Paul Sancya/Associated Press
It might be considered relatively easy for a strong goaltender to stop all but three shots in six games of a Winter Olympic tournament when playing behind the most dynamic and committed group of forwards and by far the best collection of defensemen.
That was the case for Carey Price in Sochi, when he backstopped Team Canada to the gold medal. He made some great saves when called upon but wasn't peppered with scoring chances. Some would suggest he didn't earn his title as best goaltender at the Winter Games tournament.
That same argument doesn't apply in Montreal, where his play with the Canadiens has them sitting second in the Atlantic Division. There have been some inconsistent moments—most notably a four-game stretch at the end of January that saw him drop four straight decisions while allowing 17 goals against.
During a seven-game winning streak in late November and early December, Price allowed just a dozen goals against.
We'll find out which way things go when he returns from an injury that was aggravated in Sochi and has delayed his return, but there's a reason Price was named Canada's starting goaltender in the first place, even with 2010 gold medallist Roberto Luongo joining him at the Games.
Team Canada executives like what they saw in Price's nature as well as the skills he displayed on the ice. He's calm in the face of adversity, plays the puck well and gives his team confidence in front of him. That allows each player on the Habs roster to do his job and not worry about making mistakes.
For the Canadiens, it's that confidence that is key to success down the stretch. They're not the most talented club in the conference, but the Habs have a nice mix of skill and structure that is dependent on strong goaltending as a starting point.