At the end of any given night, no matter how badly the rest of the team plays, the fact is the Canadiens have the goaltender. Not A goaltender but THE goaltender. And that goaltender is playing like he was sent down to the Canadiens from a league far superior to the NHL, or perhaps sent from another world, a thought that might have crossed the minds of the Vancouver Canucks at times Wednesday night.
And just how other-worldly was Price in his 3-0 whitewashing of the Canucks. The first 27 minutes of the game was played almost entirely on his doorstep. Shots on goal 24-3. It was left it up to Price who was, forgive me for saying it – ‘other worldly’ again.
Forty-two saves for a shutout. Only three members of the Canucks failed to get a shot on him, all defensemen. Nine Canucks had three or more recorded shots. If you are a fan of the Corsi numbers the Canucks attempted 74 shots to the Canadiens 39. That is how territorially lopsided this game was. There’s only one goaltender in this world who can survive a night when his team mates are undergoing the beatdown being inflicted upon them by the Canucks.
But this is also the second straight game where the Canadiens have relied on Price for the victory. Saturday night when Price stopped 37 of 38 for the 2-1 win over Toronto. That’s one goal against in the last 80 shots he’s faced. For the record he now is 6-0-0, a 1.17GAA and a .964 save percentage. Other worldly.
When the Canadiens lacked energy in the game against Toronto Saturday night it was blamed on the fifth game in eight nights. Understandable.
When the Canadiens showed a described lack of focus and execution against Vancouver it was being blamed on the long three day layoff. Now what?
Maybe it was the disrupted circadian rythms of hockey. If so, it’s back to normal this weekend with two in 24 hours once again.
We’ve been saying since the beginning of the season that the fourth line has been the Canadiens best night-in nght-out. At times they seemed to be the only line that was operable in this game. The Galchenyuk line produced two of the three goals but there were a few wince creating moments from them too. When those given the job of selecting the three stars, named Torrey Mitchell as second behind Price. Mitchell scored the third goal, but the whole line was behind it starting with Brian Flynn grabbing up the turnover and sending it ahead to Phillip Danault and then that great pass for Mitchell. Mitchell has five goals now and the line is getting 12 or 13 minutes a game, which s rare for fourth liners..
Hard to find anyone that played consistently through the sixty minutes. Jeff Petry I thought had a fairly steady game. Nathan Beaulieu seemed to be in an out all game; sometimes brilliant and there were also a couple of giveaways that Price head to deal with.
Did you notice that Shea Weber was plus-2 again? He is now a league-leading plus-12 after his first 10 games with the Canadiens. But, the Canadiens hold down the top four spots in that category now. Galchenyuk and Gallagher were also plus-2 and Beaulieu plus-1. Weber is plus-12, Beaulieu plus-10; Galchenyuk and Gallagher at plus-9, When a team is 9-0-1 to start the season, a statistic like that might have been considered predictable.
ONE FROM THE ROOM –
Reporter : Beaulieu called this game a “wake-up call” for the team. Do you see it that way?
Carey Price – I’m pretty awake.
Beaulieu called this game a “wake-up call” for the team. Do you see it that way?
Price: I’m pretty awake
The Canadiens are in the fastest ten game start to their season in history with nineteen points in ten games. Last season, despite their record breaking 9-0-0 start, they lost the tenth game out in Vancouver and finished the segment with 18 points.
The Canadiens practice tomorrow morning before their charter to Columbus. They’ll play the Blue Jackets Friday night with Al Montoya in goal and back home against Flyers on Saturday.