Canadiens coach Michel Therrien and general manager Marc Bergevin each demonstrated his confidence in backup goaltender Peter Budaj on Wednesday. Shortly after Therrien announced Budaj would start against the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night, the Canadiens announced that the 30-year-old Budaj has signed a two-year contract extension. While terms of the deal were not announced, Budaj will receive $2.8 million over two seasons, a bump from his $1.2-million salary this season. Budaj goes into the Buffalo game with a six-game winning streak. He has a 6-1-1 record and his appearance in Buffalo will mark the first time this season he has started a game that isn’t part of a back-to-back series. The right set of circumstances could allow the Canadiens to wrap up a playoff spot with a win Thursday, but it won’t be easy because the Sabres are battling to stay alive in the playoff race and have won three of their four previous meetings against Montreal this season. Therrien did a bit of juggling with his lineup Wednesday and said he was seeking to create some balance. “It’s not a question of the (four lines) being capable to score, it’s their responsibility to score,” said Therrien, who added his responsibility is to recognize which lines are contributing the most on any given night. The line he didn’t touch is the Max Pacioretty-David Desharnais-Brendan Gallagher trio. The three are among 10 Canadien players who have 20 or more points this season, but Therrien admitted Wednesday that he’s looking for more production from the line, which has produced only five goals over the past 10 games. Therrien said he was happy with Pacioretty’s play against Washington when the forward had five shots on goal, while another seven were blocked.
Budaj gets start, and a two-year contract extension
Montreal Gazette | Apr 10