Friday, October 16, 2009

Carey Price’s toughest opponent so far: The Montreal Canadiens

0d67a7f462df10e47331410bf27f4e1b-getty-90955815rw006_aval_cana Carey Price’s non-All-Star start is more lack of team support. Photo: Getty Images

I know it’s just a few games in, and essentially to hard to evaluate long term, but so far this season Carey Price’s toughest opponent this season seems to be his own team, the Montreal Canadiens.

Looking beyond his 2-3 record, 3.42 GAA and .890 SvPct through his first five starts, one has to analyze the games a bit more thoroughly.

Game 1 vs  Toronto: Price stood on his head, stopping 43 Leafs pucks for a 4-3 Canadiens win.

Game 2 vs Buffalo: was a carbon copy, making 34 saves in a 2-1 victory.

Game 3 vs Vancouver: Price was let hung out to dry by his team for seven goals as the Canucks were getting highlight reel odd-man rushes. Only the last two could get little, if any, blame on the young goaltender as he appeared to be out of gas.

Game 4 vs Edmonton: Not a great outing, but acceptable after a humiliating loss two nights prior. Unfortunately Nikolai Khabibulin was better, allowing just two goals.

Game 5 vs Colorado: Two goals were a result of some bad bounces, one that Price let through his five-hole .The third was the result of his teammates being more preoccupied with Scott Gomez’s helmet rolling around on the ice over defensive coverage.

When a team does not play a full 60 minutes, mistakes will, and often do,  happen. When they do, goals get scored. It has been a pattern that coach Jacques Martin has seen in the last four games.

The biggest concern for Price and the Canadiens though is the lack of scoring.

When Carey Price has been in goal, the Montreal Canadiens have only scored eleven goals. That’s an average of just 2.2 goals per game. The League average through Thursday’s games is 3.03.

It reminds me of my days as a teen watching the Toronto Blue Jays. Pitcher Dave Stieb was considered one of the best in baseball in the early ‘80s, but his team’s lack of run support usually cost him more losses than him having a bad outing on the mound.

The Canadiens need to realize that they cannot rely on their goaltender to carry them for every minute of every game, especially with the current injuries to their defensive corps.

Goalies at any level can make a mental error, at any given time. It’s going to happen and has happened to the best in the game.

The Montreal offense needs to step it up, find the holes and strike often to keep the momentum going and give their young goalies confident.

If they don’t the pressure builds on your goalie and his confidence collapses. See Price, Carey 2008-09 season post Dec 31.

But as I said, this is just a small sample to an 82-game season. The bad thing is, the Canadiens don’t want the trend to continue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice piece. I wholeheartedly agree with you and have been pretty much defending him any chance I get over at Habs I/O. He can only do so much. Those pucks have to find their way into the oppositions net some how. Unfortunately Carey can't help out there too. Overall I think that, with the exception of Vancouver, he has had a good start to the year.

Glad I found your blog. Good stuff.