Montreal at Pittsburgh

Heralded goalie Price helps Canadiens turn away Pens in debut

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Carey Price needed only one game to evoke memories of Patrick Roy.

Exactly 22 years after Roy made his much-hyped NHL debut for the Montreal Canadiens in Pittsburgh, Price did the same and came out with a win, too.

Matching the rest of Roy's Hall of Fame career will certainly be tougher.

"It hasn't really hit me yet," said the 20-year-old Price after Montreal beat Pittsburgh 3-2 on Wednesday. "It's pretty exciting."

Mark Recchi had two assists and Ryan Whitney and Maxime Talbot scored for Pittsburgh.

"The kid played pretty well, obviously made some big saves," Whitney said. "He won the game for them."

Price's NHL debut was an event that was highly anticipated across Canada after he earned national fame by leading Canada to the World Junior Championship last season, earning MVP honors in the process. The former No. 5 overall pick of the Canadiens also was goaltender of the year in major junior hockey last season and then led Hamilton to the American Hockey League championship last spring.

Price said he was more relaxed for Wednesday's game than he had been at the World Junior tournament or in the AHL Calder Cup finals.

"If you look at the way he played in the past, like in the World Juniors, he played really well and in Hamilton... when it was time to close a series, he was there and played well," Montreal coach Gui Carbonneau said. "And tonight was one of those games."

Canadiens Hall of Fame goalies Ken Dryden and Roy also made their NHL debuts against the Penguins -- Roy's first game was a 5-3 victory on Oct. 10, 1985.

"I read it in the game notes," said Price, as cool in the postgame meeting with the media as he was between the pipes, "It's kind of a coincidence. It's kind of weird that's how that worked out."

Price, who was taken four spots behind Penguins star Sidney Crosby at the 2005 draft, stopped the reigning NHL scoring champion at least twice during a flurry in front of his net and made a save on Erik Christensen from close range early in the second for two of his best stops.

"I thought he really looked confident," Montreal captain Saku Koivu said. "And if he was nervous he didn't show it at all. We took some penalties in the first period so he had to get into the game right away, and he made some key saves, kept us in the game."

Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury -- himself a No. 1 overall pick in 2003 -- was just as solid as Price early, including stoning Christopher Higgins from the slot four minutes into the second.

The first goal Price allowed wasn't a soft one. Whitney picked up a loose puck in front of the net while on the power play. Crosby had gone right at Price, skating from behind the goal line to the left of Price seven minutes into the second period. Recchi tried to jam the puck home, and Crosby was pushed by Montreal defenseman Roman Hamrlik into Price, who fell over, leaving an open net for Whitney.

"I know that Crosby got pushed but he never made an effort to go away from the blue paint," Carbonneau said. "They really interfered with our goalie."

Plekanec tied the game at 1 when he fired a slap shot past Fluery's glove hand while on the power play with 6:53 left the second.

It was Plekanec's first goal of the season, and ex-Penguin Alexei Kovalev earned his first less than four minutes later when his wrist shot got past Fleury to make it 2-1 Montreal.

"We kind of let up there for 10 minutes in the second," Talbot said. "And that killed our momentum and killed us at the end."

Markov scored what would ultimately be the game-winner 2:51 into the third period when he fired an open wrist shot past Fleury on a rebound. But the Penguins got that goal back 57 seconds later when Talbot converted off a pretty no-look backhand pass from Evgeni Malkin, who was behind the net.

Price stopped Crosby and Gary Roberts on consecutive opportunities with about three minutes to play and withheld a strong Penguins' charge with their goalie pulled in the final minute to preserve the victory.

Notes

  • Thursday is the 40th anniversary of the first game in Penguins franchise history. Montreal defeated Pittsburgh 3-1 on Oct. 11, 1967. The Penguins aired a small video tribute to the occasion.
  • Montreal C Kyle Chipchura also made his NHL debut.
  • Kovalev, Markov and Koivu each have at least one point in each game this season.
  • Malkin has a three-game assist streak.
  • Penguins D Darryl Sydor played his 1,100th NHL game.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Carey Price, the No. 5 overall pick in '05,  doesn't disappoint against draft mate Sidney Crosby.  (AP)
Carey Price, the No. 5 overall pick in '05, doesn't disappoint against draft mate Sidney Crosby. (AP)

Scoreboard
Montreal  (2-0-1) «0213
Pittsburgh (1-2-0)0112
Three Stars
A. Markov
MON


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
C. Price
MON


Saves: 26
Save Pct.: .929
M. Recchi
PIT


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
None
2ND PERIOD
07:08Power Play - Ryan Whitney (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Mark Recchi, Sidney Crosby
13:07Power Play - Tomas Plekanec (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Andrei Markov, Mark Streit
17:00Alexei Kovalev (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Tomas Plekanec
3RD PERIOD
02:51Andrei Markov (2), Snap Shot. Assist: Michael Ryder, Saku Koivu
03:48Maxime Talbot (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Evgeni Malkin, Mark Recchi
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:47Ryder, 2 min, Too Many Men on the Ice(bench)
13:25Komisarek, 2 min, Slashing
2ND PERIOD
03:18Komisarek, 2 min, Hooking
03:29Whitney, 2 min, Holding
06:35Markov, 2 min, Cross Check
08:06Gorges, 2 min, Roughing
11:55Sydor, 2 min, Hooking
3RD PERIOD
None
SHOTS ON GOAL
 123T
Montreal5161435
Pittsburgh912728
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Carey Price60:00262
Marc-Andre Fleury58:59323
Game Information
Attendance - 17006
Referees - Mike Hasenfratz, Justin St. Pierre
Linesmen - Derek Amell, Tony Sericolo
 
Other Games
NYR 1 Final
NYI 2
SJ 2 Final
Chi 1
Edm 0 Final
Min 2
LA 1 Final
Dal 5
Pho 0 Final
Colu 3
Fla 1 Final
TB 2
Cal 2 Final
Det 4
Nash 1 Final
StL 4
Phi 8 Final
Van 2
Ott 3 Final
Atl 1
Bos 1 Final
Ana 2