As the Montreal Canadiens look to secure a playoff spot in the North Division, they’re doing so without several of their more prominent veterans who are out of the lineup with various injuries. The team announced updates on the majority of those players, and it appears as if most of them could be back for the postseason.
Goaltender Carey Price has resumed skating as he works his way back from a concussion suffered last month against Edmonton but there remains no timetable for his return. In the meantime, Jake Allen will continue to shoulder the majority of the workload between the pipes.
Winger Brendan Gallagher has also resumed skating and remains on pace to return within the six-week timeframe listed a month ago when he was diagnosed with a thumb injury. With the North Division schedule being extended due to their and Vancouver’s COVID-pauses, that could give Gallagher an opportunity to return at the start of the playoffs. Meanwhile, Paul Byron has missed the last two weeks with a lower-body injury. He remains considered as day-to-day, but the team did not indicate if he has resumed skating yet.
Defenseman Shea Weber has missed five straight games with an upper-body injury but has resumed skating and is also listed as day-to-day.
Joining that group of players in the infirmary is center Phillip Danault. He left Thursday’s game against Toronto in the first period due to an upper-body injury. He has returned to Montreal for evaluation, and as a result, he will not be available for the rematch against the Maple Leafs on Saturday. Arpon Basu of The Athletic clarifies that Danault traveled by a car service, allowing him to remain in the bubble and not be subject to a seven-day quarantine to rejoin the team. If the Habs want to dress 12 forwards on Saturday, they will have to use an emergency recall on either Michael Frolik or Alex Belzile who are the only two healthy forwards on their taxi squad, a group that also consists of three other injured forwards from the AHL.
The Canadiens are also without winger Jonathan Drouin, who was placed on LTIR late last month after taking a leave of absence for personal reasons. There remains no update on his situation with the team at the time of the announcement asking everyone to respect his privacy.
While it certainly sounds as if some of their veterans should be ready to play if they can make it, there won’t be any immediate help on the horizon as they look to officially clinch a spot in the playoffs.