Carey Price made his long-awaited return to the Montreal Canadiens but Ilya Sorokin and the New York Islanders had the last laugh.
The Bell Centre crowd acclaimed Price in his return between the pipes from the second he jumped on the ice for warmups all the way to the final buzzer. Price gave up two goals on 19 shots but Canadiens fans kept cheering following every save.
At the other side of the ice, Sorokin saw most of the action playing on the second night of back-to-back games. Sorokin had blocked 30 shots by the second intermission, more than his 22-save tally in Thursday night’s 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
WATCH | Islanders ruin Price’s return with shutout victory:
After two scoreless periods, the Islanders threw a cold shower onto Habs fans by breaking the ice and ruining Price’s shutout.
Corey Schueneman turned the puck over in the offensive zone, leading New York on the rush. Matt Barzal combined with Parise at 4:25 of the third period for New York’s first goal of the game.
The floodgates opened for the visitors at 6:09 when Dobson beat Price with a shot from the right faceoff circle.
Nelson added the late empty-netter, sealing the Islanders’ 3-0 win.
Prior to the game, the Canadiens organization recognized Islanders great and Montreal native Mike Bossy, who passed away late Thursday, with a tribute and moment of silence.
WATCH | Canadiens hold moment of silence for Islander great Mike Bossy:
Price’s long-awaited return
Price, who hasn’t played since Game 5 of the 2021 Stanley Cup final on July 7, spent months recovering from off-season knee surgery.
In January, Price spoke with the Montreal media for the first time in six months and said he was hopeful he could return to the lineup before the end of the season, but admitted there was a possibility his career could be in jeopardy.
“There’s a saying that champions are built when no one is looking,” St. Louis said Friday. “A player’s success, for the fans, is judged on the ice, but the player has to do a lot of things to be successful on the ice — often alone, when no one is watching or cheering him on.”
Price, from Anahim Lake, B.C., has spent his entire 14-season NHL career with the Habs. The seven-time all-star was named the NHL’s most valuable player and top goaltender in 2015.
Montreal sits in last place in the National Hockey League with seven games remaining and has surrendered a league-high 287 goals this season.
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