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No stress

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

BROSSARD – The fact that Carey Price left town to have his lower-body injury evaluated on Monday certainly didn’t raise any alarms among his teammates.

Confident that their All-World netminder is simply taking the necessary steps to ensure he’ll be back between the pipes in short order, Michel Therrien’s troops weren’t about to press the proverbial panic button after learning that No. 31 was seeking further medical advice elsewhere.

“I’ve seen Pricey. I know he’s a tough guy. All we know right now is that he’s just being evaluated. That’s it. That doesn’t say much about the situation. I think we’ve all been evaluated. I mean, I’ve been evaluated more than my fair share of times. It doesn’t really mean that he’s going to miss more time or whatever. We just don’t know,” offered P.K.Subban, who has been Price’s teammate in Montreal since making his NHL debut back in 2009-10. “For him, we just hope that he gets the things done that he needs to and he’s back soon. That’s it.”

For his part, Brendan Gallagher said the decision to send Price abroad for medical attention didn’t necessarily come as a surprise.

“It’s pretty standard. It happens more often than you hear about. It was important for him to just go get checked out and understand what’s going on. He’s working hard to get back in the lineup. He’s doing his best to come back and be Carey Price, the same way he was before,” shared Gallagher, who has six goals, 14 points and a plus-10 differential in 16 games during the 2015-16 campaign. “For us, it’s just important to keep playing the same way and hold down the fort until we can get him back in the lineup.”

The Canadiens have done far more than just “hold down the fort” since it was announced that Price would be sidelined for at least one week on November 1, picking up seven out of a possible eight points on their most recent homestand with Mike Condon in goal every single time. The Massachusetts native has been so dominant in relief of Price that he was even named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week on Monday after posting a 2-0-1 record, a 1.66 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage in his last three outings.

“He’s a stud. He’s worked extremely hard, and everything that’s come to him he deserves. You see him out there, he’s one of the first guys out there every day. It’s always like that. It’s been like that since training camp. He’s been our best player for a while here,” praised Subban, referencing the Princeton University grad’s sparkling 6-0-1 overall record, 1.57 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in the first seven outings of his NHL career. “He’s pretty level-headed, so I think that helps him a lot in the net. When you couple that with tremendous athleticism, good positioning and a good work ethic, you’ve got a pretty good goaltender. He’s doing all the right things. He’s always coming to the rink with the right mindset and the right attitude. As long as he keeps doing that, he’ll be fine.”

It’s safe to say Condon has steadily earned the respect of his teammates in Montreal, all of whom can’t seem to say enough about the way he’s gone about his business after being thrust into the starter’s role just a short time ago.

“Mike’s stepped in and done the job. I think when you look at the situation he was in, it’s not an easy one. Carey’s not an easy guy to replace. He’s just been himself. He’s played big. He made some big saves at crucial points in games. He’s stepped up at a time when we really needed him,” confided Gallagher, whose squad will be back in action on Wednesday night at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh. “At times in games, when he’s needed to step up and make a big save on a crucial scoring chance, he’s been there for us. That’s huge. You can’t understand how much that means. Making saves on those scoring opportunities can change the course of a game.”

An update on Price’s condition is expected to be made after practice on Tuesday, but no matter the news the Canadiens will undoubtedly be looking to stick to the same formula that has helped their netminders pace them to a league-leading 13 wins through 16 games so far this season.

“Whether it’s Condon, whether it’s Ticker or whether it’s Pricey, we know what to expect from our goaltenders when they’re out there. The number one thing is you don’t want to be giving up quality shots. We want to keep shots to the outside and allow these guys to do what they do best,” concluded Subban. “Every now and then, what makes them exceptional is they can make that second or third save if they have to. Right now, we’re getting that from our goaltenders.”

Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.

SEE ALSO
Words From The Room - November 9
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Weekly overview 
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