RALEIGH – Carey Price knows practice makes perfect, so the Habs netminder took advantage of his Wednesday in Raleigh to do just that.
Every NHL season has its peaks and valleys and it’s up to players to ride out them out as best they can. After riding a high note for the vast majority of the 2012-13 season to date, Price has recently endured a couple of tough games, allowing an uncharacteristic 12 goals in his last two starts against the Penguins and the Islanders.
Known for his tremendous work ethic, Price was back on the ice Wednesday morning in Raleigh to sharpen his game with the goal of coming back stronger than ever in his next start.
"Those certainly weren’t my two best games, but at the same time I have to be able to put that behind me and concentrate on getting more competitive. Bounces haven’t been going my way and I let a few pucks through me, which I don't normally like to do. But that's why I came out here - to work on a few things," shared Price, one of six Habs, along with Petteri Nokelainen, Alex Galchenyuk, Gabriel Dumont, Tomas Kaberle, Yannick Weber and Peter Budaj, who took to the ice at the Hurricane’s practice facility for the optional skate.
After nearly an hour of facing breakaways and turning aside shots from his teammates, Price took a moment to sign some autographs for fans and speak with the media regarding Tuesday night’s game against the Islanders in Uniondale.
"I wanted to come back with a strong performance. Things didn’t work out again, but that's just the way it goes sometimes. Today was a day to refocus and just get prepared for the next game,” expressed Price who despite the team’s last two losses, remains tied for first in wins among NHL goalies with 11, thanks to his stellar start to the campaign. "I feel good, I feel strong, and I need to concentrate on battling through adversities in a game and not let one or two goals get me down."
Even though the Habs may have left Long Island without the two points they went in for, the team still occupies first place in the Eastern Conference, two points above the Pittsburgh Penguins and one over the Boston Bruins, who lost in overtime after allowing four unanswered goals by the Capitals to lose 4-3 on Tuesday night.
For Price and the rest of the Canadiens, it’s the points they pick up in the standings that are important and for that reason, the team’s number one goaltender has been happy to see backup, Peter Budaj, log wins in his last three starts.
"We have a strong goalie in Buds. He gives us an opportunity to win. I feel like the coach has trust in both of us to do the job and we came out with the win in Boston," said the 25-year-old netminder. “I know I still have the support of my teammates and we're still finding ways to win games, so that's definitely something to be happy about."
Michel Therrien may wait to make his decision on Thursday night’s starting goalie until the morning of the game, but there’s no doubt that Price will be more than ready to step between the pipes should the call come his way.
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com
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