Heading into the playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens seemed to have their goaltending all but figured out; Jaroslav Halak was their man.
Now, on the heels of two subpar games and subsequent losses, Halak will be replaced between the pipes with Carey Price.
Yes, Jaroslav Halak has given up eight goals on the last 30 shots he has faced, but Halak is not entirely what ails the Canadiens, and there is plenty of blame to go around.
The Habs defense has been horrific with the likes of Marc-Andre Bergeron (-5) and Roman Hamrlik (-3), leading the way in defensive futility. Add that to an offensive core that has had trouble handling the Capitals' larger forwards and you have a recipe for disaster.
The fact is, the Canadiens have been outclassed, outskated, outworked, and have looked out of gas against the high-flying Washington Capitals—who could take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series should they beat the Canadiens this evening.
Needless to say, when your team is going up against the likes of Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Eric Fehr, and Mike Knuble every night, it’s an uphill battle. Not to mention Alexander Semin, who has yet to register a point in this series.
The Capitals are getting it done with speed, skill, and by just plain outscoring the opposition. Capitals goaltender Jose Theodore was weak to start the series, but has since been replaced by Semyon Varlamov, who has stopped 45 of 49 shots the Canadiens have mustered on net thus far.
Price had a decent record against the Capitals in the regular season, posting a 2-1-1 record, but can he transform that regular season success into a playoff victory with the Capitals looking unstoppable?
The one thing that has been good for the Canadiens has been the penalty kill, which has kept the Capitals off the score sheet and sits at a perfect 14 for 14.
To be fair, Carey Price can hardly be blamed if the Habs lose tonight, a lot of the damage has already been done and this is a team game.
Question is, if the Habs should lose, and lose badly, where does Montreal head coach Jacques Martin turn next? Could he possibly go back to Halak?
Well, at this point, you have to think the Habs have made their bed with Price and will have to lay in it, regardless of tonight’s outcome.
Only time will tell if Martin has made the right call for his and the Canadiens' sake—I hope he has, because the damage that could be done here to both goalies' egos is immeasurable.