On paper, Thursday’s Montreal Canadiens – Minnesota Wild game looked like it could be a Vezina finalist battle between Carey Price and Devan Dubnyk. Instead, it seemed to highlight the distance between the two goalies and teams.
For just the fifth time in his career, Price allowed 7 goals as the Wild just kept scoring and scoring. Tomas Plekanec played the shutout spoiler for Dubnyk, but a 7-1 win was still an emphatic statement by the blazing-hot Wild.
(It turns out Eric Staal‘s strong play and the two goals in 39 seconds was just part of the story.)
On one hand, Montreal was closing off a back-to-back set with their own seven-goal win from Wednesday. Also, nights like these are rare for Price:
On the other, this hasn’t been the only night that Price has struggled lately.
Price has given up 14 goals in his last three games and has allowed at least four tallies five times since Dec. 16. You can slice it up plenty of other ways, but things haven’t been going smoothly in recent weeks.
As this post notes, things have gone just about the opposite way for Staal, Dubnyk and the Wild. With three points on Thursday, Eric Staal now has 38 points in 40 games. Dubnyk fell short of his sixth shutout of 2016-17, but he’s still on fire, and the Wild are now on a 14-1-1 run since Dec. 4.
Chalk it up to Dubnyk, that underrated offense, Bruce Boudreau or some combination of those factors, but maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised by tonight’s result. Then again, does a 7-1 outcome ever feel normal?
Certainly not for a team with Price on it.