The Montreal Canadiens have struggled in the past two weeks, and while they are assured a playoff spot they may struggle to win the Northeast Division. Of particular concern is the recent poor play of Carey Price, whose goaltending was a driving force behind the Canadiens’ success this season. Price has lost five of his last six starts, and has seen his goals-against rise past that of backup Peter Budaj’s.
It was Budaj in net on Tuesday when the Canadiens lost to the New Jersey Devils, and he didn’t fare much better than Price has lately. Price has allowed an average of four goals per game in his five most recent losses, way above his 2.59 goals-against average for the season. He still has 20 wins, but with only two games remaining in the regular season it would be nice for the Canadiens to see Price get another big win or two.
While Price has had a few great regular seasons for the Canadiens in the past, he has struggled in the playoffs. He has reached the postseason four times while in Montreal, and has an 8-15 record. For as promising of a season as the Canadiens had, anything short of reaching the second round would be a major disappointment. Price has the talent to carry the team that far, but not if he keeps turning in poor performances. The offense has offered little support in some of his losses, which would matter if the games had been closer. Losing 5-2, 7-3. 6-4 and 5-1 definitely comes across as more of a reflection on Price’s performance than his team’s, and Saturday’s season finale against the Toronto Maple Leafs will be a great chance for the Canadiens to end the season on a positive note.