Saturday night, we saw vintage Carey Price. But, what if it isn’t vintage Carey Price. Maybe it’s simply Carey Price again.
The game against the Boston Bruins was his seventh start of the season, and he is now eighth in save percentage in the NHL among goaltenders with at least six starts, and he moved into fifth in goals against average.
He made 33 saves on Saturday to pass Patrick Roy for his 290th win as a Montreal Canadien and is now 24 wins behind Jacques Plante for top spot all time. And he did so with a shutout.
Thirty three saves. Passing Patrick Roy. With a shutout on a Saturday night in Boston. Yes, he did allow a goal that was called back. But if the offside was called at the time it happened, the shot doesn’t even get off the stick. Sometimes things just find a way to work themselves out.
The team got off to a great start, scoring two first period goals, and yes, they may have sat back a bit more than most would have liked, but that’s what Price is for. He stood tall like he needed to.
In his seven starts this season, Price has allowed two or fewer goals four times - all Canadiens wins. Last season, in the worst of his career he did that only 21 times in 48 starts. And of those 21 times, the team lost eight times.
Entering the season, everybody thought it would only be Carey Price who could save the Canadiens. But most of the time this season Price hasn’t had to be Carey Price in the way he was years ago, stealing games. In those four games allowing two goals or less, Saturday was the first time he had to make more than 25 saves.
Speed and quick puck movement is a system that fits the Canadiens, and has led to a 6-2-2 start. It’s also a system that fits Price himself.
There was a lot of concern about his huge contract extension starting right after the worst year of his career. But so far — and yes it’s still early — so good.
It hasn’t been Carey Price saving the Canadiens. So far this season, maybe the Canadiens have also saved Price. Like I said, sometimes things just find a way to work themselves out.