After leaving Wednesday’s game, Montreal Canadiens star netminder Carey Price has found himself back on the shelf.
According to Sportsnet’s John Bartlett, the Canadiens have placed Price on the injured reserve once again and the 28-year-old goaltender is expected to miss ‘at least’ one week. Because Price played 40 minutes of Wednesday’s game and heading into the dressing room after the second frame with a 2-1 lead, Price emerged with the win against the Rangers. It was Price’s third consecutive win since returning to the Canadiens’ lineup on Nov. 20, but now there’s uncertainty about when exactly Price will be back.
The injury looked as if it occurred in the second frame when he was pushing across his crease. After moving from left to right, Price seemed to tweak his right leg and fell to the ice before finishing the period:
Post-game, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said that this wasn’t a case of Price coming back from injury too soon and that he had been given medical clearance to get back in goal.
"The medical staff was really comfortable and Carey was really comfortable to come back," Therrien told NHL.com’s Dan Rosen. "If we would have had any doubt, for sure we were never going to take that risk. That's all we could say about it. He tweaked it again tonight and that's why we don't want to take any chances. It's still early in the season, so it's important for us that when he plays he's got to make sure he's healthy.”
Montreal turned to Mike Condon for the remainder of Wednesday’s game, which the Canadiens won 5-1. Condon was the Canadiens’ starter for the duration of Price’s nine-game absence earlier this season and put up a 5-2-2 record.
When Price was originally injured during an Oct. 29 outing against the Edmonton Oilers, the report on his injury was the same — that he would miss at least one week of action. What followed was a nearly three weeks on the shelf.
The Canadiens have not yet called up a netminder from the AHL. During Price’s nine games on the shelf, Dustin Tokarski was called up from the St. John’s IceCaps to work as the backup goaltender. He only made one relief appearance, allowing two goals on 13 shots against the Colorado Avalanche Nov. 14.
Now is when Montreal’s early-season success will help out most. They’ve opened up a seven-point lead atop the Atlantic Division and sit firmly in a playoff spot, which allows them to rest Price until they can be absolutely certain he’s healthy.