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Sports In the Habs Room: No miracle from Saint Price, but St. Louis likes what he brings to team

02:30  17 april  2022
02:30  17 april  2022 Source:   montrealgazette.com

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Apr 15, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) puts his mask on before the game against the New York Islanders at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports © Provided by The Gazette Apr 15, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) puts his mask on before the game against the New York Islanders at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

There was no miracle transformation for the Canadiens as goaltender Carey Price ended more than nine months of inactivity, but head coach Martin St. Louis was pleased with what he saw from his team in Friday’s 3-0 loss to the New York Islanders.

“I think it was our best game in maybe a month in terms of three periods,” St. Louis said. “We’ve had a good period here and there, but we were really good from start to finish. I think we had 89 shot attempts to 39 (for them) … Is it because of Carey? I think it had something to do with it.

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“Us finding our way through a long season, having some challenges, it’s hard,” St. Louis said. “We didn’t always have the same lineup and it’s hard to find some continuity, but tonight we looked as good as we have since I’ve been here.”

You could feel the energy in the building from the pregame skate on and it had its effect on the players who dominated the play. The Canadiens outshot the Islanders 44-22, but couldn’t beat Ilya Sorokin, who collected his seventh shutout. He received some help from his teammates who blocked 30 shots.

“Are we a different team when we have Carey Price for a season, absolutely,” St. Louis said. “We still need to play the game in front of him, but any success we have, Carey would be a big part of that.”

St. Louis said having a healthy Price in the dressing room has a positive effect.

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“I know his calmness, his preparation, his work ethic,” the coach said. “Carey doesn’t have to speak to lead and I feel that.

“Carey has been the heart and soul of this team for a long time,” St. Louis added. “He is the reason the team has made long runs in the playoffs. When you look at a good team, you often find a great goalkeeper.”

Price stopped 17 of 19 shots and didn’t have any chance on the first Islander goal, which Zach Parise scored on a 3-on-0 rush. And it took a perfect shot by Noah Dobson on the Islanders’ second goal.

Price received several ovations from the crowd and said he felt wanted.

“I missed hockey a lot,” Price said. “When you’re on the sidelines, you’re part of the team, but you don’t feel as invested. It’s not easy when you’re not part of the solution. I was looking forward to reconnecting with everything that goes with the game — being able to sit there in your stall before the game and have a few laughs, the preparation and the focus, and the competitive nature of the game. Everything that goes along with it — the buzz of the crowd, making a save, hearing the chants.

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He noted there were some special fans in attendance. During the second period, he was able to look over and see his wife, Angela, and their three young children sitting in rink-side seats provided by minority owner Michael Andlauer. It was a first for his son Lincoln, who had trouble understanding it was Dad under those pads and mask.

Price was coming back from arthroscopic surgery last summer to repair a torn meniscus and he explained why the recovery period was longer than normal.

“After the operation, the timeline was set and it was a couple of months, but I thought it might take a little longer, given the position I play,” said Price, who will turn 35 in August. “Typically, when the operation is done on other athletes, they don’t require movements like a goaltender does. Every setback I had along the way was caused by the movements I had to do. I’d have inflammation in my knee and that would limit my movement and not allow me to play at a level I thought was going to be acceptable.

“It wasn’t anyone’s fault, it was just the way my body reacted to the surgery,” Price added. “There was a little bit of cartilage stuff, but it’s not something unusual, and it took a little bit longer to recover due to my position and my age.”

phickey@postmedia.com

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About Last Night: Farewell, Mike Bossy. Welcome back, Carey Price .
It was an emotional Friday night at the Bell Centre well beyond the scoreboard, which read 3-0 for the New York Islanders over the Montreal Canadiens, if you were wondering. Earlier in the day, Hall of Famer and Montreal native Mike Bossy passed away at the age of 65 . Coincidentally, or perhaps prophetically enough, his Islanders were in town to face the Montreal Canadiens. Starting in goal for the Habs for the first time this season was Carey Price . Price last suited up in the Stanley Cup finals, and his road back involved setbacks from offseason knee surgery and time away in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.

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