So you're saying there's a chance...

Posted By: Chantal Desjardins · 3/12/2012 4:11:00 PM

The Canadiens were on the ice this morning for a pre-game skate in Buffalo.

Backup goaltender Peter Budaj will get the start tonight as the Habs wrap up their four game road trip against the Sabres.

It's still uncertain as to whether centre David Desharnais will lace up tonight. The team points leader has been been out of the lineup after suffering a lower body injury in Edmonton.

“We’ll see how he’s feeling tonight,” said coach Randy Cunnyworth after practice. “Obviously he had to take a night off and get some treatment and that. But he’s a pretty durable guy and a guy that will be able to play if he’s able to play, so we’ll take it as a game time decision.”

Coach says he liked what he saw in Saturday’s win over Vancouver, and told hockeyinsideout.com that he wants it to continue before the team comes back home.

“A lot of good things.  I think our physicality was apparent. They pushed we pushed back. Obviously you want that element in the game but the desperation, the play in which we were driving to the net and obviously the special teams also. It’s very difficult to win if you don’t have all aspects of the game going in your favour. It’s a good group effort.”

The chances that the Habs will make the post season are oh-so-slim (they’d pretty well have to win all 13 games left in the season and everyone else would have to nap their way through the last stretch). 

And it might be too little too late, but things are suddenly turning around for the under-performing bleu blanc et rouge, capped off by the triumphant return of Andrei Markov this weekend.  And a heck of a return at that, with the vet playing more than 17 minutes in Vancouver, in his first game back since November 13th, 2010.

Even though coach had said he was going to ease Markov back into it, only PK Subban and Josh Gorges saw more ice time on defence. Even Gorges was surprised at the lack of rust.


“Knowing what it was like for me to come back, and that was just exhibition, there was a lot of rust in my game, timing was off and conditioning  and all that sort of stuff. So I was thinking after almost two years with him I figured there was going to be some rust and some missed plays . But I mean he looked pretty good. He was smooth, he was on target with his decision making. He looked good, he looked really good.”

And with the return of a leader, comes a whole new set of possibilities for Habs fans who have been so far off the band wagon they don't even know where it went. But now...

13 games, including some very tough road matchups in Philadelphia, New York, Washington and Carolina. Not likely...but suddenly, not impossible. 

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