Rookie Price shows promise in Canadiens' win over Penguins

This story has been corrected. Read below

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Carey Price needed only one game to evoke memories of Patrick Roy.

Matching the rest of Roy's Hall of Fame career will certainly be tougher.

"It hasn't really hit me yet," said the 20-year-old Price who earned a victory in his NHL debut. "It's pretty exciting."

Mark Recchi had two assists and Ryan Whitney and Maxime Talbot scored for Pittsburgh.

"The kid played pretty well, obviously made some big saves," Whitney said. "He won the game for them."

Price's NHL debut was an event that was highly anticipated across Canada after he earned national fame by leading Canada to the World Junior Championship last season, earning MVP honors in the process. The former No. 5 overall pick of the Canadiens also was goaltender of the year in major junior hockey last season and then led Hamilton to the American Hockey League championship last spring.

Price said he was more relaxed for Wednesday's game than he had been at the World Junior tournament or in the AHL Calder Cup finals.

"If you look at the way he played in the past, like in the World Juniors, he played really well and in Hamilton... when it was time to close a series, he was there and played well," Montreal coach Gui Carbonneau said. "And tonight was one of those games."

Price, who was taken four spots behind Penguins star Sidney Crosby at the 2005 draft, stopped the reigning NHL scoring champion at least twice during a flurry in front of his net and made a save on Erik Christensen from close range early in the second for two of his best stops.

"I thought he really looked confident," Montreal captain Saku Koivu said. "And if he was nervous he didn't show it at all. We took some penalties in the first period so he had to get into the game right away, and he made some key saves, kept us in the game."

Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury -- himself a No. 1 overall pick in 2003 -- was just as solid as Price early, including stoning Christopher Higgins from the slot four minutes into the second.

The first goal Price allowed wasn't a soft one. Whitney picked up a loose puck in front of the net while on the power play. Crosby had gone right at Price, skating from behind the goal line to the left of Price seven minutes into the second period. Recchi tried to jam the puck home, and Crosby was pushed by Montreal defenseman Roman Hamerlik into Price, who fell over, leaving an open net for Whitney.

"I know that Crosby got pushed but he never made an effort to go away from the blue paint," Carbonneau said. "They really interfered with our goalie."

Plekanec tied the game at 1 when he fired a slap shot past Fluery's glove hand while on the power play with 6:53 left the second.

It was Plekanec's first goal of the season, and ex-Penguin Alexei Kovalev earned his first less than four minutes later when his wrist shot got past Fleury to make it 2-1 Montreal.

"We kind of let up there for 10 minutes in the second," Talbot said. "And that killed our momentum and killed us at the end."

Markov scored what would ultimately be the game-winner 2:51 into the third period when he fired an open wrist shot past Fleury on a rebound. But the Penguins got that goal back 57 seconds later when Talbot converted off a pretty no-look backhand pass from Evgeni Malkin, who was behind the net.

Price stopped Crosby and Gary Roberts on consecutive opportunities with about three minutes to play and withheld a strong Penguins' charge with their goalie pulled in the final minute to preserve the victory.

Game notes
Thursday is the 40th anniversary of the first game in Penguins franchise history. Montreal defeated Pittsburgh 3-1 on Oct. 11, 1967. The Penguins aired a small video tribute to the occasion. ... Montreal C Kyle Chipchura also made his NHL debut. ... Kovalev, Markov and Koivu each have at least one point in each game this season. ... Malkin has a three-game assist streak. ... Penguins D Darryl Sydor played his 1,100th NHL game.

In an Oct. 10 Associated Press game recap of the Montreal-Pittsburgh game, the date of Patrick Roy's NHL debut was incorrectly given. Roy played 20 minutes in a Feb. 25, 1985 game against Winnipeg. His first career start was the next season against Pittsburgh, 22 years before Price made his first start.