Price, Gallagher expected healthy for start of playoffs with Canadiens

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Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher are among the injured Montreal Canadiens players who are expected to be healthy for the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“We’re confident that all will be there, the guys are progressing,” Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme said Monday. 

Price, a goalie, and Gallagher, a forward, will not play the final two games of the regular season. The Canadiens (24-21-9) enter their home game against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, TSN2, RDS, SNW, NHL.TV) needing one point to clinch the fourth and final playoff berth in the Scotia North Division. Montreal is fourth in the seven-team division, eight points ahead of the fifth-place Calgary Flames, and concludes its season against Edmonton at home Wednesday.

The start date for the playoffs has not been announced.

Price skated with Canadiens extras Monday and will miss his 12th game since he sustained a concussion in Edmonton on April 19. He missed six games from April 7-16 with a lower-body injury, played a full game April 17 and came out after one period two days later. He’s 12-7-5 with a 2.64 goals-against average, .901 save percentage and one shutout in 25 games this season.

Ducharme said he has not thought about how Price will be used during the playoffs. 

“We’ll see when we get there,” he said. “Our focus is not on that right now, Carey’s working. ‘Burkie’ (director of goaltending Sean Burke) is working with Jake (Allen) and Cayden (Primeau). We’ll prepare our guys the best we can, the guys that are available. Once we get there, we’ll consider every situation, every aspect of it and make decisions.”

Gallagher skated and took shots Monday. He has not played since breaking his right thumb when it was struck by a shot taken by Montreal defenseman Alexander Romanov on April 5. His 14 goals are third on the Canadiens behind Tyler Toffoli (28) and Josh Anderson (17).

“They’re on their way back but it’s too (soon) for Wednesday,” Ducharme said.

Defenseman Shea Weber (upper body) skated before his teammates and will miss his seventh straight game. Center Phillip Danault continues to make progress from a concussion sustained May 6 and should be skating soon. 

Forward Paul Byron will return Monday after missing nine games with a lower-body injury. 

“It’s very exciting whenever you get guys back from injuries,” Anderson said. “Just to see [Gallagher] out there shooting the puck and skating with the team, it’s just very exciting. It’s the same with [Byron] being back tonight. We missed him a lot. His speed, his penalty killing, his grit, he’s a hard player. We’re lucky to have those guys back. Carey’s also doing some work and should be ready pretty soon, so we’re all looking good.”

Ducharme said there has been no thought about the return of Jonathan Drouin. The forward has been on a leave of absence for personal reasons since April 28.

“We’re not into that,” Ducharme said. “That’s not an issue right now, so we’re not planning anything on that side.”

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