In the Habs Room: ‘We’re going to keep building for next year,’ says St. Louis

The Montreal coach says he’s proud of his team’s effort despite losing 2-0 to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night at the Bell Center.

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The Canadiens have lost six straight, but coach Martin St. Louis said his team is still struggling.

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“It would be easy to pack it up, but we haven’t,” St. Louis said after a 2-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. “I’m looking at our last nine periods (and) against the Islanders, we were very good from start to finish. Against Washington, we had a really good midgame and tonight, minus the first five or six minutes, we were really good.

“The guys have bought into what we’re doing and the guys understand how important these reps are to them,” St. Louis said. “Collectively, we’re managing their spirits pretty well because nobody likes to lose. We are going to fight until the end, we are going to continue building for next year”.

One not-so-young boy preparing for the upcoming season is goalkeeper Carey Price, 34, who made only his second appearance of the season.

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“I felt a lot more grounded, I’m getting there,” Price said after making 28 saves. I’m starting to feel like it’s a lot less chaotic out there. Anyone who’s been out for a long time knows that you’re not looking at it like you normally would, picking things up like you would. I definitely feel like I’m slowing down the game.”

Price said it was important for him to come back and play some games before the season was over to regain his confidence and experience the conditions of the game.

“The form of the game is really one thing,” he said. “But I feel like I managed in my spare time to prepare for this. There are definitely times where you maybe feel a little out of breath, but you feel that way anyway.”

Price took advantage of a television timeout to chat with his young daughter Millie.

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“She was wondering why they were shoveling the ice,” Price said.

Price said he likes the way the Canadiens have been playing against him.

“I think in the last two games that I’ve been in, we’re playing very well. We are pushing the puck up off the ice, using our speed where we are at our best. I thought sorting out our reviews and killing plays was better tonight than the last game.”

But like the last game, there were no Montreal goals. Price noted that the Canadiens had chances and also noted that Montreal faced two good goaltenders in Ilya Sorokin of the Islanders and Cam Talbot of the Wild, who made 26 saves for the shutout.

“It would be nice to score goals for Carey for sure and it’s not like we’re not trying or the effort isn’t there,” St. Louis insisted.

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Paul Byron’s season is in jeopardy. He did not return to the bench after the first intermission and the team said he suffered an upper body injury.

St. Louis said Byron has been upset about the injury for a few weeks. However, it was too early to tell if the fast winger would have to end the rest of the campaign.

“He fights every day to play. He wants to be with the team. He’s a competitive player and it’s hard not to be able to count on him 100 percent,” St. Louis said of Byron.

phickey@postmedia.com

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