Carey Price has been the backbone of the Montreal Canadiens’ poised play recently. His calmness is emanating from the net out, and the team in front of him is playing noticeably better because of it.
Against Carolina, Price was the reason it was just a one-goal deficit when the offence woke up late in the second period. Between sliding pad saves, or downright angry glove stops, Price was determined to not let his teammates down on Thursday night.
Every time the Hurricanes clawed their way back into the game, Price’s teammates stormed back down the ice and restored a more comfortable lead.
When Andrei Svechnikov scored 23 seconds into the third period, Brendan Gallagher drove the Hurricanes net, and finished with a smooth little move on Petr Mrazek. The Canadiens weren’t done there either, as Artturi Lehkonen pulled off his best Bobby Orr impression to give Montreal a two-goal cushion less than five minutes into the final period.
Jaccob Slavin scored with around nine minutes left due to missed coverage at the point, and so the Canadiens offence went back down the ice and Shea Weber fed Andrew Shaw a pass for a fifth Canadiens goal. Even a late Sebastian Aho goal was met by Jeff Petry threading a curving puck into the empty net nearly 200 feet away to secure the win for Montreal.
Every punch by Carolina was met with an immediate counter-punch by Montreal; a massive difference from this team last year.
His stats are not going to look great, perhaps not even good, but anyone who sat down to watch this game knows that Price’s play is what kept the Canadiens in it all the way to the final whistle. He made a number of 10-bell saves, and even with four goals on the scoreboard he kept it from being a potential rout before the offence could click into gear.
Price felt disrespected after Svechnikov shoved him into his net, so he and his teammates made sure to hit the Hurricanes where it counted: on the scoreboard.