I will absolutely not blame Carey Price for either of these losses. It’s hard to win when your team can’t score at all, and/or when you are giving up more than 40 shots in a game against the likes of Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom and Green, who tallied 19 of the team’s 43 shots on Price.
May I add that Price was put in goal to face arguably, 2 of the better teams in the Eastern conference after having played only 1 of the team’s last 7 games?
Versus Buffalo, the only goal of the game was scored in the second period, the only period that the Sabres outshot the Canadiens (16-10). The Canadiens, not famous for their 5 on 5 play (26th in the league), could not muster anything on their number 1 ranked power-play with the 2 power-play chances they were given either.
Against Washington, Montreal was outshot in all three periods and had Price to thank for actually keeping it a close affair. Notably, some of Price’s best saves were while the Canadiens were on the power-play and just couldn’t get it together and gave up numerous odd man rushes while on the man-advantage.
Alexander Ovechkin, who just prior to puck-drop was named the franchise’s 14th Captain, was held without a point for only the eighth time this season, two of which were by Montreal. The Habs also shut him out on November 20th when they met and beat the Caps at home by a score of 3-2.
So as fate would probably have it, the Canadiens’ next match is against the Florida Panthers and seeing as how Price is on his second straight loss, coach Jacques Martin will likely go with Jaroslav Halak in goal against yet another team that is below them in the standings, even with their games in hand.
I personally do not care which goaltender faces which team, as long as it is all for the common good, but at some point, a little perspective is needed when making perhaps unfair comparisons in save percentages, GAA and W/L.
And when all is said and done, the Canadiens are still at .500 with a record of 21-21-3 and sitting in 7th place in the Eastern conference. Some will say that is until the other teams below them play their games in hand. I respond: They have to win them to catch up.