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Carey Price back from flu for Canadiens

Goalie expected to start against Oilers on Sunday, teammates still dealing with illness

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price was back at practice Saturday after missing a game against the Calgary Flames on Thursday because of the flu.

He is expected to make his 52nd start of the season when the Canadiens play the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; SN, RDS, NHL.TV). 

"We had a couple of guys who picked it up," Price said of the flu. "I rode the struggle bus for a little bit but got through it."

Price, who has won his past five starts, said he stayed in the locker room during the game in Calgary.

"I just tried to get some rest," he said.    

The Canadiens (38-22-8), who lost 5-0 on Thursday with Al Montoya starting for Price, have had the flu spread to several players. Price (30-16-5) said he tried to stay away from his teammates as much as he could during the past few days.

Video: MTL@VAN: Price stretches to rob Goldobin with a pad

"We're kind of a herd," Price said. "We're constantly together in tight places. It was pretty inevitable that we're going to rub elbows a little bit, pass it around."

Canadiens coach Claude Julien said the lineup and combinations have been in flux for the past few days.

"It's hard for me to confirm my lines right now because from day to day, hour to hour, I don't know what I'm going to have lately," Julien said. "I'm staying ready for any situations that arise."

Montreal is 7-3-0 since Julien replaced Michel Therrien on Feb. 14.

"We've responded really well since the change," Price said. "Whenever things are shaken up a little bit, it gives you maybe a little bit of a different perspective. It definitely wakes you up."

The Oilers defeated the Canadiens 1-0 in a shootout Feb. 5. Montreal left wing Max Pacioretty said that game will help the Canadiens understand the challenge they'll face Sunday. Edmonton center Connor McDavid is the NHL scoring leader with 75 points (23 goals, 52 assists).

Video: PIT@EDM: McDavid corrals rebound, slams home PPG

"He might be the best player in the world," said Pacioretty, the Canadiens captain. "You saw how dangerous he was [Friday] night (in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins). When he wants to take it over, he took over the game. I know they didn't win, but he had opportunities to close that game."

McDavid scored the tying goal in the third period and scored in the shootout Friday.

"We really want to focus on him," Pacioretty said. "It's not too often a player can stand up here honestly and say that, that you want to key on one guy, but honestly, he's unbelievable. We've got to try to slow him down through the neutral zone, that's the biggest thing. If we're able to limit those rushes where he comes through the neutral zone with speed, it should give us the ability to play a little bit more in their end."

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