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Price hopeful of returning to Canadiens soon

Goaltender, out past five games with lower-body injury, stays off ice Tuesday, 'but it won't be very long'

by Sean Farrell / NHL.com Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price said Tuesday he expects to return from his lower-body injury soon, though it's taking longer than originally expected.

Price had been working out alone with goalie coach Stephane Waite but decided not to go on the ice at the Canadiens practice facility and will miss his sixth straight game when Montreal hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets at Bell Centre (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, FS-O, NHL.TV). 

"It just wasn't getting better," Price said. "It was getting stagnant, so I just decided to give it a rest for a couple of days and reassess it in a couple of days."

Price said he was injured during warmups prior to a 6-3 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Nov. 2. He did not mention the injury after playing the game but said he felt its effect the following day.

"I knew it was going to be maybe like a two-week process," Price said. "But given the nature of my position, a goaltender goes into such extreme ranges that in order to perform it to the best of your ability and be a body contortionist, you need that full range, and I haven't quite got there yet. But it won't be very long."

Price is 3-7-1 with a 3.77 goals-against-average and an .877 save percentage in 11 games. He said the injury is not related to the season-ending right knee injury he sustained Nov. 25, 2015.

"No, not at all, just making sure that it's properly taken care of and I know that it's not going to be a long-term process like it was last time," Price said.

Montreal has won four of five games since Price has been sidelined. Rookie Charlie Lindren has started the past four games and is 3-1-0 with one shutout, a 1.24 GAA and .964 save percentage.

"Charlie's playing great, and it's definitely buying me more time," Price said.

With backup Al Montoya out with a concussion and rookie Zach Fucale backing up Lindgren, the Canadiens claimed goaltender Antti Niemi on waivers from the Florida Panthers.

Niemi was 0-4-0 with a 6.74 GAA and .822 save percentage in five games with Florida and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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