Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price may need upwards of 12 straight 40-win seasons to pass Martin Brodeur’s career regular-season mark of 691. However, there’s one way he can knock Brodeur out of the record books as soon as this spring.
Carey Price: Undisputed No. 1
Quite impressively, Price is currently No. 1 in two major statistical categories: save percentage (.933) and goals-against average (2.00). Having secured his third career 30-win season with a victory over the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday, he’s also just one behind Nashville Predators Pekka Rinne, who leads the league.
While there’s little disputing the Vezina caliber of Rinne’s season to date, Price seems to have more of an inside track. Were he to eventually leapfrog Rinne and lead the league in three of the four major goaltending categories (Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is No. 1 in shutouts), Price would be an undeniable shoo-in for the award to the league’s best goalie this season.
However, as possible as a Vezina may be for Price, one other title is almost within reach: The record for most wins in a single season of 48, which was set by Brodeur in 2006-07 when he was still with the New Jersey Devils (I know, Brodeur played for the Devils? Seems hard to believe).
A Tall Order
The 6’3” Price has an undeniably tall order ahead of him, though. Montreal has just 29 games remaining, 28 if you disregard Thursday night’s contest against the Edmonton Oilers, which Dustin Tokarski is slated to be in nets for.
Assuming Tokarski and Price only split pairs of back-to-back starts the rest of the way (an admittedly fair assumption, considering the Habs are in a playoff race for first in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference), Price would be left with 24 potential starts remaining.
He’d admittedly have to almost run the table to beat Brodeur, but consider Price’s 30-11-2 record to date. That translates to a .700 winning percentage, meaning if Price keeps up his pace through 24 starts the rest of the way, he’ll end up with 17 more wins and 47 overall, just one short of Brodeur.
For the Record
It is admittedly kind of unfair to put additional expectations on the shoulders of Price, especially when he’s more than exceeded them up to this point the past two seasons. He’s obviously been lights-out for Montreal as the Canadiens’ most valuable player, and it’s arguably too much to ask for him to take it up a notch.
As a result, consider Price actually beating Brodeur’s 48 wins a long shot. Nevertheless, for the record, if Price actually does play 24 more games this season, he’ll end up with 67. Brodeur needed 78 games that season to set the record. (.615 winning percentage). So, Price is arguably playing at a higher level now than Brodeur did that year, which is impressive in its own right.
Price may very well not even come close to Brodeur’s all-time win mark. No one may. But he does have a shot at greatness, that is if he hasn’t gotten there already.