It’s been 23 years since the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup. In fact, that was the last Canadian team to win hockey’s ultimate prize. That streak may end this June if Carey Price continues to play at an absolutely extraordinary level.
The season is just about a third of the way gone, but Carey Price is playing the best hockey of his life. His GAA and save percentage are the highest they’ve been in any season ever. Statistically speaking, at any level of play since he was 16 years old, he has never performed better than he is performing now.
Two years ago during his marvelous 2014-15 season when he took home the Vezina Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, William M. Jennings Trophy, and Ted Lindsay Award, he had a GAA of 1.96 and a save percentage of .933. This year those numbers are 1.82 and .942, respectively. Absolutely mind-boggling.
Obviously a smaller sample size than the rest, but his stats as they stand would be the lowest GAA since Tony Esposito posted a 1.77 GAA in 1971-72 and the highest save percentage since the league began measuring that statistic in 1983-84. If Price keeps up this level of play throughout the entire season—and there’s nothing to say he won’t, except for the fact that nobody has ever played this well over a full season—he may very well lead Montreal to the top of the hockey world once again.
The Canadiens are riding Price’s historic start as they sit atop the league standings with 39 points in 27 games, losing just six in regulation—although five of those losses have come in their last 10 games. They rank fifth in the league in goals against (61) and have an eye-popping 13-1-1 record at the Bell Centre (as of Thursday, December 8).
While the addition of Shea Weber has certainly held down the defensive zone, knowing you have the best goalie in the world currently playing behind you is a boost of confidence that goes a very long way towards success. It’s tough to be successful hockey team in the NHL without a top-tier goalie. It’s even harder to succeed in the playoffs without one. As long as he stays healthy, Price should carry this team deep into the spring. Even if he drops off his historic pace.
Sit back and enjoy it, Montreal.