PHOENIX – The Habs take off for Nashville glad to add a healthy body back to their lineup.
Canadiens head coach Jacques Martin met with the media following the team’s Friday morning skate in Phoenix to offer some status updates on his injured skaters. While Andrei Kostitsyn won’t be on hand to face the Predators and Michael Cammalleri is currently listed as a game-time decision, fans can expect to see a healthy Scott Gomez back in the lineup for Saturday night’s tilt.
“We’re a little bit depleted right now. With so many injuries, being able to get a guy like Gomer back would obviously really help us out,” said Max Pacioretty. “He’s the kind of player that doesn’t just add a lot of skill to our lineup, but he’s a great team guy as well, so we’re all looking forward to having him back.”
Gomez is currently slated to appear on a line, playing wing, alongside center Petteri Nokelainen and Michael Blunden – a change of position you won’t hear him complaining about any time soon.
“Whether I’m playing defense, center, winger… really anything besides goalie, it really doesn’t matter to me, I’m just glad to be in the lineup, and to be playing again,” expressed Gomez prior to the team’s departure for Tennessee. “I came into the league as a winger so this doesn’t bother me at all. I’m just glad all the waiting is over. If you ask any guy they’ll tell you that’s the toughest part, so it’s really great to be able to be back with the guys and to be able to help out.”
Another face fans can expect to see back in the lineup is Habs backup Peter Budaj, set to make his second start as a Hab against the Predators. Budaj will be looking to follow up a strong performance from his first outing that saw him turn away 29 shots despite ultimately being edged out by the Florida Panthers.
“Right now, we’re looking ahead to Nashville. They’re a great team and we’re going to have to take a look at their videos and their tendencies. It should be a good battle, because they’re a hard working group that never backs down,” pointed out Budaj who’s faced off against Barry Trotz’s squad 11 times in his career, posting a record of six wins and five losses.
“The first few shots are important in every game, but you always have to be ready for anything. We’ll play shorthanded at some point and so will they – you have to be ready for any circumstance,” added Budaj. “It might be a cliché but you really have to take it one shot at a time.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
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