Carey Price will not play again in the Eastern Conference final. Michel Therrien has made his most important coaching decision of the playoffs. He just hasn’t told the press: Peter Budaj or Dustin Tokarski?
Michel Therrien said it succinctly: “We have lost our best player.”
Carey Price is officially out for the rest of the Eastern Conference final Therrien told reporters at his pre-game presser for Game 2 tonight in Montreal.
Price was injured when Chris Kreider fell into him on a partial breakway in the second period of Game 1.
Price played the rest of the period, but Peter Budaj replaced him for the third.
Therrien didn’t name his starter for Monday’s game, though he did say he’d already made his decision. Budaj is the backup, but Therrien might be tempted to go with third-stringer Dustin Tokarski, who shone in three games this season, going 2-0, with one shutout a 1.84 goals-against average and .946 save percentage.
The Canadiens acquired Tokarski from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Valentine’s Day in 2013 for Cedrick Desjardins in a switch of minor league goaltenders. The Lightning drafted Tokarski 122nd overall in 2008. In 41 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs, Montreal’s American League affiliate, Tokarski went 20-16-3, including one shutout, with a 2.38 GAA and .919 SP.
Given Therrien’s reticence at his press conference, don’t be surprised if Tokarski gets the start. He has a championship pedigree: a Memorial Cup (2008), world juniors gold (2009) and Calder Cup (2012).
And hey, he’s got Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy to look to for inspiration.
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