Injured Jake Evans travelling with Canadiens to Vegas ahead of series opener

Canada

The Montreal Canadiens could be on the cusp of getting some key pieces back in the lineup as they prepare for their toughest challenge yet — the Vegas Golden Knights.

Interim head coach Dominque Ducharme said Saturday defencemen Jeff Petry (hand), Jon Merrill (lower-body injury), and forward Jake Evans (concussion) are travelling with the team to Vegas for the start of the Stanley Cup semifinals.

When, exactly, the trio could return remains unclear. Ducharme said Friday he was “not very confident” that they would dress for Game 1 on Monday (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 9 p.m. ET).

Evans has been out of the lineup since June 2 when he was levelled by Winnipeg Jets centre Mark Scheifele in the final moments of Montreal’s 5-3 win in the second-round series opener.

WATCH | Graphic Warning: Evans leaves game on stretcher:

Montreal forward Jake Evans is taken off the ice on a stretcher after a dangerous hit by Winnipeg forward Mark Scheifele who is given a major charging penalty and a game misconduct. 7:17

The crushing blow left Evans with a concussion and the NHL’s department of player safety handed Scheifele a four-game suspension.

The Habs swept the Jets in four games to set up their semifinal matchup with the Golden Knights. Vegas advanced after downing the Colorado Avalanche in a fast-paced six-game series.

Evans is working through the process of getting back to game shape, working out in the gym and skating on Friday and Saturday, Ducharme said.

“He’s got a couple more steps to go but he’s heading in the right direction,” he said.

WATCH | Canadiens continue improbable playoff run:

Rob Pizzo breaks down the team’s shocking run to the final four. 4:59

The Canadiens believe Evans could make his return in three or four days, but are being cautious, the coach added.

“With that kind of injury, you never know, there could be setbacks at any time. We’re not taking anything for granted. The most important thing is for him to be 100 per cent.”

Evans has one goal in four playoff games this season. The 25-year-old from Toronto put up 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 47 regular-season games this year.

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