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Skills and Thrills

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL -- The All-Star Game is rarely a walk in the park for goaltenders.

On his way to a second appearance at the NHL’s annual All-Star Game this weekend in Raleigh, Carey Price can expect to see a lot of rubber flying his way as he prepares to man the crease for the first time during the skills competition.

In Montreal in 2009, Price, having just come back from injury a few days before the All-Star Game, missed the chance to participate in the skills portion of the event and instead spent his Saturday night stepping in for the L.A. Kings’ Erik Ersberg in the Young Guns game. Price finished the night giving up nine goals for the league’s sophomores in a 9-5 loss at the hands of the rookies.

Price enjoyed a better outing the following day at the actual All-Star Game where he bounced back nicely, letting in only two goals in his one period of action – the best performance of any goalie that took part in the game.

This year, Price is prepped for the full gambit of events and like the other Canadiens’ netminders to represent their team over the last 20 years, he’ll step between the pipes and try to shut the door on the league’s best during the skills competition.

During the 2007 ASG in Dallas, Cristobal Huet allowed two goals on four attempts during the penalty-shot segment of the competition and another two during the “In the Zone” challenge where he was left alone to defend his net for one minute as three forwards did their best to light the lamp.

In 2004 in Minnesota, José Théodore was lit up four times on 12 shots over the course of the competition as well as another two times in 2002 in Los Angeles.

Finally, while Patrick Roy may have registered a combined goals-against average of 6,80 in his six times representing the Canadiens at the All-Star Game, he made his elite status known during the skills events. In 1991 in Chicago, Roy stopped 23 of 25 shots to win the goaltender’s challenge before going on for a repeat performance three years later at Madison Square Garden, stopping 12 of 16 shots.

How will Carey stack up? The only thing that’s certain right now is that the league’s snipers won’t be taking it easy on him. Huet, Roy and Théodore can vouch for that.

Alexandre Harvey is a writer for Translated by Justin Fragapane.

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