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Canadiens praise leadership they got from Price

by Sean Farrell /

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The Montreal Canadiens had four alternate captains in 2014-15, but one unequivocal leader.

"When Carey speaks, everybody listens," Montreal right wing Dale Weise said Thursday of goalie Carey Price. "He doesn't talk a lot, but when he does, I think his voice carries a lot of weight in this room."

Price's comments after the Canadiens were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday resonated with his teammates and throughout the NHL.

Price, who is a finalist for the Hart and Vezina trophies, took full blame for the Canadiens' six-game loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Second Round.

"At the end of the day, we're a team, we're going to live and die as one," Price said. "That was just my opinion of the matter and moving forward we're all going to have to play better."

Price was 6-6 in the playoffs with a 2.23 goals-against-average and .920 save percentage.

Right wing Brendan Gallagher said that Price taking responsibility for Montreal's elimination was not called for.

"I think obviously everyone knows it wasn't true, but the fact that he's saying it is a show of leadership," Gallagher said. "I think when you lose something like that you can only look at yourself in the mirror and expect to be better, and as good as he was it's pretty cool to see that he's putting those expectations on him to be even better, which is hard to imagine.

"Everyone knows it wasn't true, but it's a sign of accountability that he shows and that's part of being a leader."

Montreal won 50 games during the regular season and Price broke a Canadiens record previously shared by Hall of Fame goalies Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden for wins in a season with 44.

Defenseman Andrei Markov, one of the Canadiens' alternate captains, said Price won a lot of those games on his own.

Markov also was teammates in Montreal with Jose Theodore, the last goalie to win the Hart and Vezina trophies, in 2001-02.

"[Price is] simply the best," Markov said. "It's a great feeling to play in front of those goalies, like Price, and that year, it was Theodore, especially as a defenseman."

Defenseman P.K. Subban, an alternate captain, is a Norris Trophy finalist for the second time. He and Price will travel to Las Vegas for the 2015 NHL Awards on June 24.

"Obviously Carey's been a big part of our team this year and he's going to be a big part of our team moving forward, and this organization," said Subban, who won the Norris Trophy in 2012-13. "At the same token, I think we have to focus on everybody doing their job. Carey's job is to stop the puck. Everybody has a job to do, whether it's to score goals, whether it's to defend, but we all have a job to do collectively as a group and that's to win hockey games."

Defenseman Jeff Petry got to know Price after he was acquired in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers on March 2.

"We only saw him twice a year in Edmonton but everyone had said he's a goalie that can win you games solo," said Petry, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. "He proved that he's the best goalie, I think, in the League, in the world. His personality makes everything that much better. He doesn't have a huge ego or anything like that. He's a really down-to-earth guy, and on and off the ice he's a guy that you want to be around."

Price, who said he hopes Petry will remain in Montreal next season, said more consistency is going to be a key moving forward.

"Whenever a team wins 50 games, you're doing something right and we don't want to change," Price said. "We have a good solid group of guys that are hopefully going to be around for a while. I really enjoy hanging out with this group; chemistry-wise it's probably the best group I've ever been with."

A group that is led by a goalie who believes he can stop every puck, which is what Price said after Tampa Bay scored the winning goal with 1.1 seconds remaining in Game 3 to give the Lightning a 3-0 series lead.

"[Price] really did believe it, that's the crazy thing," Weise said. "He really did believe it. I was talking to him after the game and he was breaking down how he should have stopped all three goals in Game 6, which I thought was ridiculous, so he's a special guy."

Left wing Max Pacioretty, another alternate captain, said he and his teammates should have the same mindset as Price.

"That never-satisfied mentality, that's what he has," Pacioretty said. "Look at all the awards he's up for and going to win, but he wants the Stanley Cup."

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