For additional insight into the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens, NHL.com has enlisted the help of former NHL coach Craig Ramsay to break down the action. Ramsay will be checking in throughout the series.
Ramsay played in more than 1,000 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres before going on to coach the Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers. In the 2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he led the Flyers to the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Final. Ramsay most recently was an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers.
The Montreal Canadiens might be stung by the news that goalie Carey Price will not play again in the Eastern Conference Final, but longtime NHL coach and player Craig Ramsay said all they have to do is look back at their own history to find examples of goalies stepping up and shining in the big moment when no one was expecting them to.
"It's a difficult situation, but certainly there's precedent in the past where a backup or a young goalie has been thrown into the breach and has stepped up and gotten the job done," Ramsay told NHL.com. "The Montreal Canadiens won a Stanley Cup a long time ago when they put a young guy named Ken Dryden in there and he suddenly did a great job . Rogie Vachon went in and played brilliantly to give them a chance [in the 1967 Stanley Cup Final]. Patrick Roy was a kid when he won the Stanley Cup [in 1986]."
Ramsay is not attempting to compare Dryden, Vachon and Roy to Peter Budaj and Dustin Tokarski, the goalies Montreal coach Michel Therrien will choose from for Game 2 on Monday at Bell Centre (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). He's simply saying it's not out of the question for the Canadiens to come back in the series without Price.
"I don't know the goalies well enough, but crazy things happen sometimes," Ramsay said. "Montreal has to remember that they worked really hard to get to where they are. Nobody gave it to them. They beat good hockey teams and played hard as a team. While Carey Price is a hell of a goalie and a huge factor on that team, he isn't the whole team. No one is.
"This is the opportunity for other people to step up and shine, do a little bit extra," he continued. "Based on the way they played the other night, they have to recognize that it wasn't good enough, and this is just another reason to step up the pace and pick up their overall effort and their team effort. You never want to rely on one person, and this is an opportunity for other people to show how important they are to the Montreal Canadiens and how good they are as a group."
"This is something that Montreal can use to dig down and rally as a group."