So The Sports Forecaster (Hi there Gabe Farnesi) magazine suggests in their NHL preview edition that to think Carey Price can repeat his performance of a season ago would be delusional. Makes you wonder if they’d say the same thing about Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin. Why does it seem so difficult to grasp the notion that the best player in the NHL is not a skater but a goaltender?
Two seasons ago Carey Price’s save percentage was .927. I thought he was robbed of the Vezina. The Habs opening round playoff KO of Tuukka Rask and the Bruins should have driven that point home but by then it was too late for the voters. So last season Price left them with no choice. I know it’s no easy task to repeat his numbers from last season (44-16-6, 1.93, .933) but to suggest that it’s all but impossible is to ignore the peak years of the career of Hall of Famer Domink Hasek. Once Hasek established himself as an elite goaltender (1993-94 when he was 28) he remained incredibly consistent in goal for the Buffalo Sabres. His save percentage in successive seasons from ’94 to ’99 was .930, .930, .920, .930, .932, .937. And when he captured the Hart, Vezina and Lindsay trophies in 1996-97 he merely set the stage to do it all over again the following season. When he was 34 years old. Price is 28.
- Carey Price. The Sports Forecaster and I can agree on something – Price’s save percentage of .973 will come tumbling down.
- Max Pacioretty. The guy is a beast. What a way to enter Habs’ lore in his first game as captain.
- P.K. Subban. Leo Komorov better keep his head up.
- Alex Galchenyuk. Jonathan Bernier is still looking for the two Galchenyuk shots that beat him. He might have heard the first one. Good start to his career as a full-time centerman including 70% in the face off circle.
- Tomas Plekanec. Led Montreal players with six shots on goal. But still can’t #roofit
- Jeff Petry. It’s going to be fun watching him skate all year. He’ll be remembered as the first NHL’er to lose a goal because of a coach’s challenge.
- Brendan Gallagher. It’ll be interesting to watch ice time allotment through the course of the season. Especially for the heavy lifters. We know how tireless Gallagher seems to be. But even his legs get heavy in late April. Keeping him around 15:00 per game seems ideal (13:56).
- Andrei Markov. Limited to 21:44. Again, ideal for a 36 year old who’d play half the game if he could.
- David Desharnais-Dale Weise-Tomas Fleischmann. There was the usual post game grumbling about Desharnais’s ice time – he played over 2:00 more than Galchenyuk – but the fact is this trio worked hard all night and created some Grade A scoring chances. Oh, and the Habs won the game.
- Brian Flynn. Best of the 4th line – although Devante Smith-Pelley also looked good in spots. Won the key face off deep in Montreal territory while Leaf’s were pressing for the equalizer to help set up the empty netter by Pacioretty.
- Torrey Mitchell. Rough night. At one point was 0-4 on the draw which is why Michel Therrien had Flynn and not Mitchell take that late game face off in the circle to the right of Carey Price.
- Alex Semin. I predicted before the game that Semin will score 25 goals this season playing alongside Galchenyuk. It’s just one game. But the pressure will mount. He needs to score early. He’s still hesitating too much in clear shooting situations.
- Alexei Emelin. Not a good start for the PK Unit as the Leafs scored their only goal on the power play. And it was Emelin who was victimized. Memo to new PK coach Dan Lacroix: Less Emelin might help.
- Glenn Healy meet Alex Galchenyuk.