Carey Price is actually doing really well this season. He had a rough couple of seasons leading up to 2011. Since being injured in December 2008, and being replaced by Jaroslav Halak in the 2009-2010 season Price has been inconsistent in his performance. When Halak turned into the 2009-2010 playoff hero for the Montreal Canadiens bringing them all the way to the Eastern Conference Final, Price was left shaken. But Habs management had faith in the young, talented goaltender and it has begun paying off.
In 2010, the team did not make it past the quarterfinals before being eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Boston Bruins. This left many to question the Montreal Canadiens’ goaltending choices. But Price has been very underrated by many Habs fans and critics. He was named as the NHL second star of the month for November 2011 and he deserves it.
Price’s statistics are very good with a .916 save percentage and 2.26 goals against average. He is tied in the league for most games played and started at 21, and as a result, he has had more ice time than any other goalie as well with more than 1272 minutes so far this season. Keeping that in mind, he is currently ranked 38th for goals against with 48 but just 6th for total shots against with 573. Considering the Habs’ standings, this is quite impressive.
While the Habs’ are a very offensively aggressive team, their defense has been sub-par with them relying too heavily on their goalies. As a result, Price gets the brunt of criticism that should in fact be placed on the team’s defensive errors and penalty kill.
In the Habs’ last game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, they lost in overtime because of a puck that should’ve been called as frozen by Price. With the call not there, Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang knocked it free and got in front of the net for an easy game winner. It’s easy to point the blame at Price for assuming that game stoppage would be called, but where were his defensemen to protect Price in the first place, and more importantly, to cover Letang in front of the net?
Price’s performance can only be judged as well as the defense he’s playing behind. The more shots that the Habs defense let happen, the more likely they are to go in, regardless of Price’s great track record so far. If Price is able to keep focused and on track this season, he will finally be able to prove himself to be the goalie he clearly has the potential of being.