MONTREAL – Defenceman Andrei Markov will not return to the Montreal Canadiens lineup for Game 6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Markov suffered a suspected torn knee ligament in Game 1.
Habs coach Jacques Martin says the blue-liner will not play as the Canadiens try to stave off elimination from the NHL playoffs.
Markov skated on his own in full equipment before the team’s game-day skate. There were reports he has been trying out a knee brace to see if he could play.
However, there is still a chance that big rearguard Hal Gill may play despite suffering a bad cut on the back of a knee in Game 5 on Saturday night.
Martin said decisions on Gill and Jaroslav Spacek, who is expected to return after missing nine games with a virus, would be made after the pre-game warm-up.
Gill stayed overnight in Pittsburgh for treatment on the cut, then had a long travel day on Sunday. Placed on a commericial flight with team doctor David Mulder, Gill was at the airport in Pittsburgh on Sunday morning and, due to delays, did not get into Montreal until that night.
He went on the ice only at the end of the Canadiens morning skate.
”I was just out a little bit, I just wanted to get my feet under me and skate a little bit,” said Gill. ”I have to talk to the trainers and see what’s happening.”
”It’s Game 6, it’s do or die, who doesn’t want to be a part of it?”
At the skate, Spacek was back with his regular defence partner Roman Hamrlik, while Josh Gorges, who normally plays with Gill, moved to the left side to play with rookie P.K. Subban. The duo of Ryan O’Byrne and Marc-Andre Bergeron stayed together.
A change on attack was checker Mathieu Darche on left wing of the top line with Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta.
Pittsburgh leads the best-of-seven series 3-2.