TORONTO -- Carey Price's 259th career win was a long time coming -- more than two decades long, to be precise.
On Saturday, the All-Star netminder hit the milestone to surpass Ken Dryden for third-most wins in Canadiens history, but it turns out the wheels may have actually been set in motion 21 years earlier.
"Ken was the first Hab I ever met," revealed Price, who made 32 saves in a 3-2 overtime win in Toronto. "I met him in Williams Lake, BC when I was about eight-years-old, and got his autograph on a piece of paper that I still have today."
In addition to that bit of Habs memorabilia, the now 29-year-old also hung onto some words of wisdom he received during another encounter with the Canadiens goaltending legend, later on in life.
"I was going through a tough time when I was about 21, but [Ken] called me and we had a good talk," recalled Price, who was already playing in Montreal at the time. "I have a lot of respect for Ken -- for what he's done in the NHL, and what he's done afterwards. He's a very special human being."
Video: MTL@TOR: Price makes a pair of stops on Matthews
Added the Anahim Lake, BC native, on the magnitude of the advice he received:
"I was young, trying to figure out my game and who I was as a person. Having somebody like him call was a big life-changer, for sure."
COMING UP CLUTCH
Rearranging the franchise record books hasn't proved to be easy. On Tuesday, the Habs went all the way to a shootout to help Price notch win No. 258, and on Friday, it was Andrew Shaw's turn to lend a helping hand, potting the overtime winner 1:06 into the extra frame.
"That's the type of player he is, he seems to come up with the big ones," dished Price on Shaw, who also led the team in hits with four. "He's done it in Chicago throughout his career, and [tonight] was a big one for us. I'm really happy for him, because he's worked really hard for it."
But Shaw insists Price worked even harder.
"I think Carey deserves full credit for his 259th win, not me. He's the one who battled, and made the big-time saves, so it's all on him. He deserved that win," stressed the 25-year-old forward, who notably scored moments after Price stopped a streaking Austin Matthews on the breakaway. "He made some huge saves on the penalty kill, and his 5-on-5 play was outstanding. He's like a third defenseman out there, he moves the puck so well. He was our best player tonight."
Still, even for the humblest of Habs, there's nothing quite like being the difference maker in OT.
"It does feel great," admitted Shaw, who now has nine goals and 13 assists to his credit with the Canadiens. "It's that time of year when we need to start bearing down and getting ready for these kinds of tight games. The team played great, and getting the two points was a step in the right direction."
Video: MTL@TOR: Shaw shows off hands to flip home OT winner
The next step will be stringing together consecutive Ws, something the club hasn't managed since the first three games of the new year.
Finding that consistency as of Monday in New Jersey will be key if Montreal hopes to keep its lead atop the Atlantic Division playoff race. The Habs are four points up on Ottawa, and five points up on Toronto, but both Ontario sides hold games in hand.
"It's my favorite time of year. Not many games left until the playoffs, and it's that last push," concluded Shaw. "It's that time of year we all grew up watching and wanting to be a part of. It should be a fun ride."