Canadiens Notebook: Carey Price leaves practice early in Brossard

Canadiens Notebook: Carey Price leaves practice early in Brossard
After making 33 saves in a 2-0 shutout win over the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night at the Bell Centre, Canadiens goalie Carey Price left practice early Friday morning in Brossard.

Reason for concern?

“None whatsoever,” coach Claude Julien said after practice. “He left the ice … it had zero to do with the (lower-body) injury. He was a little bit light-headed. The trainers talked to me. We were basically done our practice, so I said: ‘Take him off.’ I don’t see any issues for tomorrow because I know that’s the next question.”

That means Price should be back in goal Saturday night when the Nashville Predators and P.K. Subban visit the Bell Centre (7 p.m., SNE, SN360, CITY, TVA Sports, TSN 690 Radio).

Before earning his second shutout of the season against the Canucks, Price had missed the previous three games with a lower-body injury the goalie said he had been dealing with for about seven weeks. Price has a personal three-game winning streak and is 8-2 in his last 10 starts, improving his season record to 16-10-4 with a 2.75 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.

When captain Shea Weber was asked about Price leaving practice early, he joked: “He probably just need a little more rest. He seems to be good when he gets rest.

“Obviously, I haven’t seen what’s going on yet, but I’m sure he’ll be good,” Weber added.

And if Price isn’t good enough to play Saturday night?

“Nemo (Antti Niemi) played a helluva a game — excuse me, a heckuva game — in Dallas,” Weber said. “So we’re comfortable if we got to go with him as well.”

Niemi stopped 45 of 47 shots in a 3-2 overtime win over the Stars on New Year’s Eve, the last game Price missed with his lower-body injury. Niemi has a 6-4-1 record with a 4.01 goals-against average and a .881 save percentage.

Carey Price a quitté l entraînement d aujourd hui prématurément.

Brendan Gallagher skipped Friday’s practice, taking a therapy day instead.

Gallagher left the ice and went to the locker room after appearing to block a slapshot with his right hand during the first period of Thursday night’s game. Gallagher has twice needed surgery to repair his left hand after getting hit with shots. He returned to the ice later in the first period Thursday night and finished the game with 12:01 of ice time and two shots on goal.

Reason for concern with Gallagher?

“No, he’ll play tomorrow,” Julien said. “It’s a maintenance day.”

When asked if Gallagher did indeed injure his hand blocking the shot, Julien said: “I don’t know. You’re trying to figure out what’s wrong with him, right? He’s banged up. He’s banged up like he always is.”

No Canadiens player takes more of a beating every game than Gallagher with his style of play. It’s remarkable that he’s been able to play in 148 consecutive games, which ranks him third on the Canadiens’ ironman list behind Max Domi (156) and Jeff Petry (154).

“He sacrifices his body in all situations,” Julien said about Gallagher, who has 15-9-24 totals this season and is plus 4. “Whether it’s to screen a goaltender in net front, whether it’s going in the corners and grinding it out, he doesn’t back off from anything. The thing is is that they’re all injuries that don’t prevent him from playing. But by giving him some days off it makes him better for the games. We know he’s a well-conditioned athlete. We don’t have to worry about his conditioning. He gives everything every game, every shift. He comes off the ice, he’s exhausted. Guaranteed that if he was feeling well enough he’d prefer to practise than to take the day off.”
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