Canadiens owner believes Carey Price close to returning

Sid goes off on the Montreal Canadiens and how they're handling Carey Price's injury, and if they're even being honest about it in the first place.

MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson isn’t concerned about starting goaltender Carey Price.

“I think he’s doing better and better and his lower-body injury is healing,” said Molson from the Bell Centre, during the team’s annual blood drive on Monday. “I ran into him Saturday night. He was in a good mood, and I don’t think he’s far off from returning to play.”

Price had a 30-minute practice session with Canadiens goaltending coach Stephane Waite Monday. He resumed skating early last week for the first time since suffering a suspected knee injury against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, Nov. 2.

In 11 starts this season, Price is 3-7-1 and has an .877 save percentage and a 3.77 goals-against average. In his five-game absence, the Canadiens have gone 4-1, with third-string goaltender Charlie Lindgren accounting for three of the wins and posting a .964 save percentage and a 1.24 goals-against average.

Canadiens coach Claude Julien was asked after Monday’s practice if Lindgren’s strong play affords the Canadiens the luxury of not rushing Price back into action.

“Price will be back as soon as he’s ready to be back,” Julien said in French. “Lindgren’s play is not a factor in the equation.”

No update was provided Monday on Canadiens backup Al Montoya, who was diagnosed with a concussion last Friday. As a result, Zachary Fucale, who was recalled from the AHL’s Laval Rocket on an emergency basis, remains with the Canadiens.

The Canadiens will be home to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Arizona Coyotes and Toronto Maple Leafs for games this week. Lindgren is expected to start against Columbus on Tuesday.