Rabid Habs

The Champ, The Chump and The Bum, Vol. 19

Habs vs Rangers

Written by: Karine Hains

The sole star in the Habs’ line-up according to the league has never shone brighter than it did this week, Carey Price literally stood on his head in 3 fantastic wins 2 of which were shutouts.

The Champ: Carey Price

I know, it’s two weeks in a row but how could anyone else deserve the nod this week? In Tuesday’s match-up against the Stars the Habs let them shoot on net 46 times and yet managed to come away with the win. Needless to say that without the brilliance of number 31, the result wouldn’t have been the same. In fact, to realize the true meaning of that feat we must remember that the Stars are the second highest scoring team in the league right now with 3.16 goals per game. To keep a high octane offense including the likes of Seguin and Benn to a tiny 2 goals is quite something. This was only the start of Price’s work week as well, he then went on to shutout both the Rangers and the Capitals (and the league leading goal scorer Ovechkin) in two consecutive games. I’m not afraid to say that Thursday’s match-up with the Rangers felt like a playoffs game in which we were treated to a sublime goaltender duel. They say no one’s perfect but on that night, Price surely was. Shame for Lundqvist that he gave up a weak goal to allow Max Pacioretty to notch his 4th game-winning goal of the year but clearly the Rangers weren’t going to get anything past Price on that night…a display that made us all wonder what could have been last Spring if Kreider didn’t run Carey over…never mind, there’s another Spring right around the corner! As for Saturday’s game, Price was again the deciding factor reaching perfection once more. After the first two periods, the shots were 26-13 in favor of the Capitals, needless to say, they deserved to be ahead on the score sheet but Price just wouldn’t have any of it. The Canadiens did wake-up in the third and finally decided to attack but in the end, overtime was necessary for the Sainte-Flanelle to savor yet another win. Overall, in the last 7 days, Carey Price has a goal-against average of 0.80 and a save percentage of .980. It has been a while since a Canadiens’ player was involved in the discussion for the Hart trophy but thus far this year, Carey Price is looking increasingly like a front runner.

The Chump: Alex Goligoski

Any Habs fan knows why I’ve got my sights on Alex Goligoski this week. In Tuesday’s win over the Stars the D-man got out of the penalty box chasing a long leading pass at full speed and when Price came out of his net to play the puck, Goligoski let himself slide in the netminder’s legs. You can see the play here:

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While the commentators are convinced that there wasn’t much he could have done to avoid Price, I disagree. He was not tripped or pushed, had he stayed on his feet, he could have turned to avoid Price but instead he decided to slide in an attempt to block the puck which resulted in Montreal’s main man being taken down like a pin in a bowling alley. Anyone who remembers last year’s playoffs stopped breathing for a second when Price fell and we were all taken back to last May and that devastating injury. Thankfully, Price wasn’t injured on the play but moments like these remind us of just how important Carey Price truly is to the Canadiens hope of finally ending that 21 year Stanley Cup draught.

The Bum: Chris Kreider

Speaking of last year’s playoffs, another meeting with the Rangers meant another encounter with Chris Kreider who’s better known to Habs fans as THE reason why the Canadiens didn’t make it to the cup final last year. Now, I will admit that Kreider was tripped on that play but I don’t believe he did everything he could to avoid any damage to Price he went in skates first… It’s obvious that every time the Canadiens take on the Rangers, the players are reminded of what happened and Kreider is a marked man. This week, Subban and Kreider got right into each other’s faces and both spent 4 minutes in the penalty box in the first period but what I took exception to was the second penalty picked up by both players. On exiting the box, Kreider went straight for Subban and threw his gloves to the ice. Subban didn’t throw his but still got a 2 minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct as he apparently pretended to drop them. My problem there though is that Kreider, not content with injuring Price last year, wants to get into a fight not with someone who’s used to boxing on ice but with the Canadiens’ star defenseman who’s job definitely isn’t to get in fist fights. I sure hope he meets Brandon Prust in a corner sooner rather than later…

This week, we’ll be treated to a pre Superbowl match-up with the Coyotes, a duel with Sabres and an always anticipated battle with the Bruins. Have a good week everyone and let’s hope the Canadiens carry on with their winning ways.