The Montreal Canadiens’ playoff hopes are dwindling. After starting the season as the hottest team in the NHL, they now sit one point outside the playoff picture. They’re 4-16-1 in their last 21 games with one of those wins coming in a shootout.
The news doesn’t get better for Habs fans. It looks like Carey Price could miss up to another month of play.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin said Thursday that Price’s recovery has been slower than expected. A month is a timeframe the mentions, but Bergevin is sure to specify that they have no timeline for his recovery.
“His position is very demanding for his injury, so he has gone slower,” Bergevin said. “There hasn’t been any setbacks. I don’t have exactly a date, but I don’t think it’ll be before another three weeks. Maybe even a month. We don’t have a timeframe.”
Price has been out of the lineup since November 27, when he left a game against the Rangers during the second period after appearing to tweak his knee. At that point, he was only three games back from a lower-body injury that had the Hart-winner missing nine games.
Price had a great start to the season, going 10-2-0 with a .934 save percentage. Replacement Mike Condon was solid initially, but the hot start to his career has cooled and other goaltenders haven’t been able to step in and succeed. Ben Scrivens has allowed 11 goals in three games since being acquired by Montreal and Dustin Tokarski, who has been traded, didn’t have much success in the NHL this season either.
Their goaltending has been a problem. Since Price went out, the Canadiens goaltending ensemble has a .907 even strength save percentage, the worst mark in the NHL. When Price left the lineup, they had a seven-point lead on second place in the standings and a .936 even strength save percentage (inclusive of Price’s initial nine-game absence), which ranked seventh in the NHL.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.