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Price close to return with Canadiens

Goaltender refused to consider ending his season after concussion

by Sean Farrell / Correspondent

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Carey Price is moving closer to returning after a concussion, and the Montreal Canadiens goaltender said he did not for a moment consider shutting down his season.

"No, we never had that discussion," Price said Friday. "But for me, personally, it's all about, whether we're in the playoffs or not, trying to take care of my head and get back in before the end of the year."

Price, 30, took part in a full practice Friday for the first time since he was injured after being struck in the mask by a shot from Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere in the second period of a 3-2 overtime loss Feb. 20.

"It's good to get back in the mix and hang out with the guys again," Price said. "It was getting pretty lonely for a while."

It was the sixth straight day Price has been on the ice. Canadiens coach Claude Julien said Price has not been cleared to return by medical staff; he will make the trip but will not dress for Montreal's game at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, CBC, SN, TVAS, NHL.TV). Rookie Charlie Lindgren will start, backed up by Antti Niemi

Price, 15-22-6 with a 2.98 goals-against average and .904 save percentage in 43 games this season, said he's focused on regaining his conditioning.

"Whenever you start coming back from an injury it's all about getting reconditioned," Price said. "When you don't do anything for pretty much two weeks, you definitely notice it. I would like to finish the season strong, obviously, and end it on a positive note. It's going to be a long summer of preparation."

The Canadiens trail the New Jersey Devils by 16 points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference.

"It's definitely been a frustrating year for everybody," Price said. "You know, just take it for what it is. I think a lot of guys learned a lot of lessons this season, and we'll definitely have a motivated summer."

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