Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has missed Montreal’s past 17 games and has been on the shelf for nearly six weeks. Though he’s making progress in his recovery, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien says his superstar netminder won’t be in goal for Montreal yet.
“His rehab is going well,” Therrien said Monday about Price’s return. “But one thing for sure is that he’s not going to be back this week. We want to make sure we’re going to be really cautious with Carey and when he’s going to be 100 percent, that’s the time he’s going to be back. But I don’t know right now.”
Therrien added that Price hasn’t been back on the ice yet, either. When Price’s injury was originally announced, the Canadiens gave a six-week timeline for his return. As of Tuesday, Price has missed 37 days of action — slightly more than five weeks — so that Price won’t be ready this week shouldn’t be cause for concern for Montreal. The Canadiens lack of success without Price, however, is worrying.
Montreal had a seven-point lead atop the Atlantic Division when Price went down on Nov. 25 against the New York Rangers. Heading into Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Canadiens trail the Florida Panthers by three points for the division lead. With Price on the shelf, Montreal has gone an ugly 5-11-1 and had an abysmal December in which they picked up six of a possible 28 points.
Price looked as though he was on his way to yet another remarkable season before the injury trouble popped up this season. In 12 games, Price had a 10-2-0 record, two shutouts, 2.06 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. At even strength, Price’s .939 SP was a top-10 mark in the league. He won the 2014-15 Hart Trophy, Vezina Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award with a 44-16-6 record, nine shutouts, 1.96 GAA and .933 SP.
There is one silver lining for Montreal, and that’s that the team had built a big enough lead in the Atlantic Division that losing Price for an extended period hasn’t put them out of the playoff hunt. If Price is healthy in the post-season, the Canadiens can be a serious threat in the Eastern Conference.