MONTREAL - Carey Price has tended goal for Team Canada.
Now, with his Montreal Canadiens the only Canadian team in the Stanley Cup playoffs, he has no pretentions that he is tending goal for Canada’s team.
“I think you’ll see a lot of Canadians probably cheering against us more than anything,” said Price, who was a big reason Canada won its second-straight gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. “A lot of sour fans are probably going to root against us. At the same time we have a great fan base here in Montreal and across Canada, really. I don’t doubt we’re going to get a lot of support.”
It was suggested every Canadian team gets rooted against by every other Canadian team.
“I’m pretty sure. I know as a kid I rooted against a few Canadian teams in my day,” he said.
Price, who shut out the New York Rangers 1-0 Saturday night in the Habs finale and posted a career-best .927 save percentage this season as Montreal hit the 100-point mark, said he’ll be drawing on his Olympics experience when the Canadiens play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening round.
“After that whole experience it helps you stay calm, to take in how a bunch of leaders on other teams who have won carry themselves,” he said. “I think that was a very valuable learning experience.”
Price missed eight games when he returned from Sochi with a lower-body injury. It turned out to be a welcome respite from a long season and perhaps a bit of a blessing in an unusually long and cold winter in Eastern Canada.
“Those first 20 games go by fast,” Price said. “Those last 20 games go by fast. That middle 42, that’s a grind, especially with the winters that we have here. It’s definitely a lot of hard work we put in throughout the season, on and off the ice. It’s not an easy thing to do every year. To be able to hit 100 points is very gratifying.
“I feel pretty good right now. Missing those eight games could have been a blessing in disguise. Being able to take some time off and recuperate after what felt like a season and then a mini-playoffs, it’s definitely I think beneficial.”