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Price practices, could return before end of season

Montreal goalie has been out since Nov. 25

by Corey Long / Correspondent

TAMPA -- Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price participated in the morning skate Thursday, the first time he's practiced with his teammates since he was injured Nov. 25.

Price, who won the 2015 Vezina and Hart trophies, won't dress against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 p.m. ET; RDS, SNE, SUN, NHL.TV), but Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said there is a chance he will play in a game this season.

"He has been working extremely hard on the ice and in the gym," Therrien said. "We hope he can come back. If he's working that hard it's not to get ready for September. But he's got to make sure he's 100 percent and we'll let Carey decide what he's going to do."

Price has missed 65 games this season with a lower-body injury. He is 10-2-0 with a 2.06 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. Price missed eight games in November after injuring himself when he stepped on a puck before a game against the Edmonton Oilers on Oct. 29.

He returned to the lineup Nov. 22 against the New York Islanders but was injured again three days later during the second period of a 5-1 win against the New York Rangers.

"I was a little scared shooting at him at first," Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty said. "I didn't want to try to throw anything too crazy at him. As the process goes on and he practices a bit more I'm sure guys will try to pick corners and challenge him a little bit more."

Goalie Mike Condon will start for the Canadiens against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. Charlie Lindgren, who signed a two-year, two-way contract Wednesday will be serve as backup.

Lindgren, 22, was 51-29-3 in 88 games with eight shutouts for St. Cloud State University in three seasons. He led the National Collegiate Hockey Conference in wins (30), saves (1,020) and was tied for first with five shutouts in 2015-16.

"Obviously finishing the year in the NHL is something you always dream about," Lindgren said. "I mean, Saturday night I was playing college hockey and now I'm in the NHL. It's hard to believe, but I've worked hard to be here."

Therrien said there was a good chance Lindgren would play this season.

Lindgren shared a net with Price during the morning skate Thursday.

"It doesn't feel real," Lindgren said. "Just to be on the ice with him, he's the best player in the NHL. I want to be like a sponge and soak it all in."

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