The Price Is Finally Right: Carey Price Will Make His Season Debut Tonight
By: Matt Giusti
Montreal Canadiens fans truly have a lot to be excited about with their hockey team this year. The team has gotten off to an impressive 2-0-1 start, including a 4-0 win against the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins this past Tuesday. The Habs big players such as Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk have been great to start the year. And early on the team defense has been very good, allowing just a shade over a goal per game and killing off 94% of their power plays against so far. All of this has been without their best player and in my opinion the best goalie in the world.
The work that backup goalie Al Montoya has done in the absence of Price has been remarkable, especially with the shutout of the defending champions. But when all is said and done, the Canadiens will go as far as Carey Price will take them. The proof in the pudding is how the Habs started last year with 9 consecutive wins, the best start in the proud franchise’s illustrious history. And then the season ending MCL sprain came that ended the season of Price and the Canadiens were horrible down the stretch. In fact, after the night Price had the season ending injury against the New York Rangers, the Habs went on to finish 21-34-4 to finish the season, after the promising start. Grant it there were also other injuries that led to that slump, such as injuries to Gallagher and now former Canadien defensemen P.K. Subban, but to lose Price was clearly the big blow to the team.
The resume for Price speaks for itself over the past 3 years, when he established himself as the best goalie in the world. The 29-year old Vancouver native cleaned up in the awards department in the 2014-15 season after compiling a record of 44-16-6, a 1.96 GAA, a .933 SV % and 9 shutouts. For his efforts, Price would take home the William M. Jennings Trophy (fewest goals allowed), the Vezina Trophy (best goalie) and the Hart Trophy (MVP of the NHL). And was looking like he was ready for an encore performance in 2015-16 after starting 10-2 with a 2.06 GAA and .934 SV% before he suffered the injury. And not to mention Price is now 16-0 in international competition, including a gold medal the 2014 Sochi games where he was absolutely insane and winning a gold medal at the 2016 World Cup this past September for Team Canada.
Price suffered a minor setback going into this coming season after missing the first three games with the flu and undoubtedly put some Habs fans on edge. But now the time has come, the Canadiens best player is ready to make his debut tonight against the Arizona Coyotes tonight. While I do think the Habs will have some issues on the defensive end at times and maybe some scoring consistency, the presence of Price will certainly help mask a lot of those issues. If Price comes back to the level we’ve recently accustomed to seeing, and after his performance at the World Cup leaving little doubt of that, the Habs in my opinion play with any team on a given night with him between the pipes. I’m not saying they’re a perennial Stanley Cup favorite, but great goaltending can go a long way in making a run towards being one. Predictions are predictions, but I know one thing for a fact, the best goalie in the world is making his return tonight and not just Habs fans, but all of hockey should have some level of excitement for this.