BROSSARD – Yannick Weber has his boarding pass, Carey Price and Max Pacioretty don’t mind a little crease crashing and Randy Cunneyworth lets the Habs heal up.
Next stop Buffalo: After missing the previous road trip to Long Island and Toronto, Yannick Weber will be back on the team charter heading to Buffalo on Thursday afternoon. The 23-year-old blue-liner has been given the green light to return to action on Friday, but he wasn’t about to spill the beans about whether or not he’d be in the lineup at the HSBC Center.
“We’ll see. Come to Buffalo – you’ll see,” joked Weber, who was injured in the Canadiens’ 3-2 shootout win over the Penguins on Feb. 7. “It’s good to be back and be around the guys and have a full practice. With an injury you have to have patience. You have to let it heal and not rush anything. I’m a patient guy; if I’m ready, I’m ready and if I’m not, I’m not.”
Safe house: The Habs and Bruins combined for 12 minor penalties on Wednesday night, four of which were goaltender interference calls. While coaches preach the importance of driving the net hard, the referees would seemingly prefer the players do the opposite. While he’s happy to see the official have his back, 6-foot-2 netminder Carey Price isn’t looking for any added protection in his crease.
“If a guy is trying to make an effort to get out of the way it seems like it’s not called. Sometimes the ref tells me if I’m contacted with he’ll give me five seconds or so to get reset and it wouldn’t be a goal if that was the case,” shared Price, who was surprised to see Louis Leblanc and Daniel Paille receive offsetting goalie interference penalties on the same shift on Wednesday. “The refs are doing the best they can. It is a physical sport and there are a lot of big guys going to the net with a lot of speed. There’s going to be contact. I’m ok with that – I’m a pretty big guy. I can take that.”
Crease crasher: There are a few players in the Habs dressing room who would likely agree with Price’s take on the goalie interference rule, namely Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty. Both power forwards have risen to the top of the team’s point leaderboard thanks to their penchant for driving the net with abandon.
“It’s not confusing it just seems to be one of those calls where there’s not a clear-cut definition to what the call is. They called it both ways last night so you can’t blame the refs,” explained Max Pacioretty, who received the first goaltender interference call of the night against the Bruins. “I know I have to go to the net to be successful so I can’t get away from that. The rest is up to the referees and it’s in their hands. Going to the net is what makes our line successful and our team successful so we just have to keep doing that.”
A little R&R: After seeing his team dish out a combined 27 hits against the Bruins, Randy Cunneyworth was more than happy to let a few of his players use Thursday morning to recover from a hard-fought game. Cole, P.K. Subban, Raphael Diaz, Hal Gill, Josh Gorges and Mathieu Darche all took therapy days before heading to Buffalo, and based on Claude Julien’s post-game admission that his own troops were feeling the effects of the physical affair, it’s safe to assume not every Bruin was feeling 100% on Thursday morning, either.
“[It’s tough] physically and mentally. You saw the excitement of the game. It was a pretty good one as far as the players were concerned and the fans enjoyed it,” explained Cunneyworth. “That’s the type of game we’re trying to play – that exciting game where we’re not giving up for anything. We have to battle hard each and every shift. The one shift you take off might be the difference in the game. I am glad to hear they’re as banged up as our guys are, though. They paid the price last night and you want to make sure guys are rested and ready for the next one.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
Comments: Pacioretty, Price, Eller, Bourque, Weber, Leblanc
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