A preseason message from the longtime NHL coach, who died Friday after a long battle against cancer, may have played a role in getting the young Montreal goalie’s promising career back on track.
“He was a special person. He did a lot of great things in this league and for both teams, and he’s definitely in all of our hearts,” said Price, who made 30 saves for his fourth shutout of the season to help lead Montreal to a 2-0 win over Toronto on Saturday night.
Price said he was really touched by a message Burns had transmitted to him via Canadiens assistant coach Kirk Muller before the season started, one that he did not care to divulge.
The Canadiens showed their confidence in Price, who they drafted fifth overall in 2005, when they traded Halak to St. Louis in the offseason.
Price recorded his eighth career shutout, and third in six games, against the Maple Leafs.
Price began and ended Montreal’s previous four-game winning streak with shutouts, including a 41-save effort in a 3-0 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday, one day after he was named the NHL’s first star of the week.
“It’s a shame that we couldn’t get a couple of goals for him and give him a little bit more support, but Monster was tremendous tonight,” Komisarek said.
A moment of silence was observed prior to the game for Burns, who coached both the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs and was commemorated in a video tribute on the Bell Centre scoreboard.
Fans of both teams cheered at different points as the Beatles’ “In My Life” played while clips from the three-time NHL coach-of-the-year’s career were shown. The last image shown was of Burns hoisting the Stanley Cup as New Jersey’s coach in 2003, which drew a loud ovation.
“It brings back a lot of great memories,” said Canadiens captain Brian Gionta(notes), who played for Burns as a member of that Devils championship team. “And to be a part of it, especially with a guy like that and with your teammates, you’re tight with those guys to the end.”
Halpern gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead with a short-handed goal midway through the second, just moments after Price made a big glove save on Kris Versteeg’s(notes) power-play shot from the slot. Cammalleri scored with the man advantage 7:55 into the third.
Gustavsson made 29 saves in the Maple Leafs’ 3-1 win over New Jersey on Thursday, two nights after taking over for Giguere, who was forced to leave in the third period of Toronto’s comeback win over Nashville because of a strained groin.
The big Swede came up with a number of key saves early as Montreal held a 17-10 margin in shots during a scoreless first.
Versteeg got the puck in the slot early in the ensuing power play, but the Montreal goalie stuck out his glove to snare his shot.
Cammalleri put Montreal up by two in the third when he intercepted Komisarek’s pass and beat Gustavsson from the slot for his sixth goal.
“It’s a tough play,” Komisarek said. “I tried to hit the guy in the middle and he sort of passed in between both our guys. It was the right play, I’ve just got to execute it a little bit better. Nothing you can do about it now.”
Notes: Burns, whose funeral will be held Nov. 29 in Montreal, guided the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup final as a rookie NHL head coach in 1988-89. He went 174-104-42 in four seasons in Montreal. Burns had a 133-107-41 mark in four seasons from 1992-96 with the Maple Leafs, who reached the Western Conference final in each of his first two seasons in Toronto. … G James Reimer(notes) backed up Gustavsson for a second straight game. … Price did not have a shutout last season.