Carey Price returns to the Montreal Canadiens lineup tonight as they face the Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Price has not dressed in a Habs sweater since February 8th, a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Price then left for Sochi, Russia where he led Team Canada to an Olympic Gold Medal by posting consecutive shutouts in the semi-final and final game of the tournament over the United States and Sweden.
Price was playing the best hockey of his season when he last suited up for the Canadiens. Price had not let in more than two goals in his last six starts, including a pair of shutouts, and helped the Habs collect nine of a possible 12 points before the two week NHL break.
Without Price, the Habs have only been able to piece together a 3-4-1 record, as Peter Budaj struggled to be the number one man in the crease. Montreal has lost four of their last five, and even though they have struggled to score in that stretch, goaltending has shoulder most of the blame for the struggles.
The Habs have a 18-11-5 record as the host this season, and will put that to the test against the Ottawa Senators who 15-13-6 on the road.
Ottawa is becoming desperate for points as they have slipped in the standings and are five points back of the Philadelphia Flyers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They will be well rested as they have not played since losing 4-3 in overtime to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.
Ottawa picked up Ales Hemsky at the trade deadline and he has paid dividends already in the team’s three games since the acquisition. He helped the Sens defeat the Winnipeg Jets with a three assist performance, and put up another trio of helpers in the overtime loss to Nashville.
This will be the fourth of five meetings between the division rivals this season. The Senators currently lead the season series with a pair of wins and an overtime loss.