With the Canadiens enjoying an off-day Wednesday after posting back-to-back victories over the Rangers Monday night in New York and the Dallas Stars Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, The Gazette’s Pat Hickey noted that the secret to the Habs’ success can be found in the statistics.
Hickey writes that the goaltending has been outstanding, but as Carey Price and Peter Budaj will tell you they get a lot of help from their teammates.
The Canadiens have been outshot by an average margin of 32-30 and rank 22nd in the National Hockey League in shots allowed. But the Canadiens are No. 1 in blocking shots, with 243 blocks this season, and three players are among the top 30 in that category. Josh Gorges has blocked 39 shots, second to the New York Islanders’ Andrew MacDonald, who has 42. Andrei Markov ranks ninth with 32 blocked shots and Raphael Diaz is 27th with 25.
“They make our job easier,” said Price, who noted the Canadiens have had more blocked shots than saves in each of their two wins this week.
Price and Budaj have a combined 1.77 goals-against average, which ranks fourth in the NHL.
With back-to-back road games slated for Friday in Minnesota (8 p.m., RDS, TSN Radio 690) and Saturday in Colorado (10 p.m., CBC, RDS, TSN Radio 690), Hickey reports that coach Michel Therrien will use both goaltenders. Look for Budaj to get the call in Colorado. He played six seasons there, from 2005 to 2011, and was the Avalanche’s No. 1 goalie for three of those seasons.
The Canadiens will practise at 10:30 Thursday morning in Brossard before hitting the road.
(Photo by Allen McInnis/The Gazette)