Injured Carey Price dons goaltending gear prior to Habs practice
Habs goalie Carey Price wore his equipment and was on the ice prior to team practice ahead of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final Tuesday. (Ben Pelosse/QMI Agency)
Seeing their No. 1 goalie out on the ice in pads on Tuesday morning had the Montreal Canadiens collectively buying into the notion of “Let’s Win This One For Carey.”
For the second consecutive day, franchise goalie Carey Price worked out between the pipes prior to Habs practice. On this particular instance, he was decked out in full equipment for the first time since injuring his right leg/knee in Game 1 when he was crashed into by the Rangers forward Chris Kreider.
While Habs coach Michel Therrien once again insisted that Price definitely is not available for any part of this Eastern Conference final series between the Canadiens and Rangers, the Canadiens are using his rehab as a rallying point entering Game 5 Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.
Dustin Tokarski once again will get the call in goal for Montreal, which finds itself in a do-or-die situation as it trails 3-1 in this best-of-seven clash.
“Seeing (Price) in pads got the boys going,” forward Max Pacioretty said after the Canadiens’ morning skate.
“Seeing him every day working, talking to him, we know we have to win in order to get him back. We know we have to win this for him in order for him to rejoin us (down the road).”
Working with goaltending coach Stephane Waite and another member of the Habs staff, Price spent a lot of time testing his side-to-side lateral movement. He also faced a few light shots, all the while being aware of the state of his right leg.
When peppered with questions about Price’s availability, Therrien was defiant in his insistence that Price will be unavailable for the remainder of the Eastern Conference final, a claim he has been making since Price first got hurt.
“That’s just part of the process in his attempt to come back,” Therrien said of Price’s workout on Tuesday. “He is not playing in this series. He is not.”
Meanwhile, the Habs know it’s win-or-go-home Tuesday night. And Pacioretty, for one, vowed to be better than he was in Game 4, a 3-2 overtime loss.
“I wasn’t good,” he said. “I felt like I let the team down, I felt like I let my coaches down, I felt like I let the city down.”
For Therrien, the Habs struggles cut deeper than just Pacioretty’s struggles.
“Right now we need everyone to be at their best,” Therrien said. “We need everyone.”
If they don’t, the next time Carey Price plays in an actual game will be next fall.