Price gave up a season-high six goals as the Canadiens lost 6-5 in overtime to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
“Lets just cut to the chase really,” said Price, who made 25 saves. “I just didnt play very good tonight.”
The 31-year-old saw his save percentage drop to .892 and his goals-against-average soar to 3.07. The Canadiens goaltender has a 5-5-2 record this season. Hes given up at least three goals in eight games this season.
“Its all upstairs,” said Price, who earns $10.5 million per year for the next eight seasons. “I gotta figure it out.
With the game tied 5-5, Rasmus Ristolainen scored 1:38 into overtime with a slap shot that blew right past Price after a failed 3-on-1 for the Canadiens at the other end. It was the only shot in overtime.
Price failed to control a rebound in his crease when Vladimir Sobotka put Buffalo ahead 2-1 at 14:40 of the first period.
After giving up three goals on the games first 12 shots, some Bell Centre fans cheered sarcastically when Price made an easy save on a trickling puck.
In the second period, Price couldnt find the puck after Jack Eichels shot hit the post — an easy goal for Jeff Skinner as the Sabres went up 4-3.
“If anything he needs to feel like we have his back and we do,” said Claude Julien of Price. “We know how good he can be. He needs to know that his coach and his coaching staff are behind him and believe in him and theres no reason not to with what hes accomplished.
“Unfortunately that position is one that you can really pinpoint. Thats the sad part of a goaltenders position. Were looking towards him when the rest of our team wasnt any better.”
The Canadiens (8-5-3), which were coming a 5-3 defeat to the New York Rangers, lost two consecutive games for the first time this season.
“Especially on the road, its tough when you give goals right back because you work so hard for that lead,” said Skinner. “It was one of those games where you had to stick with it and sooner or later somebody on the team would step up with a big play.”
Buffalo went up 1-0 through Sobotkas first at 6:08 before Jonathan Drouin equalized on a 2-on-1 with Max Domi at 9:14.
After Sobotka made it 2-1, Montreal tied it up just 10 seconds later when Matthew Peca netted his first in a Canadiens uniform on a bank shot from behind the net.
Conor Sheary, playing his 200th NHL game, made it 3-2 at 15:52 before Andrew Shaw jumped on a loose puck in the crease to tie the game 34 seconds later.
Tomas Tatar got Montreal level again with his sixth of the season at 10:17 on another 2-on-1 with Domi, who registered three assists and extended his point streak to five games.
After tying the game four times, the Canadiens took their first lead when Nicolas Deslauriers scored a short-handed goal – his first of the season – when he beat Linus Ullmark between the pads at 18:03 of the second.
Ullmark gave up five goals on 32 shots after two periods. Carter Hutton, in relief, made fives saves in the third.
“That was a really bad game,” said Ristolainen. “You cant have those games. This game is going to make us tighter and were going to grow as a group. An ugly win.”
MONTREAL — Rasmus Ristolainen scored at 1:38 of overtime to give the Buffalo Sabres a 6-5 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Thursday.
Ristolainen drove the right side and scored on a slapshot. It was his fourth regular-season overtime goal, a record for Buffalo defensemen.
Jeff Skinner and Vladimir Sobotka each had two goals, and Conor Sheary scored for the Sabres (8-6-2), who blew four one-goal leads.
“I thought that through the lineup it was good that we stuck with it,” said Buffalo forward Jack Eichel, who had two assists. “I didnt think it was our best game overall but sometimes youre not going to play a clean game and youve got to find a way to win, and we did that.”
Linus Ullmark made 27 saves on 32 shots in the first two periods. Carter Hutton made five saves in the third and overtime.
“We didnt look clean and our execution wasnt very good,” Sabres coach Phil Housley said. “But at the same time, you know, were down 5-4 in the third period in somebody elses building, we find a way to tie it up and win it in overtime, so weve got to recognize some things weve got to buckle down, but I give our guys a lot of credit for battling through that and finding a way to win.”
Jonathan Drouin, Matthew Peca and Nicolas Deslauriers each had a goal and an assist, and Max Domi had three assists for Montreal (8-5-3), which lost consecutive games for the first time. Carey Price made 25 saves.
“Lets just cut to the chase, I just didnt play very good tonight,” said Price, who has allowed at least four goals in his past four starts.
“Unfortunately, that position is one that you can really pinpoint because weve got players that can play really bad one night, but because theyre surrounded by other players around them it doesnt show as much,” Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. “Thats the sad part of a goaltenders position is that, as you can see, were looking more at him when the rest of our team wasnt any better.”
“They had a lot of Grade A scoring chances and sometimes when youre giving those up you hang your goalie out to dry a little bit,” Peca said.
Rodrigues set up Sobotkas second goal, his third of the season, to make it 2-1 at 14:40. Peca scored 10 seconds later to tie it at 2-2.
Sheary made it 3-2 at 15:52 with his sixth goal in his 200th NHL game. Andrew Shaw tied it at 3-3 at 16:26.
Skinner gave Buffalo a 4-3 lead at 5:34 of the second, but Tomas Tatar scored his third goal in two games at 10:17 to tie it at 4-4.
“That was a pretty bad game, you know, you cant have those games. But I think this games going to make us tighter and were going to grow as a group here. We got a pretty ugly win, grind it out, a big two points, and learn from it.” — Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen
“Its all upstairs. Ive got to figure it out.” — Canadiens goalie Carey Price about his recent struggles
“I think if anything he needs to feel that weve got his back, and we do. We know how good he can be.” — Canadiens coach Claude Julien on Price
Housley and Tyler Myers each scored three overtime goals for the Sabres. … Skinner has 16 points (10 goals, six assists) in his past 10 games. … Eichel has 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in his past six games. … Buffalo forward Jason Pominville has 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in his past nine games. … Montreal forward Joel Armia did not play. He will miss six to eight weeks because of a knee injury he sustained Tuesday. … Domi has eight points (four goals, four assists) in a five-game point streak.