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Let’s be honest.
Were it not for the heroics of Carey Price, your Montreal Canadiens would not be in the playoffs.
But as we say in this red-hot – and, this week, unseasonably cold – hockey city, what have you done for me lately?
Heading into Game 1 in Tampa Bay, the Canadiens goaltender was 4-14 in his previous 18 postseason starts.
Price’s overall playoff record was 9-17. His save percentage: a very ordinary .905.
But .905 is better than .750.
Through 60 minutes against the Lightning, Price was beaten four times on 16 shots.
There were turnovers to create some Tampa Bay chances.
And Steven Stamkos scores against many NHL goaltenders.
But still …
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You can make an arguable case that Brian Gionta scored the most important goal of your Montreal Canadiens season.
The proof will be in the postseason pudding.
Imagine the scenario if the Captain had not put that nifty penalty-shot move on Cam Talbot in Overtime.
What if the Canadiens had lost against a team resting its number-one goaltender, its top two defencemen and its prize late-season acquisition.
The New York Rangers who outshot the home team 41-27 and held the Canadiens scoreless through 62:04 accomplished this without Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi or Martin St. Louis.
What if this depleted Rangers lineup had won … which they would have had Carey Price not been brilliant yet again?