“If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will...”
Habs fans will undoubtedly be thrilled with this result. The victory snapped a five-game losing skid, and should help erase remaining doubts about Price’s progress in his return from injury.
Price faced 40 shots in regulation and five more in overtime, giving up only a screened wrister from the league’s leading goal-scorer, Nikita Kucherov (86), in the second period.
Price then delivered a virtuoso performance in the shootout, first stopping Brayden Point with a nifty glove save...
... followed by an aggressive challenge that forced Kucherov to miss the net wide blocker side...
... and capped off by his stymie of Steven Stamkos’ glove side attempt.
Price has now won two shootouts this season without giving up a goal.
Oh, right. I forgot something. Early in the overtime, he also made a save that might get some highlight show coverage.
It’s worth watching as many replays as possible.
The inspiration for this remarkable recovery save can be traced to the barrel rolls of the great Dominik Hasek.
While the textbook shootout technique and overtime highlight reel save will receive most of the attention, two other overtime saves are worth closer examination.
The first is the save that preceded the barrel roll recovery.
Ondrej Palat (18) carries the puck wide left into the offensive zone, and Tyler Johnson (9) outraces Jonathan Drouin up the center lane to create a 2-on-1 against Jeff Petry. Palat makes his pass just above the top of the circle.
Johnson receives the puck in the high right slot and releases a wrist shot from the hash marks, labeled for the short side top corner.
Price makes a strong push to his left, on his skates, to defend Johnson’s chance.
He then plants his left inside skate edge, and drops his right pad to the ice. While his counterclockwise upper body rotation does pull his left shoulder “off” the puck, this half butterfly technique is commonly used to create short side vertical blocking coverage.
Price doesn’t just attempt to catch this shot, though. In response to Johnson’s glove side roof attempt, Price makes an aggressive vertical windmill move. He raises up his left hand and shoulder, elevating his lower body from his right knee and releasing his left skate.
This aggressive move extends Price out of the crease to his left, leading to his subsequent desperation save. Price is well aware of the magnitude of the moment, though, and this technique shows a total commitment to stopping Johnson from scoring a game-ending goal on the initial odd-man rush.
A few minutes later in overtime, Price makes another impressive save.
As Palat emerges from the below the goal line, Price remains on his skates and does a quick head check for additional threats.
He tracks the long cross-ice pass to Johnson, rotating his shoulders to the left before dropping his left pad to seal the ice.
Seeing Johnson receive the pass and prepare to shoot, Price re-engages his right inside edge.
This allows him to complete a strong push across to the left post, and leverage his right inside edge, his left hip, and his left knee to raise his upper body, maintaining a forward lean to cover the vertical angle. Johnson’s shot hits him in the left chest, and Alex Galchenyuk clears the rebound.
These two saves are equally as impressive as Price’s Hasek-channeling barrel roll, though admittedly less dramatic. Simply put, Habs fans bore witness to inspiring goaltending on Thursday night.
Confident anticipation, patient skating, precise positional adjustment with powerful lower body support, and the ability to summon the spectacular with his team in desperate need of a victory.
In other words, this was Carey Price at his absolute best.