(Reuters) - The Montreal Canadiens will be without their best player for another three to four weeks as goalie Carey Price's recovery from a lower-body injury is taking longer than expected, the National Hockey League team said on Thursday.
Price, the NHL's reigning Most Valuable Player and Vezina Trophy winner as the top goalie, has not had any setbacks in his rehabilitation but the recovery was going slower than expected.
"We have to find a way to win without Carey Price," Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin told reporters. "That's a fact."
Since losing Price to injury nearly two months ago, Montreal have been in a freefall, going from a seven-point lead in the Atlantic Division to one point behind New Jersey for the final wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Price suffered a lower-body injury during a game in late October that forced him to miss nine games. He was in his third game back from that injury when he was again forced out of the Canadiens lineup.
The 28-year-old Price, who won a gold medal with Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, is 10-2 with a 2.06 goals against average and .934 save percentage in 12 games this season.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Larry Fine)