|Carey Price earned the No. 1 star in grand fashion by picking up his second career NHL shutout. |
MONTREAL – Two showdowns, same result. By picking up his second straight win over the Devils - with a shutout no less - could Carey Price
the student be surpassing Martin Brodeur the master?
After helping the Canadiens snatch back the top seed in the East with a 4-0 win, Price was unable to contain his excitement as the customary throng of media surrounded his dressing room stall. Getting the best of Brodeur it seems, was too much for the normally stoic Price to ignore.
“It’s certainly special to get a shutout against a future Hall-of-Famer like Martin Brodeur,” admitted Price. “He may not have been shooting at me, but it makes this nonetheless even sweeter.”
Price’s 38-save performance marked the most stops by a Habs goalie in a shutout victory since Jose Theodore kicked aside 39 shots in a 3-0 win over the Bruins in Boston on Feb. 1, 2001.
“I faced a lot of shots, but I like rubber,” added Price with an uncharacteristic smile after registering his second shutout of his young career. “My defense did a terrific job keeping most of their shots from the outside and I was able to block most of them with my stomach.”
Price also became only the third goalie to have beaten Brodeur twice this season, joining Rick DiPietro of the Islanders and the Senators’ Martin Gerber. The rookie goalie’s heroics didn’t go unnoticed by a capacity Bell Centre crowd whose chants of “Carey, Carey” seemed to get louder as the game’s final moments ticked away.
“I like it,” said Price, grinning from ear-to-ear. “It’s amazing to play in front of this crowd every night. The emotion they bring us forces all of us to elevate our game.”
Carey is a big kid with the talent to match and he’s got a bright future ahead of him. - Martin Brodeur
If a deafening crowd isn’t enough to do the trick, Price’s head coach knows another way to get his goalie’s juices flowing.
“Any player, in any sport, wants to face the very best,” explained Carbonneau, who built his own reputation as player by facing the opposition’s top player every night. “That’s definitely the case with a character guy like Carey. I’m sure he had that challenge on his mind tonight. He may have been a little nervous at first, but he fought through it and got the job done.”
When it comes to facing the best, they don’t come much better than three-time Stanley Cup champion Martin Brodeur. Even the defending Vezina Trophy winner can’t help being blown away with Price’s meteoric rise this season.
“It’s impressive to see him go,” said Brodeur. “I like his poise under pressure and his rebound control was great tonight. He's a big kid with the talent to match and it’s pretty obvious that he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com