CALGARY – Carey Price’s standout performance earned Michel Therrien’s troops a hard-fought two points on Tuesday night.
The 27-year-old netminder turned aside 37 shots at the Scotiabank Saddledome through 65 minutes of play, before denying Jiri Hudler, Sean Monahan, and Johnny Gaudreau in the shootout, to lead the Canadiens to a 2-1 victory. Price, who won his fifth consecutive start, upped his record to 7-1-0 in eight outings thus far this season. It was also the Habs’ first victory in Calgary since January 2002.
“It’s a big win for the team, and I think Carey was exceptional against the Flames. I think he stole the game for us. There’s no doubt about it, especially at the end of the game when Calgary was on the power play,” offered Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, who scored the game-winning goal on Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller in the third round of the shootout. “He’s an excellent goaltender and he’s been doing it for years.”
One player who can attest to Price’s proficiency first-hand is Max Pacioretty, who has watched the Anahim Lake, BC native put together one stellar effort after another when his teammates have needed him most, particularly when they’ve found themselves in penalty trouble early on during the 2014-15 campaign.
“It wasn’t the prettiest win, but you’ve got to thank Pricer for that one. He played outstanding. When he plays like that, he gives us hope to compete until the end. We were able to do that. We killed off a lot of good penalties. We know we have to play differently to win, but every win is different, and that one is definitely an ugly one,” stressed Pacioretty, who was a part of a penalty-killing unit that helped keep the Flames off the scoresheet during nine power play opportunities. “You’re obviously thankful to have Carey back there. He gives us that motivation to work a little bit harder. I think that helped us get the two points at the end of the day.”
For his part, Price was quick to praise the forwards and defensemen alike defending the Canadiens’ goal. Bob Hartley’s contingent bombarded the Olympic gold-medalist from every conceivable angle all game long, but the Habs’ starter is adamant that his defenders’ efforts ultimately enabled him to play at the highest possible level.
“Our guys are doing a great job of boxing guys out and allowing me to see the puck. I can’t give enough credit to the guys that are battling in front of me,” explained Price, who now boasts a 2.43 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage on the year. “That was a tough back-to-back, and we just found a way to do it against the Flames.”
That’s something Pacioretty expanded upon in the aftermath of the team’s eighth win of the season, which has them tied atop the league with the Anaheim Ducks with 16 points.
“You don’t like losing two in a row, especially on the road,” offered Pacioretty, who, like the rest of the team, was eager to put Monday night’s 3-0 loss in Edmonton behind him for good. “We had a lot to prove coming out west. It’s a different style of hockey. I think this is how you make a name for yourself. Obviously, we didn’t put together the best games over the last two days, but being able to find wins on the road is a good characteristic to have, and I’m thankful we have that. I think that’s been the brightest part of our season so far, being able to overcome that adversity.”
There’s no question about that. Fortunately, they’ve got a real warrior between the pipes they can depend on each and every time he gets the call.
“We got to see just what an elite goalie Carey is. He made big saves,” offered Tom Gilbert, who scored his first goal in a Canadiens uniform on Tuesday night. “This game could have been a lot different. You need your best player to be your goalie.”
Price was all that and more against the Flames. Period.
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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Making his mark