Goaltender Cristobal Huet said Tuesday he does not expect to be back in the Habs net before the end of the regular season while centre Steve Begin is out at least 10 days with a broken bone in his right foot. Huet had surgery on Sunday to repair a tear in his left hamstring suffered Feb. 14 in New Jersey. He hopes to be ready for the playoffs.
"We'll see how it goes in rehab," he said. "It's not easy obviously.
"It's a crucial time for our team. I'd like to be out there helping our team but there's nothing I can do about it. Hopefully, we'll be in the playoffs and I can step on the ice then."
Huet said the injury was not as bad as was feared at first because it is low on the hamstring.
"The doctors didn't need to do much, just take fluids away and work on it a bit," he said. "That was good news for me.
"It looked worse on the MRI."
Begin was hit on the foot by a shot during a 3-2 win Sunday in Columbus. He had the swollen foot in a brace and was walking with crutches Tuesday.
The veteran had only returned Feb. 10 after missing 27 games with a back injury.
"It's a tough season," he said. "I was out for nine weeks, back for a few games and now out again for a few more weeks.
"It's a broken bone. They will wait for the swelling to go down and take it from there."
The Canadiens are also missing winger Alex Kovalev (sore elbow) and defenceman Craig Rivet, who is on the mend from pneumonia and will not be back in action before Saturday.
Defenceman Sheldon Souray left the ice early during the Canadiens' skate Tuesday morning, but coach Guy Carbonneau said he simply wanted to keep his scoring leader fresh.
"He's playing 26 or 27 minutes per game, so we just wanted him to get some rest," said Carbonneau.
Heading into Tuesday's game against Washington, the Habs had just two wins in their last 10 games and were tied for ninth in the Eastern Conference.