Going into the season, there were not any real expectations for the Montreal Canadiens.
This was a team that missed the playoffs, traded its captain Max Pacioretty, and had a roster that did not scream playoff hockey club. Rather, it looked like this would be a season to see which direction this team would be going in moving forward.
With all of that said, however, the Habs have actually been a great surprise this season. The team is third in the Atlantic Division with 61 points, which is just one point behind the second place Toronto Maple Leafs.
There have been several seasons for the team’s success. They are playing with a lot more speed, they work hard every single night, they have gotten some timely goal-scoring, and they are playing better defensively.
With that said, perhaps the main reason the Habs are doing well this season is because their franchise goaltender, Carey Price, has found his game in a big way. After dealing with various injuries over the last few seasons, Price looks healthy and has gotten his game to a point where he looks like his old self.
Price, 31, is currently 20-13-4 with a 2.56 goals-against average, a .915 save percentage, and three shutouts. These are great stats and what’s more is that these numbers could be even better by the time the end of the season comes around.
One reason why Price is playing well is because he his healthy. Yes, I realize he has missed a bit of time this season with some nagging injuries, but the time missed has not been significant and the fact that he has already played in 38 games this season.
When Price is healthy, there is no hesitation in his game. He moves fluidly, confidently, and is not afraid to extend himself to make a save.
Secondly, Price is playing with a ton of confidence right now. He is challenging shooters, he’s been in good position to stop first and second opportunities, he’s controlling his rebounds, and he looks completely calm.
When Price is on his game, he makes things look so easy. What may be a difficult save for any other netminder ends up being an easy one for Mr. Price.
Lastly, we have to remember that he is still Carey Price. This is a guy that has won over 300 career games, all in a Habs sweater, and is also a guy that dominated the 2014-15 NHL Awards.
In that particular season alone, Price won the following:
– Vezina Trophy as the league’s best netminder
– Hart Trophy as the league’s most valuable player
– Ted Lindsay Award as the league’s most valuable player as voted by the players
– William M. Jennings Trophy as the goaltender with the lowest goals-against average
Price is a world-class goaltender when he is healthy. He is confident, he does not allow many soft goals, and he is the most important player for this hockey club.
Not only is it great that Price has been great for the Canadiens, but it has been an absolute treat to watch a master back at work in the best way possible between the pipes.