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Habs will struggle without Andrei Markov

Image (1) Markov-thumb-200x300-10647.jpg for post 1351

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens
2:00 p.m. EDT, 2 May, 2010
Live on NBC

Don’t forget, we’ll have a live chat during the game on Pro Hockey Talk at 1:45 p.m. EDT.

While the Pittsburgh Penguins are dealing with an injury of their own, the Canadiens are going to have to try to find some way to replace one of their top defensemen. After taking out the Capitals in seven games, trying to do the same with the Penguins without Andrei Markov is going to be near impossible.

After a big, clean hit by Matt Cooke that sent Markov awkwardly into the boards, the defensemen has been sent back to Montreal for further testing and evaluating and there’s no word on just how long he may be out.

For the Canadiens, a team that relied on stellar defense, goaltending and timely power play goals, the loss of Markov could prove devastating. After his injury in the first period of Game 1, it was painfully obvious how disjointed the Habs’ defensive group became.

While the defense certainly paid a painful price for not being able to makeup for the loss of Markov, it was on the power play that his absence was felt the most.

The Canadiens had a couple of chances to get back in the game on Friday while on the power play, but without Markov running the point the Habs threatened to give the Nashville Predators a run for their money for the most hapless special teams unit of the playoffs.

The Penguins will struggle to find ways to replace Staal, but I doubt the Canadiens will be able to find a way to pick up for Markov on the blueline.