Carey Price flew back to Montreal last off-season having reflected on a poor 2017-18 campaign, rejoining a group that had seen some change. Most of the alterations were made among the forward group, with the likes of Tomas Tatar and Joel Armia being added, leaving the defence largely intact from the previous season.
The biggest change was actually an absence on blue line: Shea Weber, who was still recovering from surgery, would be out for nearly a third of the schedule. It seemed Price was going to have to do the brunt of the work on the back end to put the Montreal Canadiens in a playoff position.
October 5, 2018: The Canadiens need to trust Carey Price more on the penalty kill
With every defenceman playing above his usual level, they were all eager to do their part to assist their netminder. However, their efforts were often a hindrance in the opening game, trying to do too much to block shots and not enough to prevent them from happening in the first place.
Top-level play wasn’t consistently produced by Price in the opening weeks of the season, but with a chance to defeat the Boston Bruins and pass Patrick Roy on the organization’s wins list, he stopped all 33 shots he faced.
After that win, Price earned just one victory in his next five games, and didn’t reach a .900 save percentage in any of them. Clearly struggling with his game, he attempted to simplify things to pull himself out of it, but the defence corps wasn’t able carry the load for their netminder, forcing him to try to figure things out on the fly.
November 15, 2018: Carey Price’s crisis of confidence
It was certainly a strange situation to see the team’s MVP in, and one made even worse by the fact that he was now one of the highest-paid players in the league. Perhaps that was part of the issue, with him having great expectations to live up to and being unable to perform under them. A few days off to reset mentally were granted to him at this point of the season, and it was apparent that he needed them.
November 16, 2018: Vintage Carey Price reigns in Calgary
Back in goal a week later, it looked like the brief rest had served him well. He played a major part in a victory over the Flames, and while the wins were still hard to come by over the next few weeks, things were beginning to turn back in his favour.
By the start of December, he had worked out the kinks in his game, Weber was back, and the Canadiens were on a roll.
December 27, 2018: Carey Price is out with a lower-body injury, and will not make Florida trip
It was therefore concerning news when it was announced that Price was unable to make the road trip at the end of December. Fortunately, it turned out to be just a minor issue, and didn’t prevent him from rejoining the team to start the new year.
January 1, 2019: Montreal Canadiens Organizational Players of December
He was a long way from contention for the best player in the opening two months, but was the obvious choice in December after posting a .916 save percentage and dragging the club back into post-season contention, which seemed unlikely at the end of November.
January 2, 2019: Carey Price to represent the Montreal Canadiens at the All-Star Game
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Happy Monday! We are starting to get back to real life around our house which is kind of a bummer but nice to get back in to a routine. It’s an adjustment figuring out our new normal, Liv may be living off of @lovechildorganics and Mac&Cheese this week but that’s okay for now ♀️ #smallvictories #newbaby #lovechild #newroutine
January 7, 2019: Carey Price will skip the All-Star Game
January 25-March 13, 2019: Road to 315
EOTP member Alex Manley provided a series of articles recapping Price’s rise through the organization’s all-time list, publishing one article after each victory leading up his 315th win: the new bar he set for the franchise.
February 1, 2019: Montreal Canadiens Organizational Players of January
He picked up right where he left off in December, improving his play even further. An extraordinary mark of .953 in the opening month of 2019 put the team not just in position to make the playoffs, but do it as a high seed.
March 13, 2019: Carey Price has come full circle in setting Canadiens history
The scouting staff obviously saw something in Price when they picked him fifth overall in 2005. He had always shown the potential to be a star from the WHL to the World Juniors, AHL, and at the highest level in the world, finally settling in among the league’s elite in the NHL. Setting a new wins mark was a culmination of all those performances through the years.
July 22, 2019: Carey Price will hope the backup dilemma is finally solved
Despite getting back to his more familiar form, Price can’t play all 82 games in a season. He was relied on to play every game down the stretch last year, and very nearly got his team to the post-season, but there would have been very little left for a deep run had the team made it. In 2019-20, with Keith Kinkaid in the fold, hopefully Price can be given a more realistic workload.
July 25, 2019: What to expect in Carey Price’s 2019-20 season
Should he get that, we should still see a very good Carey Price, but likely not the same one who swept the awards in 2015. He will still be one of the most important players on the team, and should continue to be one of the top netminders in the league.
That status won’t last forever, and the team needs to be thinking about a Stanley Cup run for Price and co. right from the first game of the new season.
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