The Montreal Canadiens infirmary added a pair of players after Saturday’s game vs. Buffalo.
First the team lost blueliner Ryan O’Byrne for up to six weeks with a knee sprain. The Canadiens then lost center Glen Metropolit with an upper body injury.
Metropolit is to be reevaluated in Calgary, and may have a rib injury.
The injury became apparent with his five straight losses in the faceoff circle in the first period of Saturday’s game.
The pair join Andrei Markov, who is out for four months with a lacerated tendon.
The Canadiens made one expected roster move Sunday by calling up defenceman Yannick Weber from Hamilton.
Coach Jacques Martin maintained after the loss of Markov, that the remaining defenders would have to work as a unit or step up in the all-star’s absence.
After O’Byrne’s injury, the remaining five players continued to do just that. With the exception of Hal Gill (19:40) the Canadiens defensive core all played over 20 minutes.
With Weber’s arrival Tuesday, that will add some puck moving skill, and a solid point shot that was lost with Markov going down.
If the team can continue to keep the opponents shooting outside the box, that should keep Carey Price happy. Price said Saturday that the high shot totals don’t bother him provided he has good vision. The Habs goalie praised the work done Saturday to do just that.
Depending on the seriousness of Metropolit’s injury, it may now fall on Kyle Chipchura to show that he is the prospect that people have been told he is.
Recovered from shoulder surgery ,many feel that this will be a make-or-break season for the young forward in the Canadiens organization.
When I interviewed Habs’ assistant coach Kirk Muller over the summer, he even acknowledged that this should be Chipchura’s year.
It will be a true test on the remaining three games of this road swing, for the Canadiens, to see how the team handles these injuries.
Two of the three opponents (Calgary and Vancouver) are expected to be top contenders in the Western Conference and should give a better idea of how the team can perform over the coming weeks.