Carey Price has missed much of this week with flu-like symptoms, but he was off to a phenomenal start before his recent illness. Price’s excellent 2013 season coincides with a somewhat unexpected start from the Montreal Canadiens that has begun to erase memories of the miserable effort of last season.
Lost in the disappointment of last year was a surprisingly decent campaign from Carey Price. His 2.43 GAA, pedestrian as it may be, was better than his career average with the Habs. Price had a losing record, but amidst the chaos of the 2011-12 season, it’s hard to blame Price for losses. Montreal was not a strong team last year, but Carey Price kept them in games.
This season is different. Carey Price is playing behind what could be two of the best defensive pairings in hockey, and it’s showing in his numbers. With better defensive play around him, the young goaltender has elevated his play. Carey Price has posted a 2.06 GAA with eight wins in 11 starts. His save percentage is among the best for any stretch of his career, and the Habs are squarely in contention. Led by goaltending and defense, Montreal is a contender in the Northeast Division again.
A +6 goal differential while allowing less than 2.5 goals per game indicates improved play in all areas. The offense is beginning to click with a balance of young talent and crafty veteran leadership. Andrei Markov and Raphael Diaz have carried the defense in the absence of PK Subban, who is finally back with the team and appears ready for a more mature role. Most importantly, goaltender Carey Price may be playing the best hockey of his young career.
Price isn’t doing it all by himself, but he’s certainly been a key to the early season success of the Montreal Canadiens. If the Habs can sustain a high level of play and Carey Price stays hot throughout this shortened season, they’ll contend for a division title and find their way back into the playoffs just one year removed from unthinkable struggles.