Injured Jake Evans travelling with Canadiens to Vegas ahead of series opener
Rookie forward suffered concussion in Round 2; D-men Petry, Merrill also making trip
The Montreal Canadiens could be on the cusp of getting some key pieces back in the lineup as they prepare for their toughest challenge yet — the Vegas Golden Knights.
Interim head coach Dominque Ducharme said Saturday defencemen Jeff Petry (hand), Jon Merrill (lower-body injury), and forward Jake Evans (concussion) are travelling with the team to Vegas for the start of the Stanley Cup semifinals.
When, exactly, the trio could return remains unclear. Ducharme said Friday he was "not very confident" that they would dress for Game 1 on Monday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 9 p.m. ET).
Evans has been out of the lineup since June 2 when he was levelled by Winnipeg Jets centre Mark Scheifele in the final moments of Montreal's 5-3 win in the second-round series opener.
WATCH | Graphic Warning: Evans leaves game on stretcher:
The crushing blow left Evans with a concussion and the NHL's department of player safety handed Scheifele a four-game suspension.
Evans is working through the process of getting back to game shape, working out in the gym and skating on Friday and Saturday, Ducharme said.
"He's got a couple more steps to go but he's heading in the right direction," he said.
WATCH | Canadiens continue improbable playoff run:
The Canadiens believe Evans could make his return in three or four days, but are being cautious, the coach added.
"With that kind of injury, you never know, there could be setbacks at any time. We're not taking anything for granted. The most important thing is for him to be 100 per cent."
Evans has one goal in four playoff games this season. The 25-year-old from Toronto put up 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 47 regular-season games this year.