Another day, another injury for the beleaguered Montreal Canadiens.
Already missing captain Max Pacioretty, star goalie Carey Price, defencemen Shea Weber and Victor Mete for long terms, the team will also be without goaltender Antti Niemi and defenceman David Schlemko.
At a practice the morning before Tuesday night’s game in New Jersey, coach Claude Julien confirmed Niemi would be out with a lower body injury and Schlemko had suffered an upper body injury.
Julien said neither injury was serious. However, goalie Zachary Fucale was recalled on an emergency basis from the AHL’s Laval Rocket on Monday.
Fucale will back up Charlie Lindgren against the Devils.
Also likely out for the game is forward Charles Hudon, who has missed two games since suffering a hand injury against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.
In 12 games since joining the Canadiens in November, 10 of which he started, Niemi has posted a 4-2-3 record with a 2.38 goals-against-average and .931 save percentage. On Saturday, he turned away 48 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Boston Bruins.
Starter Price is still fighting the aftereffects of a concussion he suffered when he took a shot off his helmet on Feb. 20 in Philadelphia. Weber is done for the season with a foot injury while Pacioretty and Mete are also both unlikely to play again this year with a knee injury and broken finger, respectively.
Tuesday’s tilt will mark the first game for defenceman Rinat Valiev, who was obtained in the trade that sent forward Tomas Plekanec to the Toronto Maple Leafs the day before the trade deadline.
Julien praised Valiev’s play this year for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies and said he was eager to see what he could do in Montreal.