My father is a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. And it’s because of that that I vividly remember the first time I saw Carey Price play a regular season game live.
It was December 4 in Price’s rookie year, 2007-2008. The visitors that night were the Detroit Red Wings, like they were on Tuesday night. But that Red Wings team was much different than the one we are seeing now. The Red Wings were a few months away from winning the Stanley Cup.
The Canadiens that year were not a bad team by any stretch. They won the division with 104 points and made it to the second round of the playoffs on the back of leading scorer Alex Kovalev and a goaltending tandem of Price and Cristobal Huet. Huet was eventually traded before the trade deadline opening a spot for Jaroslav Halak.
But back to that game. The Red Wings were perfect. Their passes rarely missing the tape. To this day I don’t think I could tell you a better display of hockey that I’ve seen live. They won that night 4-1 and were dominant. The Canadiens were outshot 34-16 and when the other goaltender is Dominik Hasek, that’s not good enough to win.
But the reason I bring up my Leafs fan of a father is because he’s typically very stubborn into liking Canadiens players. He only recently started appreciating Brendan Gallagher, as an example. But that night, in Price’s rookie year, he looked at me and said: ‘He’s going to be good.’
And Price was on his way to being great. At that point he only had six wins. I don’t think anyone would have said he’d have 315 as a Canadien, passing everybody in franchise history. But he always looked like he was going to be great.
The Canadiens were the better team on Tuesday night, with Price making big saves when he needed to, including one on Tyler Bertuzzi late in the game.
Carey Price on his miraculous save on Tyler Bertuzzi: “I just tried to do the Dominator (Dominik Hasek) and just spread out and cover the goal line. I was fortunate that we were able to get a whistle.”— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) March 13, 2019
Price pulling out the style of Dominik Hasek. At the Bell Centre. Against the Red Wings. Sometimes things have a funny way of working themselves out.