After suffering a lower-body injury in Game 1, Carey Price was ruled out for the remainder of the Eastern Conference Final. Though goaltending hasn't been the overriding factor, the Habs now face elimination Tuesday night in Game 5 against the Rangers. If there is any glimmer of hope left with the Canadiens trailing the Rangers 3-1 in the series, it's that Price may at least be nearing his return.
The Habs' No. 1 goalie practiced in full pads for the first time, taking shots before the rest of the team hit the ice for morning skate Tueya. Though Price is inching back to health, the net will still belong to Dustin Tokarski in Game 5 according to Ren Lavoie of TVA Sports.
Carey Price, in full gear, an hour before the team is scheduled to be on the ice. pic.twitter.com/dbxvvsI8q8— SeanFitz_Gerald (@SeanFitz_Gerald) May 27, 2014
With Price getting back on the ice, wearing pads and taking some shots, maybe that gives the rest of the team a little boost to try and extend the series. If Price were able to make a return quicker than previously thought possible, maybe that's enough to help Montreal climb back into the series. They really need anything at this point while facing elimination.
More than likely, however, with or without Price, the Habs have their hands full with the Rangers. Tokarski hasn't been the problem really. Montreal has had trouble matching New York's depth and holding their speed game at bay for much of the series.
Knowing that Price is doing everything he can to get back, the rest of the Canadiens may owe it to their starting goaltender, who had a large hand in getting the team to this point of the playoffs, to try to extend the series.
Montreal has the benefit of playing at home in Game 5 against a Rangers club that is slightly shorthanded due to injury or suspension. They've gotten enough out of Tokarski to give them a chance in the three games he has started, so it's reasonable to expect the same Tuesday. Now it's up to the rest of the lineup to make it count.
If seeing Price on the ice offers any boost at all, the Canadiens will have to show it Tuesday night. Otherwise, they definitely won't see their starter back in action until next fall.