The Montreal Canadiens are going to be without their elite goaltender, Carey Price, for at least the next six weeks due to a lower-body injury.
Price first suffered an injury on October 29th against the Edmonton Oilers but returned to the ice on November 20th to take on the New York Islanders. Unfortunately Price’s return to the ice did not last long as he appeared to aggravate his injury in the second period of a game against the New York Rangers on November 25th. Luckily for the Canadiens, it appears that the face of their franchise will not need surgery and just requires some time to heal.
Price is hands-down the greatest goaltender on the planet and Montreal obviously wishes they had him between the pipes going forward. Unfortunately, it looks like they will be without him until the middle of January. Although this is heartbreaking news for the Habs, they have no reason to panic. The team will be fine and their position in the Atlantic Division is hardly in jeopardy.
Plenty of Cushion
The Canadiens have had themselves a very hot start to the 2015-2016 regular season. With 25 games in the books, Montreal sits atop the Atlantic division with 39 points and a 18-4-3 record. Ten points currently separate the Habs from the second place Ottawa Senators.
If Price’s timetable remains at six weeks, the Canadiens can expect the goalie to miss somewhere between eighteen and twenty games. Although this seems like a large chunk of contests, Montreal has built a big enough cushion to stay atop the division in his absence.
Price sported an impressive 10-2-0 record in his twelve games in net for the Canadiens this season. Although the team gained twenty of their points with Price in net, they still managed to acquire nineteen points without him. The team has been capable of winning games without Price between the pipes and one has to imagine they will remain so.
Montreal’s performance would have to severely decline over the next six weeks in order to risk falling out of first place in the division. In addition, Ottawa’s performance would have to experience a drastic increase.
Trust in Condon
Overall, rookie net minder Mike Condon has been quite impressive filling in for Price so far this season. In his fourteen games played, Condon has gone 8-2-3 with a goals-against-average of 2.19 and a respectable .916 save percentage. Although the sample size is small, these numbers suggest that the 25-year-old will do a decent enough job in net and Habs fans should not worry.
Condon is not Price, we all know that. Nobody should be expecting him to put forth Price-like performances for the next month-and-a-half either. However, he should be able to do what is necessary to keep the Canadiens atop the Atlantic and close to the top of the Eastern Conference.
All About The Postseason
Off course having Price out for another extended period of time is the last thing Montreal wants to be experiencing. It does not matter how dominant the guy is if he is not healthy enough to play. Unfortunately, this is the hand that the Habs have been dealt. They are lucky to be in a position where they can afford to miss a player as good as Price for about twenty games. The Montreal Canadiens, barring some epic collapse, will be a playoff team this spring. Their goal needs to be having Price healthy enough for their quest for the cup. For now, the team will be alright without him.
John Gove is an elementary school educator who writes about hockey in his spare team. Over the past five years, John has covered the game at various levels. Now, he exclusively focuses his coverage on prospects and the developmental leagues.