Montreal Canadiens fans haven't had much to cheer about lately, but on Thursday the team's star goalie offered them a glimmer of hope.

Carey Price smiled often — and even broke out in laughter a few times — in a meeting with reporters after facing shots for the first time since a lower-body injury three months ago. 

Watch highlights of the news conference in the video player above.

Price has been out of action with a lower-body injury since Nov. 25 and has seen the Canadiens drift out of playoff contention after the team started the year with nine consecutive victories.

"Given the position we're in, it doesn't change anything," he told a news conference on Thursday. "I love playing hockey and I want to get out there as quickly as possible. . . I'm going to play regardless. I'd rather do it sooner than later. 

He said he "felt great" and is "pretty confident" he will back in nets for the Habs this season.

with files from Canadian Press