Blue Line Buddies: Canadiens’ Petry eagerly awaits Edmundson’s return

“I feel like my game hasn’t been where it should be for a long time,” says Petry, who really misses his regular defense partner.

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No one on the Canadiens has missed Joel Edmundson more than Jeff Petry.

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Edmundson and Petry were great as defensive partners last season, feeding off each other’s style of play. Edmundson is more of a stay-at-home defender, while Petry has a more attacking style.

Edmundson has been sidelined with an unknown injury since the start of the season and Petry was a shadow of the defender we saw last season.

Petry has 0-2-2 totals in 21 games with a minus-3 difference. After 21 games last season, Petry had 7-13-20 totals and was plus-11. Petry finished last season with 12-30-42 totals in 55 games and was plus-6, while Edmundson had 3-10-13 totals and was plus-28. Edmundson finished fifth in the NHL in plus/minus.

Edmundson practiced for the first time this season in Buffalo on Thursday with Petry as his partner. Head coach Dominique Ducharme said he is not sure Edmundson will be ready to play against the Sabers on Thursday (19 hours, TSN2, RDS, TSN 690, Radio 98.5 FM) but added that he is getting closer.

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“I’m not sure what his timeline is, whether he’s coming back or not, but he’s a man I love to play next to,” Petry said after training. “I thought we had success last year and worked well together. He’s getting closer with the training and the pairings we had today. I don’t know the exact timeline, but I’m looking forward to having it back.

“We started the year with a lot of injuries and it looks like we’re getting one back, one going down,” added Petry. “So it’s exciting every time to see a man come back from injury and, for me, a man I’ve played with and had success with. So I think it means a little more to me. But as a team, just to get a healthy body back into the lineup, I think it can provide a spark. ”

The Canadiens need one and are in 30th overall NHL standings with a 5-14-2 record, including 1-8-1 on the road. The Sabers have a 7-10-2 record and are 5-5-1 at home.

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Petry had another rough night in Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the Capitals in Washington. Nic Dowd scored Washington’s first goal at 3:34 of the first period after beating Petry badly outwardly and then Petry was in the penalty area for tripping when John Carlson made it 2-0 at 9:43 of the first period.

“I feel like my game hasn’t been anywhere near where it should be,” said Petry. “I’m still trying to regain that confidence and find the game that has brought me success over the years. Play when Eddy comes back, hopefully I can get on the right track. But when he comes back, just knowing that we’ve had that chemistry together and that he’s a guy I love to play with. So hopefully, for everyone’s sake, he’ll be back sooner rather than later.”

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