Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price will miss the club’s season opener in Buffalo on Thursday due to a virus, according to TVA Sport’s Renaud Lavoie.

The news comes as a blow, albeit a minor one, to Montreal fans hoping to see the star back between the pipes this season after he missed the last 59 games of the 2015-16 campaign with a knee injury, triggering something of an implosion for the organisation after he went down in November. The Canadiens ultimately missed the play-offs by 14 points, with goaltenders Mike Condon and Ben Scrivens heavily criticised for their play in the All Star’s absence.

Now a perennial Vezina Trophy candidate, Price appeared in good shape during the recent World Cup of Hockey, posting a 0.957 save percentage with a 1.40 goals-against average in five games as Team Canada took gold at the fall tournament in Toronto.

The 29-year-old may return to the lineup for Sunday’s trip to Ottawa, with Montreal’s home opener not scheduled until Wednesday, Oct. 19 when defending champions Pittsburgh visit the Bell Centre.

In Price’s absence, new signing Al Montoya is likely to get his first start for the franchise, after signing a one-year, $950,000 deal with the Canadiens on July 1.