Heading into the 2013-14 season, the Montreal Canadiens knew what had to happen in order to repeat their surprise success from the lockout shortened 2013 season. It begins and end with Carey Price, who had a rough final stretch to the year prior to his injury that essentially ended the year for the Habs.
There was a brief moment where Price’s future with the club may have been in doubt. But their franchise player remained and is off to a strong start this year. He’ll need to sustain that success if the Canadiens are to get out of the first round of the postseason, as they were unable to do so last season.
The Habs have been a bit overshadowed by some of the other teams around the league that are off to strong starts, but they’ve been very good in their own right here in the early-going. Price is 4-3 in his seven starts on the year, but that doesn’t really give an indication as to just how strong he’s been.
Through his seven starts, Price has only allowed 14 goals. His goals against average is at 2.02 for the season, while his save percentage is at .940. He has one shutout for the year, while averaging 33 shots against per start. It’s certainly worth wondering if he can get back to an elite level with this type of start.
The large part of the reason for Price’s early success definitely should be attributed to his new goaltending coach Stephane Waite, who did wonders with Corey Crawford in Chicago last year. With Price going through several goalie coaches over the last few years, Waite looked to be a favorable hire and has proven to be thus far.
If the Canadiens are going to make a deep playoff run this season, it’s going to largely depend on what Price can do between the pipes. He looks fantastic so far, but the consistency is the larger issue. If he can shake off a potential slump later on in the year, he’ll make this team a real threat in the Eastern Conference.