Needing a win to keep playoff hopes alive, Tampa Bay will have to face Carey Price in goal for the Habs this evening.
But in front of Price? There are some holes.
Montreal head coach Claude Julien announced that three defensemen — Shea Weber, Alexei Emelin and Jordie Benn — would all miss tonight’s affair, leaving Montreal with a blueline comprised of Andrei Markov, Nikita Nesterov, Brandon Davidson, Jeff Petry, Nathan Beaulieu and Brett Lernout.
Lernout was recalled from AHL St. John’s yesterday, and is set to play in just his second career NHL game.
Weber was sent home from the club’s recently completed two-game road swing to have his lower-body ailment treated. It’s not believed to be serious, and Julien said Weber will resume practicing on Monday.
Benn has been sidelined with an upper-body issue since Mar. 28, and missed the last four games. Like Weber, his injury isn’t of the long-term variety, and the Habs said he’ll be ready for the playoffs.
Emelin’s status is a little murkier. He’s been shut down for the final two games of the year — tonight against the Bolts, Saturday against the Red Wings — and Julien said he’ll reevaluated over the next couple of days.
As for tonight’s affair, the Bolts are looking for to beat Montreal for the second time in four tries this season. Their lone victory came back on Dec. 28, a 4-3 OT win at Amalie.