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A game of inches

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL – The final score wasn’t what the Habs were hoping for in their home opener, but the performance they got from their goaltender was exactly what they were expecting.

After posting 36 saves in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Carey Price outdid himself in his encore four days later. But while he may have kicked aside 44 of the 48 shots he faced in a 4-3 overtime loss on Wednesday night, the 23-year-old was more focused on the point that got away.

“It’s not about me, it’s about the team. That’s not what we wanted,” offered Price, who earned second star honors for his night’s work. “We took too many penalties and we can’t do that. I thought we had a chance to win the game and we couldn’t take advantage. We just needed to play a little tighter.”

After the game, Hal Gill had a few ideas where the Habs needed to be better against the Lightning, and it wasn’t between the pipes.

"Carey played a great game for us. We weren’t as solid in front of him,” explained the 35-year-old blue-liner. “We didn’t do what we had to do, we didn’t do the little things tonight and we have to be better next time. That’s the type of team that drives the net and shoots from everywhere, so we were expecting that. Carey knew it and he made a lot of big saves from tough angles with a lot of traffic.”

While head coach Jacques Martin was impressed with his young netminder’s performance, he would prefer Price’s future workload not be quite as heavy.

“I thought he gave us a chance to win and made some big saves again,” said the second year Habs bench boss. “But there were too many times where we didn’t get the puck out when we had opportunities to do so and he had to make those big stops.”

Willing to look at the glass as half-full, Maxim Lapierre took a lot of positives out of Wednesday’s game. And the feisty winger is making sure that even though his team lost, they won’t be losing the lesson.

“Carey played great in Pittsburgh and he had another huge performance tonight, too. We know he’s going to keep that up and it’s up to us to be better in front of him,” described the St. Leonard native after notching his first goal of the season. “It’s still early in the year and we have a lot to build on. We’ll work on some things tomorrow and we’ll be ready for the next one.”

Shauna Denis is a writer for

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