He has not had the best season, but on Sunday night, those who wanted Carey Price to steal a game finally got what they were asking for.
Price made 37 saves, including 13 while shorthanded, and he kept the Montreal Canadiens in the game long enough for Tomas Tatar to tip Jeff Petry’s shot past Corey Crawford for a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
A parade to the penalty box, for both teams, led to under seven minutes of even strength hockey in the third period and even that included some play with Chicago’s net empty. But Montreal’s penalty kill did the job and killed four penalties in the third period and seven of the eight chances for the game.
Price wasn’t alone. Shea Weber played over eight minutes shorthanded, David Schlemko and Petry played over seven. Up front, Michael Chaput played more shorthanded (7:32) than he did at even strength. Phillip Danault, Artturi Lehkonen, and Paul Byron played big minutes as well.
Montreal’s penalty kill is now 18th in the league at 79%.
In the end, it was a team effort that got the job done as the Canadiens defence bent but didn’t break. And for his exploits while the team was shorthanded, Price’s biggest save may have come just before Tatar’s winning goal.
It was the third straight win for Price and the Canadiens, and the third straight game allowing two goals. In his last six starts, he has allowed two goals in five of them, and had a save percentage over .900. He is 4-2-0 in those starts as well.
The Canadiens are back to their winning ways, and a big part of that is Price’s improved play. He said that he had to be better, and he has been so far.
All of a sudden his goals against average is under 3.00 and his save percentage is over .900. The slow start still hurts, and you expect more than Price to barely clear those marks, but the turnaround is clear and it is noticeable.