The 2015-2016 National Hockey League season saw the Montreal Canadiens start off like gang busters. The Canadiens won their first nine games of the season which paved the way for their 19-4-3 start. And this hot start by the Habs had the folks in Montreal thinking about the Stanley Cup Title. But all of the talk about the Canadiens and the Stanley Cup was short lived as goalie Carey Price would suffer a knee injury that put him on the shelf for the remainder of the season. What the Canadiens would lose in Price was the Hart Memorial Trophy winner in 2015 as the NHL’s MVP, and the Vezina Trophy winner as the league’s top goalie. And Price’s impact would show as without him, the Canadiens went into a tailspin which led to them missing the playoffs. But Montreal is no different than any other team in the NHL as hope would spring eternal for them when the new season began.
Price has entered the current season healthy and rejuvenated and the results can be seen in the Habs record. The Canadiens record of 30-15-7 has them in first place in the Atlantic Division with a comfortable lead over the second place Ottawa Senators as they once again appear to be the team to beat within that division.
Price’s return has stabilized things for Montreal as they are seventh in goals against average this season at 2.48. And as for Price, his .922 save percentage is ninth in the National Hockey League, while his 2.33 goals against average is 10th. Price’s return has taken some of the stress off of Montreal’s offense whose 2.98 goals for average is seventh is the NHL as the Canadiens are a very balanced team.
Barring Price missing an extended period of time once more, the Canadiens are not only on pace to make the playoffs, but to also be a force while there. Having a goalie that can dominate between the pipes is a prerequisite for any team that expects to advance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs which is something that the Canadiens have. Although that Price only has a pair if shutouts to his name this season, his return has given Montreal opponents something to be weary about as he is still one of the best in the business which was illustrated by his appearance in the All-Star Game this past Sunday. And any chance that the Habs will have in the spring will rely on Price being dialed in as the team’s top net minder.