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Canadiens' hope buoyed by Carey Price's showing

Goalie has played well for Team Canada after missing most of '15-16 season with knee injury

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

LAVAL-SUR-LE-LAC, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens were just fine with Carey Price missing their golf tournament Tuesday.

In fact, the reason for Price's absence is a huge relief for the Canadiens, and one that has them very hopeful that this season will have a much more positive outcome than the previous one.

While most of his Montreal teammates were getting ready to play 18 holes of golf, Price was preparing to play his second World Cup of Hockey 2016 game for Team Canada in Toronto after missing most of last season because of a right-knee injury.

Price, who also played two of Team Canada's three pretournament games, made 27 saves in a 6-0 win against Team Czech Republic on Saturdayand made 29 saves Tuesday in a 4-2 win over Team USA.  

"There's nobody happier than us seeing him playing so well," Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk said.

After winning the Hart and Vezina trophies in 2014-15, Price picked up where he left off, helping Montreal to one of its best starts ever. He won 10 of his 12 starts, maintaining a 2.06 goals-against-average and .934 save percentage, but was unable to return after sustaining a sprained medial collateral ligament on Nov. 25.

"It's the same Carey we've seen here for years," Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher said. "He's so calm and poised in the net, and you just see the confidence guys have playing in front of him. He seems to make it look so easy, so it's definitely a good thing to see."

Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry, who said he was fully recovered from March 9 sports-hernia surgery, had a firsthand view of Price's dedication to getting back on the ice as soon as he possibly could.

"I mean, every day last year during the injury, he was in the gym wanting to come back and doing everything he could to come back," Petry said. "So I don't see him being the guy that went home and just kind of let himself relax or anything. I think he worked hard to get to where he is and it's no surprise that he's back and performing the way he is."

Video: Petry gives an update on his health

The World Cup also has provided an advance opportunity for Montreal to become acquainted with Price's Team Canada teammate, defenseman Shea Weber, who was acquired by the Canadiens in the June 29 trade that sent P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators.

Petry said he was in California when news of the trade "just kind of popped up on my phone."

"It was a bit of a surprise, but I think with Weber coming in, I think he's really going to help our team," Petry said. "He's a big guy that plays a hard, physical game, and I think he's going to bring us closer as a team."

Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty is playing for Team USA at the World Cup, center Tomas Plekanec is Team Czech Republic's captain, and defensemen Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin are competing with Team Russia.

Team Russia did not select forward Alexander Radulov, who signed a one-year contract reportedly worth $5.75 million with Montreal on July 1.

Radulov, who has not played in the NHL since 2011-12, scored 23 goals and had 65 points in 53 games with CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League.

"He's got a great personality," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "He brings life in the dressing room, life in the game. He hates to lose, and he could do a lot of things. I've got a really good feeling with him."

Video: Therrien talks about the season to come

Gallagher is excited about the addition of forward Andrew Shaw, who was acquired in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks.

"I think we're going to have some fun this year," Gallagher said. "I think he's going to be a very useful player for us. You can move him up and down the lineup, different positions, and he's going to play that hard style of hockey that I think we were missing a little bit. And when we were bringing him in, you can just see the attitude that he has, he's excited to be there, he's excited to share whatever he learned in Chicago that made that team successful, and we're definitely going to use him as much as we can."

The Canadiens report for medicals and physical testing at their practice facility in Brossard, Quebec, on Thursday. Training camp begins Friday.

In the meantime, the six Montreal players competing in the World Cup will have a solid following from their NHL teammates, who are confident that Price and the others are playing without worry of sustaining any new injuries.

"It's part of the gig, but when you're on the ice, you're just worried about doing what you can do," Gallagher said. "And that's what the summer's for. The summer's for preparing your body and training as hard as you can so that when you can start an 82-game season, you can survive it and feel healthy throughout it. And I know Carey, I know the work he's put in. Injuries are not really a concern when you see him playing the way he is."

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