Evans and Petry could return to Habs lineup for semifinal series

Forward Jake Evans and defenceman Jeff Petry could make returns to the lineup during the Montreal Canadiens' Stanley Cup semifinal series against the Vegas Golden Knights or Colorado Avalanche.

The Habs were back at work on Wednesday, two days after sweeping the Winnipeg Jets in the Northern Division Final with a 3-2 overtime victory.

The team was practicing off-ice and had meetings scheduled.

In a video conference, interim head coach Dominique Ducharme said Evans returned to the gym on Tuesday. Evans suffered a concussion when he took a hard check from Mark Scheifele in Game 1 of the series against the Jets on June 2. The Jets forward was suspended for four games for his actions.

"(Evans) is progressing well. Is he going to play in the next series? Today I think it's possible. When will he play? It's still too hard to say. It is possible. But with an injury like this, the most important thing is that Jake is 100 per cent," said Ducharme.

Petry appeared to injure his right hand when he jammed his finger in the photographers' opening in the glass window in Game 3 of the series against the Jets on Sunday. Petry missed the next game.

"I think he'll be back early in the series, but I can't say if it'll be for Game 1, 2 or 3," Ducharme said. "He needs a few more days, but he's not far from a return."

The Habs have begun preparations for their first Stanley Cup semifinal since 2014, though they're still waiting to find out who their opponent will be. The Golden Knights defeated the Avalanche 3-2 in overtime Tuesday night to take a 3-2 lead in the series. They will have the opportunity to eliminate the Avalanche on Thursday in Las Vegas.

The Habs have won seven straight games since falling behind 3-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs. Ducharme's team has never trailed in those games, a streak of 437 minutes and 53 seconds. It was the second-longest such streak in NHL history.

- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on June 9, 2021.

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