The Canadiens announced Thursday that starting goaltender Carey Price will miss the remainder of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Ottawa Senators with a lower-body injury, thrusting Budaj into the spotlight.
At age 30, Budaj will start a playoff game for the first time in his eight-season NHL career with no room for error. His team is down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series heading into Game 5 Thursday at Bell Centre (7 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, CNBC), and his goal simply will be to get the Canadiens to a Game 6 in Ottawa on Saturday.
"I believe our players play hard in front of Carey, and I believe it's the same thing in front of Peter," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "I think the guys respect him a lot and they compete in front of him. That goes both ways, Peter is working really hard for his teammates."