With Price struggling, Budaj gets nod for Habs versus Pens

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We already mentioned this at the bottom of yesterday’s post on Carey Price, but here it is again: the Canadiens will start backup goalie Peter Budaj tonight in Pittsburgh after back-to-back nightmare outings for Price.

“The team has two good goalies and we see ourselves using both,” Habs coach Michel Therrien said yesterday.

With a couple of weeks to go before the playoffs, there’s plenty of time for Price to settle down and get back in a groove. But there’s also a tiny bit of panic creeping into a fanbase that’s been very pleasantly surprised with its team in 2013.

Price’s teammates are taking a predictable tack, pointing out that Price isn’t the only one who needs to improve

“We’re not coming out of our end clean, together, so we’re not able to get good chips, good dumps for the forecheck,” said Montreal captain Brian Gionta, per QMI Agency. “When you don’t get that, they come out clean and you end up playing in your own end a lot more. When you’re in your own end, there’s going to be breakdowns and we’ve had too many of those lately.”

But it’s not that Price has been below average the past two games — he’s allowed nine goals on 33 shots. A couple of the goals were very stoppable. It’s been ugly.

Price could be back between the pipes Thursday when the Habs host Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning.