MONTREAL – It may not have been the storybook home-ice debut he was hoping for, but Carey Price
still made quite the first impression on the Bell Centre crowd.
Price’s 31 saves - including 13 in the first period alone - got the crowd fired up while not going unnoticed by his teammates.
“Carey stole us a point here tonight,” admitted Christopher Higgins, who tied the game late in the third to force overtime. “I think his performance here tonight was the game’s only positive for us. It’s a real shame we couldn’t muster a better effort for him in his Bell Centre debut.”
Kept busy by the Thrashers to say the least, Price is never averse to eating his share of rubber.
“I saw plenty of shots early, but I’m a goalie who likes to get tested from the start,” said Price. “The crowd was as expected—passionate and loud as always. Getting some preseason games at home under my belt really helped me, too. I was actually more excited than nervous.
“There are some good things to take from this game. We managed to get a point and still ended up with over 30 shots despite our slow start,” added Price. “I felt pretty good tonight but that doesn’t mean much without getting the win.”
It was Price’s second straight shootout experience, with the rookie goalie stopping all eight shooters he faced Saturday in Pittsburgh. When asked what the biggest difference was this time around, Price still had a sense of humor about it.
“Well, the Thrashers hit the net for starters,” smirked Price, who watched a handful of Penguins shoot wide on their tries unlike the Thrashers. “They made some nice moves, especially Bryan Little.”
Price and Little know each other all too well having won gold with Team Canada together at last year’s World Junior Hockey Championship in Sweden. That experience obviously served Price’s former teammate well during the shootout.
“We practiced shootouts all the time at practice and from what I remember, Bryan always took a shot,” recalled Price. “But more kudos to Bryan for deciding to deke me instead, it obviously worked.”
Behind the strength of his 31-save night, Price earned the game’s No. 1 star and passed Tomas Plekanec
to claim the October segment of the Molson Cup. In doing so at the age of 20 years and two-months, Price became the youngest player to ever win a slice of the Molson Cup. The previous mark belonged to Jose Theodore, who earned the honor in February 1997 at 20 years and five months.Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com