BROSSARD, Que. – The Montreal Canadiens will be without goaltender Carey Price for at least the rest of the NHL Eastern Conference final.
Coach Michel Therrien made the announcement after an optional skate on Monday morning.
Price appeared to injure his right knee when New York’s Chris Kreider ran into him skates-first in the second period of the Rangers’ 7-2 win in the opener of the best-of-seven series.
“I think he’s pretty important,” said teammate Josh Gorges.
“Anyone’s goalie is pretty important it’s a pretty important position. And we’ve relied on him a lot to be big.
Therrien did not say of Peter Budaj or third-stringer Dustin Tokarski would start Game 2 on Monday night at the Bell Centre.
“Carey Price won’t be able to play, not only for tonight but for the rest of the series,” said Therrien. “Really disappointed. He’s our best player.
“Looking at the incident, it’s a reckless play. That’s the truth. And Kreider, that’s not the first time he’s going at goalies. So we end up losing our best player, but our group faced a lot of adversity throughout the course of the season. We have the attitude to respond really well and that’s what I’m expecting, starting tonight.”
Therrien said he hopes the team can win without him to give Price a chance to return for the Stanley Cup final.
Fans aren’t buying the argument that Kreider’s hit was accidental.
“It’s kinda sad because you know the play was pretty much calculated,” said Dave Girard, a Habs fan.
“He’s kinda had a history now of taking out three goalies,” agreed Brandon Diraddo.
“Accidentally on purpose I guess.”
“It’s definitely a big blow to us, however I think we can still win,” said Christian Johansson.
“We have some top notch goalies, Budaj and Tokarski.”
“Every time I look at it, and I’ve looked at it a lot it looks worse every time,” said Dennis Drover.
Price stayed in Game 1 after the collision but was replaced after the second frame by Budaj. He tested the knee briefly on Sunday morning, but did not take part in an optional practice.
Price backstopped Canada to a gold medal at the Sochi Olympics in February and was having strong playoffs for the Canadiens.