Habs goalie Budaj a friendly foe for Ottawa Senators
Canadiens backup goaltender suffered only 1 regulation loss all season, 5-1 to the Senators in January
The Ottawa Senators will look to eliminate the Montreal Canadiens' Thursday night as they face the Habs' backup goaltender, and the Sens might have some inside knowledge about his tendencies.
Peter Budaj will start Game 5 Thursday night in Montreal with his team's back against the wall, down 3-1 in the first-round series.
Habs' starting goalie, Carey Price, was deemed out for the rest of the series with a lower-body injury, the team announced Thursday morning.
Budaj had a solid year for Montreal with an 8-1-1 record. But his only regulation loss of the season was a 5-1 defeat against the Senators on Jan. 30, and he let in the overtime winner on Tuesday to Senators' centre Kyle Turris.
Anderson, Budaj a tandem in Colorado
Senators' starting goalie, Craig Anderson, played with Budaj for two years with the Colorado Avalanche. Anderson also had Habs' goalie coach, Pierre Groulx, when he played for the Florida Panthers.
"(Budaj) played really well for (Montreal) down the stretch and I know Pierre Groulx really well, and I know he gets his goalies ready," Anderson said.
"That's one of the things when I played in Florida with Pierre is that, even though I didn't play for a couple weeks, when I got in there I was ready to go."
The injury to Price isn't the only one facing the battered and bruised Canadiens.
Forwards Brandon Prust, captain Brian Gionta, Ryan White and Lars Eller are also going to miss Game 5. Defenceman Alexei Emelin and Gionta are out for the year and Eller is likely gone for the series.
Canadiens' coach Michel Therrien said forward Michael Blunden would step in for Prust in Game 5 but there would be no other lineup changes, besides Budaj replacing Price.
Sens know about playing through injuries
If any team understands what it's like playing through a vast number of injuries, it's the Senators.
Ottawa spent much of the season without forwards Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek, defencemen Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen, plus more than a month without Anderson.
Spezza remains out after back surgery but others returned late in the here, though the Senators are only in the playoffs thanks to rookies and role players who stepped up their game.
"It's almost a rally point for some teams when you lose big players and you're down a bunch of guys, you got players coming in that want to prove themselves," said Sens' centre, Zack Smith, after Thursday's morning skate.
The Senators are expected to dress an identical lineup to Game 4.
Defenceman Eric Gryba will play his first game at the Bell Centre since his devastating hit to Montreal centre Lars Eller, which earned him a two-game suspension.
You can watch Game 5 at 7 p.m. ET on Hockey Night in Canada (CBC, CBCSports.ca).