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Canadiens goalie Price returns, shakes off rust for win

by Dan Rosen

NEW YORK -- Carey Price's first game in three weeks went as expected for the Montreal Canadiens goalie. Some good, some bad, and a win.

"When you're out of action for a while it takes a bit of time to catch up," Price said after making 33 saves in a 5-3 win against the New York Islanders at Barclays Center on Friday. "Definitely a good game to get your feet wet again."

Price hadn't played since Oct. 29. Mike Condon started nine consecutive games with Price out of the lineup because of a lower-body injury.

The Canadiens went 5-2-2 but allowed 13 goals in the four games prior to Price playing against the Islanders in the second half of a back-to-back.

He said he felt rusty at the start, which is why it was important for the Canadiens to score early, establish the pace they wanted, and take a lead into the first intermission.

Defenseman Jeff Petry gave Montreal a 1-0 lead 2:52 into the game, and the Canadiens had a 3-1 lead in the first period. They trailed 3-0 in each of their previous three games.

"That first period, your timing might be off, you're trying to catch up," said Price, who made nine saves in the period. "I thought by the third period things were starting to slow back down again."

Price made 14 saves in the second period and 10 in the third, when the Islanders had a late push that was aided by five Montreal icings in the final 13 minutes. The Canadiens skaters helped Price by blocking eight shots in the final three minutes.

"Obviously not ideal traveling through the night and getting the back end of a back to back, but it's a good road win," Price said. "The guys played well, and I thought we really deserved that one."

Montreal lost 3-2 at home to the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.

"Carey was Carey Price," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "Even though he didn't play for the last few weeks, the way he performed, you couldn't tell. He was a true leader for us again tonight."

Petry also said he couldn't notice a difference in Price.

"He looked like he was right on top his game," Petry said. "He played well and made some big saves for us."

Price is going to nitpick his game more than anyone else, which is why he focused on the rust and timing that might have been slightly off.

"It's a good league, and when you're out of action for three weeks, it's going to cost you a little bit," he said. "But tonight the guys played very well in front of me."

The guys were happy to see him.

"[Condon] played well when he was in there," Petry said, "but it's a good feeling having [Price] back."


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