BROSSARD, Quebec -- Goaltender Carey Price and defenseman Shea Weber will play in the Montreal Canadiens' final preseason game, against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Bell Centre on Thursday.
Price, who helped Team Canada win the World Cup of Hockey 2016 in Toronto, has not played for Montreal since he sustained a season-ending injury to his right knee Nov. 25, 2015.
"Yeah, it's been a long time," Price said after practice at the Canadiens' suburban training facility Wednesday. "I'm looking forward to getting back in front of the crowd and kind of getting back into it. It's only been since, what, Thursday? But it seems like a long time ago. It will be good to get in a few more minutes before the season starts."
In five games at the World Cup, Price went 5-0-0. His 1.40 goals-against average and .957 save percentage were the best at the tournament among goalies who played at least two games.
"It's nice to see [Price] back," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "We haven't seen him in uniform in a long time, and the fact that he played so well in that competition, the World Cup, was great for him. He's healthy, he looked good, he looked fresh, so he's an important player, as we all know, with our hockey team, and we're excited that he's going to wear our jersey [Thursday], and Shea Weber, the same thing. It's a good thing that those two guys are capable to play at least one game before we start the season next week."
Weber also played for Team Canada at the World Cup and will be making his Canadiens debut. He was acquired from the Nashville Predators in a trade for defenseman P.K. Subban on June 29.
"I'm fortunate to have an opportunity before the regular season to get accustomed to everything here and the guys in here, and hopefully as the season progresses here, we can get more and more used to each other," Weber said.
The Canadiens open the regular season Oct. 13 at the Buffalo Sabres.
Therrien acknowledged that time is tight before the opener to orient Weber, who had a plus-3 rating and 16 shots on goal in five games at the World Cup.
"That's the way it was this year," Therrien said. "Nobody could do anything about it, but you know what? Every time you've got a chance to represent your country and end up winning a gold medal, and when you've got such an important role in that club, it's special for any athlete, and certainly he had a really important role with Team Canada. So now that he's going to play his first game, he's got to learn new teammates and all those type of stuff, their tendencies. Do I wish he was going to be able to play more preseason games? Yes, but there's nothing we can do about it. But I'm sure he's pretty excited about playing [Thursday]."
Weber is well-acquainted with Price, who also was his teammate when Canada won the gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
"Obviously, it helps; the more you play with somebody, the more you're going to get used to what they do and build chemistry that way," Weber said. "I've known Carey off the ice for a long time, so that obviously helps too knowing somebody on a personal level, especially coming into a new locker room, a new environment. That helped."
Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu was paired with Weber at practice, and he has a whole new appreciation of why his new partner has won the AMP Energy NHL Hardest Shot title in each of the past two Honda NHL All-Star Game SuperSkills Competitions.
"It's terrifying," Beaulieu said. "I'm glad he's on our side."
Weber is looking forward to getting better acquainted with Beaulieu.
"He's a great young defenseman," Weber said. "He skates really well. You can see the way he sees the ice and moves the puck, and obviously the more I play with him, the more I'm going to see what else he can do and get more accustomed to everything that he can do."
The other defense pairs were Andrei Markov and Jeff Petry, Alexei Emelin and Mikhail Sergachev, and Zach Redmond and Greg Pateryn.
"Obviously, there's a good group in here," Weber said. "They made some good moves this offseason to solidify the core, and obviously there's a lot of speed in here too, guys that can play fast, and you've got the best goalie in the world. So those are some of the strengths, I think that's a pretty good way to sum it up."
Missing from practice were forward Brian Flynn, who sustained a neck injury in the first period of a 4-3 win against the Boston Bruins at Videotron Centre in Quebec City on Tuesday, and forward Paul Byron, who has pneumonia.
The Canadiens also placed defenseman Mark Barberio on waivers.
"Mark had a pretty good camp, but there were some guys who moved ahead of him," Therrien said. "Pateryn is having a good camp, Redmond is having a good camp, we like a lot of what we see in Sergachev, and that's how we made our decisions."