula to sign with Vancouver, where there will be plenty of opportunities for young forwards in the next couple of years.

If it’s not the Canucks, McKenzie said he’s heard the Oilers have a “puncher’s chance” of getting Caggiula.

Vigneault will be behind the Rangers’ bench in 2016-17

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault runs a practice at NHL hockey training camp Friday, Sept. 13, 2013, in Greenburgh N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
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The New York Rangers may have been bounced in the opening round of the 2016 playoffs, but they aren’t looking to make a coaching change. In a phone interview with Montreal’s LaPresse newspaper, Alain Vigneault confirmed that he’ll be back behind the Rangers’ bench next season.

“I’ve had discussions with the club’s front office and they told me that they wanted me to come back next season,” Vigneault told LaPresse (quotes have been translated by PHT).

Vigneault and Rangers management will meet in Palm Springs next week to discuss what went wrong in 2015-16.

Even though the season didn’t go the way the Rangers had hoped, Vigneault insists he was never worried about losing his job.

“I don’t really worry about that stuff,” Vigneault said of the rumors surrounding his job security. “There’s 82 games in a season plus the playoffs and you can’t start thinking about your fate after each game. After a loss, you forget it and start thinking about the adjustments you need to make. In regards to our situation, we still managed to pick up 101 points this season. That’s a good season, but we still expected more from our team in the playoffs.”

Like every off-season, there will be changes, but Vigneault isn’t expecting any major ones.

“There’s definitely going to be changes. I don’t know if there’ll be big changes because today, it’s hard to make big changes. With the salary cap, it’s not realistic to think that way.”

When pressed about potential changes, Vigneault wasn’t willing to elaborate.

Vigneault also touched on the way Dan Boyle went after two reporters at the team’s year-end media availability. It’s safe to say he wasn’t thrilled about the way the whole thing went down.

“It’s a lesson for me and our whole team,” added Vigneault. “It’s disappointing because Dan had a really nice career. He won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay, but all people will remember him for is this incident. What happened with him really surprised us. It’s too bad. I hope people will remember him for the career he had.”

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

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The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with one game on Friday night. You can catch tonight’s action via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

Tampa Bay at NY Islanders (7:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 4 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Lightning lead the series 2-1.

Here’s some relevant reading material you might enjoy:

No hearings scheduled for Boyle on Hickey hit, or Hickey on Drouin hit

Lightning take dramatic OT win vs. Islanders, go up 2-1 in series

WATCH LIVE: Canada-USA (IIHF World Hockey Championship)

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A huge tilt on day one of the World Hockey Championships, as Canada and the USA clash in Russia. You can watch the game online using the NBC Sports Live Extra app.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Canada came away with a gold medal in last year’s tournament while the United States took home the bronze. Of course, each team’s roster changes significantly every year.

The USA’s next game is tomorrow against Belarus. Canada will play Sunday against Hungary.