For a team that had such a hot start to the season the Canadiens have hit a rough patch and it can’t be summed up any better than in the struggles of netminder Carey Price.
After what was a promising start to the season the Canadiens have hit a skid losing six out of their last seven games to end the month of February. The recent rough patch cost Claude Julien his job along with Kirk Muller and while it may not be all on the coaches they will always take the fall when the team is struggling especially in a short season.
The most notable struggling Canadien of late has been superstar netminder Carey Price. Everyone knows how vital Price is to the Habs success and when he’s going well the team looks damn near unbeatable but over his last five games Price has only registered one win. Worse than that is the fact that Price is rocking a less than stellar .873 save percentage over his last five games. That will clearly not get the job done and can also help explain why Claude Julien is now looking for work.
Two weeks ago many thought, myself included, that the Habs were going to be a real contender this season but with Price’s game going to hell it’s made some wonder if they can finish the season in the Scotia North Division’s top four. The biggest blessing for Montreal is that they do get to play in a division where they can continue to beat up on the Canucks and Sens but that will only go so far to helping them make the playoffs.
Interim HC Dom Ducharme is going to have his work cut out for him trying to right a ship that was once pointed in a great direction. In the offseason Montreal did bring in Jake Allen to act as a nice safety net in the event Price would get hurt, now would be a great time to give Allen some run. It would be wise to give Allen a nice two or three game run just to let Price reset mentally and get his game right in practice. We all know that Allen won’t be the goalie to bring the Habs over the finish line but if Montreal wants to buy some time for Price to fix himself then Allen is most definitely the answer to that.
Montreal is a still a very good hockey team especially when you look at their numbers at even strength. The old adage in sports is that you’re never as great as you are when you’re winning or as bad as you are when you’re losing, the answer is somewhere always in the middle. Montreal still has quality depth all over the ice whether it be defensively or throughout their forward group so this rough patch is likely just a blip on the radar but in a short season nothing can ever be taken for granted. But first and foremost the priority in Montreal needs to be getting Carey Price’s game back on track and then the wins will start rolling back in for Montreal.