Price: We weren’t ready
MONTREAL — In the first two games of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in Boston, Montreal goaltender Carey Price looked virtually invincible. He had a shutout in the opener and surrendered just one goal in Game 2 Saturday. On the other hand, his counterpart, Bruins netminder Tim Thomas, looked ordinary.
Last night in Game 3 at the Bell Centre, Price and the Canadiens had an off night and the Bruins played substantially better on the way to a 4-2 victory. Montreal has a 2-1 series lead, with Game 4 Thursday night.
Price, who had 21 saves, said the Habs weren’t prepared out of the gate.
“They came out strong,’’ Price said. “For the first half of the game, they carried the play. Then I thought after they scored that third goal, I thought we carried the play for the majority of that second [half]. Then we played like we should have the first half.’’
Price had a sense that the slow start might have been caused by a comfort level as a result of being up by a pair of games.
“We needed to be ready to go, especially a game like tonight because [the Bruins] were down two games,’’ Price said. “We knew they were coming out hard and we just weren’t ready for it. We talked about it before the game but we just seemed kind of expecting like it was going to just happen for us, so next game we’ve got to go out and get it.
“I don’t think we were as focused as we were in Boston. On game days, we’re going to have to make sure we’re preparing the whole day and the night before. It’s all about preparation at this time of year.’’
Price thought that might have happened to the Bruins last season in the playoffs when they were leading the Flyers by three games only to lose four straight in the second round.
“When you’ve got a team down, you’ve got to step on their throat. You can’t let them back up,’’ Price said.
So, despite the disappointment, Price said there was a lesson to be learned.
“They’re a good hockey team and they’re not going to roll over for us,’’ he said. “We have to continue to play the way we played in Boston. We knew things weren’t always going to go our way. Adversity is faced by every team in the playoffs. We take it for what it is and get set for the next one.’’
The Canadiens have been given today off.
“I think it’s going to be a good day to refocus and really reset everything,’’ Price said. “We knew it was going to be a long, hard-fought series.’’
He expects the Bruins to play Game 4 like they did last night.
“They were definitely buzzing in the first half of that hockey game,’’ Price said. “They created a lot of opportunities off their forecheck. I thought we were all kind of sitting back on our heels at the start of the game. I think next game we’ve got to come out and make sure we’re focused for the start.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at email@example.com.