Carey Price had a somewhat rough outing against Boston on Tuesday night. It would be fair to say that the Canadiens won that game in spite of his play, which is atypical of his tenure as Montreal’s starting goaltender. Heading into Thursday’s game with an unspectacular .910 save percentage, it is actually fair to also say that he has struggled in general to start the season.
He definitely didn’t against the Flyers, however, as he was the main reason the Habs left Pennsylvania with a point.
The Habs didn’t play their best game, the referees awarded six power plays and a penalty shot to the opposition, yet Price willed his team into the extra frame. Outside of the first few minutes, the Flyers mostly dominated — of course the power plays helped, but they were better at even-strength as well — and Price was incredibly busy.
The final count was a whopping 43 shots against. And if not for a fluke screened shot in overtime to end things, there could have been even more rubber heading in his direction. He was furious with himself after Sean Couturier’s game winner, blaming himself for not getting the extra point. Really, his team wouldn’t have even been close to the point they got if not for how he played the other 60-plus minutes.
It was a vintage Price performance; one that deserved a better effort from his teammates, and a better result on the scoreboard.
Maybe if the refs called the blatant high stick to the face of Jonathan Drouin late in the third, Price would have gotten that result. The officiating was decidedly one-sided on the night, but it’s hard to blame the loss on that when Price made sure every Flyers opportunity was negated.
I had started writing an article the other day to talk a bit about Price’s early season struggles. Truth be told, he hasn’t looked like a $10.5 million goaltender up until last night. It’s not like he’s been awful, but he hasn’t been up to his usual gold standard.
My plan was to acknowledge that, but suggest a modicum of patience with the veteran net-minder, as we know what he is capable of when he’s at his best. Lo and behold, before I had time to get back and finish that piece, he showed exactly what he can do on Thursday.
Hopefully this is a sign of things to come, because some more vintage Carey Price goaltending could take this team a long way in the marathon that is the NHL season.
If they can actually play well in front of those performances, of course.