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Canadiens goalie Cristobal Huet cleared to play, will back up Halak

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The 31-year-old planned to dress as back-up to Jaroslav Halak for a game Tuesday night against the Boston Bruins. Huet has been out of action since he tore his left hamstring during a game Feb. 14 against the New Jersey Devils. After surgery, the Canadiens No. 1 goalie was expected to miss the rest of the regular season.

"It was nice to hear that and it feels good to be back with the boys in the lineup," said Huet. "I'll just try to be ready if I'm asked to play."

Coach Guy Carbonneau would like to have Huet start a game before the playoffs, but is hesitant to take Halak out with the team in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race in the final week of the NHL regular season.

"It's a huge plus for our team," said Carbonneau. "He's ready to go and I think he's anxious to get going.

"He'll be on the bench, so he'll have a chance to go in the warm-up and feel the game close to the ice. After that, we don't have a plan. We'll go period by period and day by day with him.

"Right now, Jaroslav is playing really well. He has given us a chance to win every game and the reason we're here is because of him, so we're going to show him confidence. But you never know what's going to happen."

Halak has started seven straight games, winning six. The 21-year-old was called up from AHL Hamilton when Huet was injured and has gone 9-5-0.

Huet's return bumps David Aebischer from the lineup.

The Bruins planned to start Hannu Toivonen in goal after he was recalled Monday from Providence of the AHL. It is a second straight game Montreal was to face a backup goalie after Buffalo started Ty Conklin in a 4-3 Montreal win on Saturday night.

"It doesn't matter to us who is in net," said Carbonneau. "Even if Jesus is in net, we'll try to beat him."

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