Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price will miss Saturday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets with a lower body injury, the team announced Thursday.
The decision to sit Price is being called a preventative measure.
Al Montoya will receive the start, while it’s believed either Charlie Lindgren or Zach Fucale will be called up from the affiliate in Laval.
In most normal circumstances, even the whiff of losing Price for a game would send shockwaves through Montreal and its fanbase.
But this season is different and the 30-year-old from Anahim Lake hasn’t exactly been playing stellar hockey in the Habs’ net.
Price is 3-7-0 in 11 starts, with zero shutouts. He has a goals against average of 3.77 and a save percentage of .877. For those scoring at home, that puts him 28th out of the 28 goalies who’ve played in eight or more games.
Price has been brilliant in other seasons, obviously, and his stellar play has been able to help the Canadiens push through some wins. But this season, that’s not happening and the club is a 4-8-1 disappointment.
What’s more, Price has allowed four or more goals in seven of his 11 starts. He allowed five goals on 26 shots for a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
According to head coach Claude Julien, it isn’t known if Price suffered the injury on Thursday.
Regardless, this would be as good a time as any for the Canadiens to rally.
They’ve been abysmal in five-on-five situations, scoring just 23 goals to put them 17th overall. And their power play is 28th overall at 13.5 percent, plus they’ve scored the first goal in just four games and are 1-2-1 with the early advantage.
So how does a team that’s 0-6-0 when trailing after one period accomplish a turnaround? That’s a good question, but it would start with carving down their opposition’s tendency to get off to an early lead. The Canadiens have allowed 22 goals in the first period, a league-high total.
With or without Price, Montreal has to start figuring this out. The season is young, but the writing is already on the wall.