Jun 1, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT
The memory of the Montreal Canadiens being eliminated is still fresh in Carey Price‘s mind and despite a strong showing from rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski, it would be understandable if Price was privately wondering if he could have saved Montreal had Chris Kreider not crashed into him during Game 1.
It has to be an especially bitter pill for Price to swallow because he was confident that he could have returned had Montreal defeated the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final.
None of that detracts from the fact that this was an incredibly positive campaign for Price.
“This team played so well in front of me all season,” Price said, per NHL.com. “I was really fortunate to be selected and be able to represent my country [at the Olympics] and I had an awesome time. It was a great opportunity to do that. And the guys in this locker room during this playoff run, it was really fun to play with these guys.
“This is the tightest group we’ve ever had. It’s sad to have it come to an end right now, but we have to look forward to next year.”
Going into this season, Price had already assembled some strong campaigns, but his success had been largely limited to the regular season. In 2013-14, he proved that he was capable of standing tall in big games.
Price posted a 0.59 GAA and .972 save percentage in five contests to help Canada capture the gold in the 2014 Winter Games. He was also one of the main reasons Montreal made it to the Eastern Conference Final with a 2.35 GAA and .919 save percentage in 12 contests.
It’s fair to say that both Price and Montreal defied expectations in the playoffs and have consequently set the bar higher going forward. Price certainly wants to meet those heightened standards and will be using this tough defeat as extra motivation going into his summer training program.
“You need to find a way to get that little bit extra,” Price said.
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