Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price makes a save in front of defenseman Mike Weaver and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan.
On the subjects of injuries and goaltending, the Habs were also without Carey Price in last spring’s deciding Game 5 against the Ottawa Senators. He had injured himself in the previous game, leaving the net to Peter Budaj, who proceeded to allow six goals on 29 shots in, obviously, a losing bid.
Granted, Price hadn’t fared much better in the series up to that point, allowing 13 goals in just four games. However, he had also been struggling heading into the postseason, allowing 27 goals on 188 shots against (.856 save percentage) in the previous eight games.
In sharp contrast to his performance down the stretch last season and Bishop’s this season, Price is on fire. In the 10 games he’s played since the Olympics ended, Price is 7-3 with 25 goals against on 328 shots (.924 save percentage).
In fact, all season long, Price has been almost as realistic a Vezina candidate as Bishop. He is 33-20-5 with a 2.36 GAA and .925 save percentage. The last time Price was putting together a season this good was in 2010-11. And that postseason, he almost single-handedly led the Habs to a seven-game, first-round upset of the eventual Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.
Year to year, Price has always been an inconsistent goalie, but when he’s on, you can’t really turn him off. He’s notorious for choking come playoff time, but during that 2010-11 postseason, he posted a 2.11 GAA and .934 save percentage.
While he may have to be that good again against the eighth-best offense in the league, every single sign says he will be. That could soon very well mean stop signs as well.