Price didn't start the third period of the 7-2 Game 1 loss to the New York Rangers, raising some eyebrows. He had been crashed into by Rangers forward Chris Kreider in the second period and clutched at his right knee afterward. Price remained in the game, but was on the bench to start the third.
Head coach Michel Therrien said after the game he pulled Price to protect him because the team wasn't playing well enough in front of him, not giving off any impression that Price was pulled due to injury, despite assumptions to the contrary.
Price could have simply taken the option not to skate Sunday. But maybe there's a little more concern than the Habs are leading on. This is the playoffs after all, so we probably will not hear much about this at any point.
There was this from Therrien at practice, however:
Michel Therrien says he can't tell us that Carey Price will play Game 2.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 18, 2014
That's a bit cryptic as it's almost like a "no comment" kind of thing.
If Price is banged up, though, that's bad news for the Habs. He was a key piece to their series win over regular-season champion Boston and after Peter Budaj promptly gave up three goals in his first 20 minutes of action this series, that's scary.
Though Price wasn't at his best in Game 1, it's reasonable to expect a bounceback from him as he has been mostly remarkable this postseason.
There is some debate about whether or not Kreider intentionally crashed into Price on the play. Based on the video, it's really tough to say, but Habs forward Brandon Prust gave the media this gem Sunday.
Brandon Prust doesn't buy that Chris Kreider accidentally hit Carey Price. "We're in the NHL. He should know how to fall."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 18, 2014
Prust on Kreider/Price: "We call it accidentally on purpose."— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 18, 2014
Kreider was getting whacked by Alexei Emelin while he was shooting. He seemed to lose his footing while following through. It's one of those plays that you could look at colored by your own allegiances and biases and come away with vastly different opinions.
Looking at the play over and over, it doesn't look intentional, but it was an unnatural way to fall. Kreider will be the only one who knows for sure and I'm guessing he's not going to volunteer his thoughts.
It's a rather interesting situation and if Price is hurt, this will probably be the most important play of the entire series. This will be worth monitoring.