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Canadiens' Price skates again, but still out for series

by Arpon Basu

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Injured Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price skated Tuesday for about half an hour with goalie coach Stephane Waite and head athletic therapist Graham Rynbend, but he is still ruled out to play in the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers.

It was the second straight day Price skated, but the first time he did so in full equipment.

Price took a few shots from Waite while already in the butterfly position with general manager Marc Bergevin looking on from a box above the ice at the Canadiens practice facility.

Canadiens coach Michel Therrien was unequivocal after the morning skate that not only will Price not play Game 5 of the series against the Rangers on Tuesday at Bell Centre (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), he won't play unless Montreal reaches the Stanley Cup Final.

The Rangers lead the best-of-7 series 3-1 and have a chance to reach the Final for the first time since 1994 with a victory.

"Our team realizes that when Carey was hurt it meant he would not play in this series," Therrien said. "There's a process that's in place for his return, but it won't be in the coming days. We don't want to be thinking about another series because we have a hell of a big game to play [Tuesday]."

Price was injured early in the second period of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final when Rangers forward Chris Kreider collided with the goaltender while going hard to the net. Price finished the second period but did not come out to start the third, was replaced by Peter Budaj, and has not played since.

Dustin Tokarski will make his fourth straight start for the Canadiens in Game 5, and his 2.63 goals-against average and .917 save percentage has given his teammates more confidence in his ability to get them a big win when it's needed most.

"You don't see goalies get hurt too often, so at first it was tough news, a tough pill to swallow," Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty said. "But since game one we've had confidence in Dustin. Each game he's gotten better and better and that confidence has gone to a whole new level."

In spite of that confidence in Tokarski, the Canadiens desperately want to give Price a chance to return to reward him for what he's done this season. Price has an 8-4 record with a 2.36 GAA and .919 save percentage in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after finishing fourth in the NHL with a .927 save percentage in the regular season.

The only way the Canadiens can reward Price is by beating the Rangers and reaching the Final.

"Seeing him every day and talking to him, we know his timeline, we know we have to win for him to come back and that he will come back if we win," Pacioretty said. "Obviously seeing him put the pads on gets the boys going a little bit more than it would just seeing him on the [trainer's] table.

"We know we have to win to get him going, and we want to do that for him."

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