If the Montreal Canadiens would like to prove they’re more than just Carey Price, tonight would be a great time to do it.
That’s because the Los Angeles Kings are in town, and if there’s one team that understands how to own the puck, the Kings are it.
The Kings have endured all sorts of injuries to start the season, but they still have Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, and Drew Doughty, and they’re still possession monsters.
Two nights ago, Los Angeles absolutely dominated the young Maple Leafs. The Kings won the game, 7-0, and they won the shot clock, 43-19.
“Well, we’ve weathered the storm for six years, and the way we’ve done it is to be a high-possession team,” said head coach Darryl Sutter, per LA Kings Insider. “When you’re a high-possession team, you don’t play very much in your own zone, and that means you have the puck more than the other team, and it allows you to take some pressure off your goalie. I think we take great pride in not giving up a lot of shots. … That’s the reason we’ve been able to win a lot of games the last few years.”
Which brings us to the Canadiens, who definitely cannot say the same thing. The number-one reason for their success is all-world goalie Carey Price.
In the Habs’ last three games with Price between the pipes, they’ve been outshot by a whopping margin: 123 to 61. Yet all three games have been wins, as Price has improved to 8-0-0 with a .953 save percentage.
The only game Price didn’t start in the past week, the Habs lost by a converted touchdown and a field goal.
“We’re getting into trouble lately with the quality of our play with the puck,” Montreal coach Michel Therrien said Tuesday. “We need to win battles for the puck and protect the puck, and that’s what we’re having trouble with right now.”
That just so happens to be the specialty of the Los Angeles Kings, which should make tonight’s contest very interesting indeed.
Average shot differential this season
Los Angeles Kings: +7.7 (1st)
Montreal Canadiens: -6.6 (30th)
Related: Habs know they need to be more than just their goalie