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Carey the Leafs killer

Wednesday, 06.02.2008 / 3:31 PM / News
canadiens.com
Carey Price will make his 20th start of the season on Thursday against the Leafs.
MONTREAL - There isn’t a whole lot of good news floating around Leafs nation these days, and Carey Price getting the start against Toronto on Thursday will hardly cheer anyone up in Hogtown either.

Called up from the Hamilton Bulldogs on Monday, Price didn’t have to wait long before being tossed back into the fray. Anxious to make already his fourth start against the Leafs, Price has emerged as head coach Guy Carbonneau’s designated goalie when Sundin and Co. are on the Habs’ menu.

“Carey will get the start tomorrow,” confirmed Carbonneau. “Rollie [Melanson] and I talked about how we would use Carey once he was called up, and having him sit on the bench for two weeks was not an option. He was sent down to see some action and now he’s back and he’s ready.”

The 20-year-old goalie is gunning for his 10th win of the season, which would be a league-high among rookie netminders. So far, Price is a perfect 3-0 against the Maple Leafs with a 2.27 goals against average and a stingy .939 save percentage, giving him all the more reason to smile.

“It’s awesome to be back and see all the guys again,” said Price. “I wasn’t surprised I was sent down to Hamilton in the first place. I knew I had to see more action and get my confidence back. I went down there with the right mindset, I think. My puck-tracking is back where it should be and I’m feeling really good. I know the pace will be faster, but I’ll adjust to that.”

In 10 games with the Calder Cup champion Bulldogs, Price picked up six wins, including one shutout. While head coach Don Lever was glad to have the AHL playoff MVP back in the ‘Dogs crease, Price has worn out his welcome in Steeltown.

“Just before I left for Montreal, Don wished me good luck,” revealed Price. “But he also said he hoped this would be the last time he sees me.”

Lever isn’t the only one.

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com