MONTREAL - Will the Price be right for Game 2?
The status of Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is uncertain for Monday night's game because he injured his leg during a breakaway collision with the Rangers' Chris Kreider in the second period of Game 1. Price did not practice with the team and coach Michel Therrien could not guarantee that he would play Monday night.
Price, who helped the Canadian Olympic team to a gold medal and backstopped the Canadiens to a 100-point season and a second-round upset of the Bruins, was on ice with goalie coach Stephane Waite an hour before the optional practice at the team's complex in Brossard, Quebec.
But Therrien said "we'll see tomorrow" when asked if Price would be ready for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.
If Price (8-5 in the playoffs) doesn't play, veteran Peter Budaj, who relieved Price after the second period with the Habs down 4-1 en route to a 7-2 loss, will start. Budaj beat the Rangers, 2-0, at the Garden in the home opener Oct. 28.
"I hope Carey's OK, but I'm going to be ready if I have to go," Budaj said.
Both Therrien and former Ranger Brandon Prust, who received 14 minutes in penalties (slashing and unsportsmanlike conduct minors and a 10-minute misconduct) in a confrontation with Kreider late in Game 1, were upset with Kreider's inability to avoid the contact.
"He didn't run him, but he didn't do anything to turn his body," Prust said. "We call it accidentally on purpose."
Therrien questioned Kreider's "effort" in minimizing the impact of the crash.
Kreider was coming from the blue line at full speed and replays show that his right leg was clipped by defenseman Alexei Emelin's stick causing him to wobble and slide into Price skates-first. Kreider said Saturday that he lost his footing and "just had too much momentum and couldn't really avoid him."
"I don't think he's a real dirty player," said Prust, who also mentioned Kreider's collision with Marc-Andre Fleury in the Penguins series, on which he was penalized. "But he's in the NHL. By now, he knows how to fall."