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Nifty at 50

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL – If one tends to forget things with age, when it comes to Carey Price, it’s his age that one tends to forget.


In suiting up for Tuesday’s game against the Rangers, Price will see action for the 50th time this season. Not too shabby for a guy who will only turn 22 come August. It might seem routine for most, but not for a 21-year-old. Only 10 other goaltenders had hit the mark before their 22nd birthday.

Here's a list of goaltenders who appeared in at least 50 games in a single season before celebrating their 22nd birthday.
  GOALTENDER (age)
Season GP

Harry Lumley (19)
1945-46 50

Harry Lumley (20)

1946-47

52

Harry Lumley (21)

1947-48

60

Emile Francis (21)

1947-48

54

Terry Sawchuk (21)

1950-51

70

Gilles Meloche (21)

1971-72

46

Tom Barrasso (19)

1984-85

54

Tom Barrasso (20)

1985-86

60

Peter Ing (21)

1990-91

56

Jim Carey (21)

1995-96

71

Jocelyn Thibault (21)
 1995-96 50

M.-André Fleury (21)
2005-06 50
  Steve Mason (20)
 2008-09 58
Carey Price (21)
 2008-09 49
While the spotlight burnt out rather quickly for some in the group, including the Maple Leafs’ Peter Ing in 1990-91 and Washington’s Jim Carey in 1995-96, others have gone one to enjoy careers that have placed them among the elite masked men in the game.  Detroit Red Wings Hall of Fame netminder Harry Lumley appeared in 50 games in three straight seasons, from ages 19 to 21, preceded by 37 outings in 1944-45, at the tender age of 18.

It wouldn’t be the last time youth would be served in the Red Wings’ crease; in 1950-51, Detroit handed the reins to 21-year-old Terry Sawchuk.  The NHL’s current all-time shutouts leader suited up for 70 games that season, posting 44 wins.

Only one Canadiens goaltender has hit the mark before the age of 22.  In 1995-96, Jocelyn Thibault had played in 10 games with the Colorado Avalanche before coming to Montreal as part of the Patrick Roy deal.  He appeared in 40 games with the Habs, leading the team into the playoffs.

Those rounding out the list are no slouches, either.  Tom Barrasso captured two Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh after sparkling in his debut with the Buffalo Sabres in 1983-84.  While Emile Francis’ on-ice career was cut short, the netminder was inducted to the Hall of Fame as a builder.  Now the Penguins’ goaltending coach, Gilles Meloche appeared in two All-Star Games as a member of the Minnesota North Stars in the 1980s while current protégé Marc-Andre Fleury led Pittsburgh to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals.  And lastly, Blue Jackets rookie Steve Mason, who followed up Price’s 2007 World Junior MVP and Top Goaltender exploits with his own titles in 2008, is the most recent netminder to add his name to the list.

Heather Engel is a writer for canadiens.com
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