The Canadiens pulled off a vital victory Friday night in Montreal, shocking the Rangers 4-3 in overtime despite 54 saves from Henrik Lundqvist.
First, Tomas Plekanec’s tying goal with 18 seconds left in regulation sent the Centre Bell into a frenzy.
Radulov finds Plekanec for a huge goal. We're going to overtime. pic.twitter.com/mat4WXbtTV— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) April 15, 2017
Then Alexander Radulov’s game-winner set it positively aflame.
Alex Radulov wins it in OT for the Habs. And has an amazing celebration, as is tradition. pic.twitter.com/wuZRMcL8c4— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) April 15, 2017
Clearly, this overtime save by Carey Price on Jimmy Vesey was only one of several heroic plays the Canadiens needed to send this opening playoff series back to New York even at a game apiece.
It would be inappropriate to discuss hockey heroism without a stick tap to Henrik Lundqvist. The King, without a doubt, is the most entertaining goalie in hockey.
Now back to Price.
After Rick Nash (61) retrieves the puck behind the net and sends it to Mark Staal (18) on the left wall, Staal passes to Mika Zibanejad (93) along the goal line, and Nash curls toward the center of the offensive zone.
Zibanejad controls the puck and scans the ice.
Seeing Jimmy Vesey (26) charging in from the right, Zibanejad sends the puck past Andrei Markov and Shea Weber, between the defensemen and forward Dwight King.
Vesey receives the puck on his forehand, settles the puck, and shoots a knuckler at the near high corner. Price gets just enough of his left upper arm on the shot to keep the game going.
Looking more specifically at Price, he utilizes a stick side RVH post integration as Zibanejad holds the puck along the goal line, and makes his pass across the slot.
As the puck crosses the slot, Price transitions out of his RVH. He drops his left pad to the ice, and rotates his head toward the left. Interestingly, he rotates his shoulders to the left, but leaves his stick paddle down on his right.
At first, it appears that Price might have been planning to extend his left pad.
When Vesey isn’t able to release a one-timer, though, Price establishes an intermediate position with both knees down, his stick in front of him, and his glove hand extended toward his left. He is in the process of rotating his shoulders fully toward Vesey, but is balanced on both of his pads.
Showing patience as Vesey prepares to shoot, Price engages his right inside edge for a strong push across the crease. His right shoulder and hand continue to rotate to the left, bringing his stick around in front of his pads. From here, Price is fully loaded and ready to react to his read of Vesey’s shot trajectory.
Interestingly, Price elects to keep his glove low, just above his pad, as he drives across the crease and forward into Vesey’s shot. His hand position allows for gapless coverage next to his body and over the near portion of his pad, and his stick blade is covering his five-hole along the ice. By Price’s estimation, he has his angle solidly covered.
Of course, he’s right. When he sees the trajectory of Vesey’s knuckling shot, he drives himself forward and up into the puck’s trajectory, raising his left elbow in the process.
The puck glances off of the outside of his upper arm, deflecting wide and into the end boards.
It’s not unreasonable, under the circumstances, to declare that this is Carey Price’s most dramatic save of the season.
Given the way this series has begun, it’s doubtful the label will last long.