Carey Price has been excellent in 2013-14.
The Montreal Canadiens have gotten excellent goaltending to start the 2013-14 season.
Workhorse Carey Price is 5-5, but his stats are better than his record indicates. He owns a 2.12 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage through 10 games.
Backup Peter Budaj has been spectacular in the two games he has played. The veteran Slovak is 2-0 with a 0.50 GAA and a .982 save percentage. He has made the most of his limited time and recently posted a shutout in Montreal's latest win against the New York Rangers on October 28.
The Canadiens are 7-5 on the season, but there's no guessing as to how ugly their record would be if these two goalies weren't playing so well.
As a team, the Habs are giving up 32.3 shots per game. That's just too many. In contrast, the Minnesota Wild are surrendering just 23.54 shots per game to lead the league.
The Canadiens can't expect their goalies to be this good all year. Everyone has their slumps, and the Habs are going to have to find a way to limit the amount of rubber being fired at their netminders.
The Canadiens obviously know they're giving up too many shots against and are working to fix the problem. The game against the Rangers was a step in the right direction.
Budaj gave Price the night off and was spectacular between the pipes, but his teammates deserve some credit, too.
The Canadiens' backup goalie stopped all 27 shots sent his way. What did the Habs do to help out? Well, as a team, they blocked 28.
The Rangers fired 55 shots toward the Montreal net, and the Montreal skaters stopped more than half of them. That's one way to solve a shots-against problem.
But that was against the New York Rangers, and without Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin, well, they're just not a very good hockey team.
In addition to the shot-blocking, the Canadiens will need to tighten up defensively moving forward if they hope to keep the shots against down. They're allowing far too many chances and relying on their goalies to bail them out time and time again.
Perhaps the return of Douglas Murray will help shape up a defense corps that has been missing one link all season. More realistically, Alexei Emelin should help when he returns in a month or so.