The Warmup - The Crease Question
Peter Budaj has played well his last four starts, and in a shortened season for a playoff team, having a capable backup can be huge. But just how much should the Canadiens use the Slovakian backup in the team's remaining 22 games?
It's been a wild ride for Peter Budaj since coming into the NHL. The 30 year old from Slovakia backed up David Aebischer and Jose Theodore - two former Habs - in Colorado before splitting duties with the former and Andrew Raycroft on some pretty horrendous Avalanche teams.
Now in his second year with the Canadiens after been signed as a free agent by Pierre Gauthier as an upgrade over Alex Auld, Budaj has settled into his role well. Despite some troubles early this year, he seems to have become a decent backup option for Michel Therrien.
In 2013, Budaj sports a 4-1-1 record with a .903 save percentage and 2.47 goals against average. Considering Price is only posting a .910/2.37 so far - albeit against tougher competition, Bruins aside - those numbers are quite impressive. Budaj also had a .913 all of last year, so he's clearly a capable backup option.
The Canadiens have 22 games remaining, including two sets of back to backs and one case of three games in four nights. Considering this is likely to be a playoff team, and Therrien will want Price at his freshest come round one, how much should Peter Budaj play from here until the April 27th finale?
How many games should Peter Budaj start between now and the end of the year (out of 22)?