Thursday, March 31, 2011
Price hits the skids
There's nothing to suggest that it's anything other than coincidence, but Carey Price's game has taken a sharp turn for the worse since around the time a groundswell begin to build promoting the Canadiens goaltender as a finalist for the Hart Trophy as the NHL's Most Valuable Player.
Last night's 6-2 setback in Carolina was Price's fifth loss in his last six starts and marked the third time in less than two weeks that he failed to finish a game. On two of those occasions - last night and two Fridays ago against the Rangers - Price was playing for the second time in as many nights, which appears to say something about coach Jacques Martin's confidence - or lack thereof - in Alex Auld. Back-to-back games traditionally represent an ideal circumstance for giving your starting goaltender a night off and your backup some work, but Auld hasn't exactly been a model of consistency despite fairly decent numbers overall.
Price's overall numbers are still top 10 if not top 5 in the major statistical categories for goaltenders, but a bloated 3.86 goals against average and equally unsightly .884 save percentage during the aforementioned six game slide have gone a long way towards relegating him from frontrunner status to marginal candidate for MVP or Vezina Trophy consideration. Of greater concern to the Canadiens and their fans is that with the playoffs only two weeks away, Price's heavy workload might be catching up to him at the worst possible time.