Peter Budaj will start in goal for the Canadiens when they face the Florida Panthers tonight in Montreal. For Budaj, it will be his first start of the season after Carey Price got the nod in the first eight games.
If Budaj plays well and the Habs win, coach Jacques Martin will likely live to coach another day in Montreal. But if things go sideways and the Canadiens (1-4-2) start the season winless in their first five home games, it could very well be the last straw. And if you think that’s being alarmist, try picturing the scene at the Bell Center in the closing minutes of a loss to the Panthers. Now imagine you’re GM Pierre Gauthier witnessing that scene. How’s your resolve in that situation?
Budaj’s coming off a poor season with the Colorado Avalanche that resulted in the 29-year-old signing a two-year contract worth $2.3 million with the Canadiens on July 1.