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Goalie Cayden Primeau will be in a Canadiens uniform Tuesday when they play the New York Islanders at the Bell Centre (7 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio).
It seems unlikely Primeau will get the start ahead of Carey Price, but the 20-year-old will suit up for his first NHL game after he was called up from the AHL’s Laval Rocket Monday afternoon, along with forward Matthew Peca.
Earlier in the day, the Canadiens placed backup goalie Keith Kinkaid on NHL waivers. If Kinkaid clears waivers at noon Tuesday, he will report to the Rocket.
“It’s not kind of shocking when you have a team that has a tough time,” Price said after practice Monday in Brossard when asked about Kinkaid being placed on waivers. “I thought he played pretty well the last couple of starts, he just didn’t see the results. Right now, we need results.”
Kinkaid had a 1-1-3 record with a 4.24 goals-against average and an .875 save percentage with the Canadiens after signing a one-year, US$1.75-million contract on July 1.
Asked if the move might create a spark for the Canadiens, who are winless in their last eight games (0-5-3), Price said: “Yeah, I mean it’s always definitely a shakeup when you have a lineup change.”
Price has had his own struggles this season with a 10-9-3 record, a 3.18 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage.
“It’s definitely trying times for everybody,” Price said. “But, at the same time, I’ve gone through situations like this before and I know what it takes to get out of it and what not to do while you’re in it. You just kind of trust the process of working hard and trying to work smart and figure out solutions.”
After playing the Islanders, the Canadiens have back-to-back games Thursday night at the Bell Centre against the Colorado Avalanche and Friday night in New York against the Rangers, and it would seem likely Primeau will make his NHL debut in one of those games.
The Canadiens selected Primeau in the seventh round (199th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft and he won the Mike Richter Award last season as the top goalie in NCAA hockey after posting a 25-10-1 record during his sophomore year with Northeastern University, along with a 2.09 goals-against average, a .933 save percentage and four shutouts in 36 games. This season with the Rocket, Primeau has a 7-4-1 record with a 2.58 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.
Price is confident the Canadiens can get out of their current slump after playing better in their last two games — a 4-3 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday afternoon at the Bell Centre and a 3-1 loss to the Bruins Sunday night in Boston.
“You’re just trying to trust the process,” Price said. “You know if you work the right way, work smart and trust that, it’s going to turn around.
“We played well for the first dozen games of the season,” the goalie added. “We were playing really well, we were playing good hockey. We just need to get back to that. I think these last two games that we played were the styles of hockey that will make us successful on a more regular basis. We’ve just got to keep going with that.
“We’re all trying to win. We’re all trying to play our best,” Price continued. “We’re all trying to demand the most of ourselves. So I don’t think there’s any external pressure that’s greater than the internal pressure that we feel on ourselves. We just need to continue playing like we did the last two games. Like I said earlier, if we just keep doing that, we’re going to find success.”
This is the Canadiens’ longest losing streak since they had nine consecutive losses from Dec. 16, 1939-Jan. 6, 1940. The longest losing streak in Canadiens history is 12 games, from Feb. 13-March 13, 1926.
The current losing streak is bringing back more recent memories from two seasons ago, when the Canadiens were winless in seven straight games (0-6-1) from Oct. 7-20 and ended up finishing 28th in the overall NHL standings.
“Yeah, it does (bring back memories),” Price said. “But I think some of the guys that were in this room (back then) learned from that and know that nobody’s going to feel sorry for us or hand us anything. So we need to go back out there and earn it.”
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