Perhaps the Montreal Canadiens' worst nightmare has been realized. Carey Price, injured in Game 1 after he was crashed into by New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider, will miss the remainder of the Eastern Conference Finals according to head coach Michel Therrien.
Carey Price is out for the entire Eastern Conference final.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 19, 2014
This could be a devastating blow to the Habs' chances this postseason. Price helped steal them a few games in the second round of the playoffs, helping the team knock off the Boston Bruins.
Price has a .919 save percentage, 2.35 goals-against average and one shutout in 12 playoff games this postseason.
After the collision with Kreider, he remained in the game until he was replaced by Peter Budaj to start the third period. Price didn't look right after that hit as he gave up two goals in the final minute of the second period.
Habs players were not happy with Kreider, believing, at worst, he ran Price on purpose, or at least didn't do enough to avoid the contact. Therrien called the play "reckless" in his remarks to the media Monday after the Habs' morning skate.
Montreal will now turn to Budaj and Dustin Tokarski as its tandem for the remainder of the conference finals, which the Habs trail 1-0 after a 7-2 loss in Game 1.
Budaj, who gave up three goals on eight shots in 20 minutes of action in Game 1, has only seven career postseason appearances under his belt. Never the primary postseason starter, Budaj has an .843 save percentage and 5.13 goals-against average in 199 minutes of action.
Montreal may want to consider giving Tokarski a shot at the job. He only has 10 games of NHL action under his belt including three appearances this season with the Habs. He does have considerable postseason experience in junior and the AHL.
Tokarski helped the Norfolk Admirals win the Calder Cup in the AHL in 2012 with a .944 save percentage as the team's primary starter. He also won a WHL title and Memorial Cup with the Spokane Chiefs in 2008.
It's not high-level NHL experience, but it's something.
Losing Price and going through that disastrous Game 1 loss is going to really make this road a lot tougher for the Habs. It's tough to see how they are going to weather this storm without the guy Therrien called the team's best player.
No matter how you view the Kreider collision, accidental, on purpose or as Brandon Prust called it "accidentally on purpose," it was a series-altering play.