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Markov, Schneider out, Tanguay possible as Habs look to avoid sweep @NHLdotcom

MONTREAL - The Montreal Canadiens won't have top defenceman Andrei Markov in the lineup when they battle for their playoff lives Wednesday night.

Coach and general manager Bob Gainey said Markov, who has a knee injury, and Mathieu Schneider, who has a suspected shoulder ailment, won't suit up for Game 4 of their Eastern Conference playoff series against the Boston Bruins. Schneider tried skating Wednesday morning, but left after 10 minutes.

Boston leads the series 3-0.

Markov missed the final four regular-season games and the first three games of the playoffs. He resumed skating recently along with centre Robert Lang, who has been out since early February with a severed Achilles tendon. Neither is ready to play.

Gainey said a decision would be made just before game time as to whether winger Alex Tanguay would dress. Tanguay missed Game 3 with an upper body injury and did not take part in the skate Wednesday morning.

Defencemen Patrice Brisebois (lower body) and Francis Bouillon (torn groin) are also out. Bouillon tried to return in Game 2 in Boston, but left after only four shifts.

That raised suspicion the Canadiens rushed him back from his injury.

"I think an incident like that does make everybody stop and think about the safety of the players, but my own view of when players play and when they don't is don't wait one day after they're ready and they don't start one day before they're ready," said Gainey. "In Francis's case, we had the information from him and from the doctor that he felt ready to compete."

Gainey said Carey Price would start a fourth straight game in goal. Price has struggled in the series, but backup Jaroslav Halak has played only one period - the third period of a 5-1 loss in Game 2.

Bruins winger Milan Lucic will return from a one-game suspension for cross-checking Maxim Lapierre. But coach Claude Julien said he has yet to decide who will come out of the lineup to make room for him. Rookie Byron Bitz played in Lucic's place in Game 3 and earned an assist in Boston's 4-2 victory.

"I'm not trying to hide anything," Julien said. "I'm just allowing myself today to really look at my lineup.

"Milan will be in the lineup, let's not get me wrong. But as far as where he is going to be put in, I'm going to bounce a few things around."

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