BROSSARD – After matching a career-high nine consecutive starts, Carey Price
will finally get a night off on Long Island come Friday as Alex Auld steps into the crease for the Habs’ second game against the Islanders in three nights.
|WATCH: Alex Auld Unmasked |
Since coming to Montreal last summer, the 29-year-old goaltender has known his role with the club was going to consist of playing mentor to the young Carey Price
. Now in the Canadiens’ tenth game of the season, Auld will get the chance to share some of the workload and help his team out on the ice.
“I’ve been waiting for this, and I’m really happy to get to play. Whenever you make your first start with a new team it’s always an exciting moment,” said Auld about his debut with the Habs. “I think that maybe a few years ago earlier on in my career I would dwelled more on having waited his long before getting a start, but now I take things day by day, game by game. I focus only on the games that I’m going to play. When you concentrate too much on the games you’re not playing, you’re not really ready to go when your turn comes. So that’s the approach I’ve taken over the past couple of weeks – keep focused and stay sharp.”
Over the course of those weeks, Auld has demonstrated an exemplary work ethic, never shying away from putting in extra hours with Habs goaltending coach, Pierre Groulx.
“I try to keep things simple. It’s hard to reproduce the intensity of a real game in practice, but come game time, it’s easier to raise your level of competition. I’ve been continuing to focus on the little things in practice, the basics that disappear if you don’t keep paying attention to them, so we make sure to work on them every day,” explained Auld who played three times games with Montreal during the preseason.
Having watched Auld in practice over the course of the past weeks, head-coach Jacques Martin is confident that the eight year veteran of the NHL will be ready to face whatever action comes his way on Friday night.
“I think Auld will be ready to play. He works very hard with our goaltending coach and puts a lot of effort into every practice. He also has a lot of experience with this kind of scenario and schedule. We want him to play well, and believe that he will, but we also need his teammates to play well in front of him too,” said Martin who has some history with Auld from their days with the Florida Panthers.
“There’s obviously a different dynamic between our goaltenders now. This year is different and Alex understands his role and how we’d like him to contribute. He’s here to help Carey and they’ve been developing a good relationship so far.”
“Only a goaltender can really understand another goaltender we’re the only two out there that see what the other sees on the ice,” said Auld of the dynamic between he and Price. “Jacques doesn’t really need to go over much with me. He knows I understand my role and what I have to do to help my team.” Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.SEE ALSOTeam victory for HabsDepth perception Alex Auld UnmaskedCanadiens Hockey Fantasy