Blue Notes

Steve Zipay takes you inside the locker room, home and on the road, with the New York Rangers, and also writes about the NHL, off and on the ice.

'Clean' Chris Kreider defends Carey Price play

Chris Kreider of the Rangers celebrates after scoring

Chris Kreider of the Rangers celebrates after scoring a second-period goal against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals in the Stanley Cup playoffs in Montreal on Saturday, May 17, 2014. (Credit: Getty Images / Bruce Bennett)

In a serious blow, Montreal's No. 1 goalie Carey Price, who injured his knee when Chris Kreider slid into him on a breakaway in the second period of Game 1, is out for the series, the team said.

It appears veteran Peter Budaj will start Monday in Game 2 here in Montreal. Dustin Tokarksi, 24, who played in three games this season, apparently will back up.

With 27 saves, Budaj, 31, blanked the Rangers 2-0 on opening night at MSG on Oct. 28. He was 0-2 in his playoff career, in six games. with a 4.69 GAA and .860 save percentage, and that was before he allowed three third-period goals in relief of Price on Saturday.

Very tough break for Habs, but Kreider was not "reckless" as charged by Habs coach Michel Therrien. Funny, on Sunday Therrien called it "accidental". 

Rangers players reacted predictably: "As a goalie you feel for him, but I have to focus on my own game," Henrik Lundqvist said. Asked if he beleives there will be retailiation by the Canadiens, Lundqvist said: "I hope not. It was an accident."

Perhaps to prepare for some extra-curricular activities, Dan Carcillo took line rushes at the morning skate at Bell Centre on a fourth line with Brian Boyle at center and Derek Dorsett on right wing.

It was unclear, but doubtful, that Derick Brassard would dress. Brassard, who played just two shifts on Saturday afternoon before he was rocked by Mike Weaver's check and may have tweaked his back, did not take line rushes and Dom Moore was back at center between Mats Zuccarello and Benoit Pouliot. Vigneault again called Brassard day-to-day.

Speculation is rampant that the Habs will target Kreider, who again insisted that the contact was unintentional.

"I think I’m a clean player. I don’t go out with the intent to hurt anyone, ever," he said. 

He described his style as: "I try to get to the net and they're going to try to keep me from getting to the net. There's going to be contact."

Asked if he would have done anything different, Kreider responded: "I wish I would've put it in the net."

Vigneault refused be be baited into any war of words.

"It's unfortunate," he said of Price's injury, and called the incident  "a hockey play."

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