Over my decades of covering the NHL I have seen some great goaltenders. In Montreal Ken Dryden and then Patrick Roy, New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur. But the only one that had the ability to carry his team on his back the way Carey Price has been doing for the Canadiens the last couple of seasons was four-time Vezina winner Dominik Hasek n Buffalo and then in Detroit where he won a couple of Stanley Cups.
Tuesday night Price was again channeling his best Dominik Hasek as he faced 43 shots in a 3-2 win over the Bruins.
I hate to dwell on numbers but regarding Price it’s unavoidable. In his last four starts he has faced 38, 42, 38 and 43 shots and given up only seven goals. In those four game shots on goal totaled 161-78 and Price’s save percentage over that stretch is .956. So what else is new?
For the record Price has now won his last 13 starts at the Bell Centre. This was his eleventh win in a row over all and his 21st of the last 23 starts. He has beaten Boston nine straight games and has won 18 consecutive starts against Eastern Conference clubs. Hasek won two Hart Trophies to go with his four Vezina’s. How many will have Price won when he finally calls it a career.
I don’t know how long it’s going to continue but enjoy it while you can. You will never see better goaltending than what Price is giving Montreal right now.
Alex Galchenyuk and Alexander Radulov have a great thing going. It’s the kind of chemistry we haven’t seen around Montreal in a few years. With Paul Byron the line produced two of the three goals including Byron’s game winner with 1:02 remaining. Radulov seems to be the wheelman. He is primary on seven of his eight assists. His pass to Galchenyuk to give the Canadiens a 2-1 lead seconds after Boston had tied the game was another of his works of art. On the winning goal it was Radulov who got the puck into the crease and, interesting to note that both Galchenyuk and then 5’8” Byron both outmuscled Zdeno Chara to get the puck into the net.
If ever there was a team ripe for a five game losing streak it’s the Canadiens. Outside of their first line, the team is an offensive mess. I have no idea how Max Pacioretty is going to get out of the depression into which his game has sunk. Although he can help out defensively, the Canadiens need goals from him and at this point of the season he’s not skating, he’s creating little and appears to be a lost soul. I’m not sure playing with Tomas Plekanec is the right fit, but who else? David Desharnais is having similar problems.
….Greg Pateryn had a rough second period and found himself with only two shifts in the third period. We might see Joel Hanley in the lineup Thursday against LA.
….But for one sequence in the second period, not much was apparent from Daniel Carr in his first game since coming back up from St. John’s. He did register three hits.
….In a rarity for a Bruins game, the Canadiens actually outhit Boston 26-23. Andrew Shaw led with four.
….Shea Weber scored another power play goal but the Canadiens gave up another one as well, the seventh power play goal against them in the last three games after giving up only four the first ten games.
….Torrey Mitchell won 9 of 15 faceoffs (60%) including a very big one deep in his own end against Patrice Bergeron in the final minute with the Bruins goaltender out for the extra attacker.
MOVING ON –
The Canadiens are 11-1-1, mostly because of the other-worldly play of Carey Price. There are plenty of issues that have to be addressed with this team. The work ethic was at least part of their game against the Bruins but, at the moment hard as they might be working, not much is being accomplished. Next up, the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night and then Detroit Saturday night and in Chicago Sunday.
Not getting easier.