The Toronto Maple Leafs outshot the Montreal Canadiens 22-11 over the first 40 minutes of Saturday’s game and still entered the third period down 2-0. In the end, Montreal earned a 4-0 victory.
Goaltender Carey Price naturally deserves a lot of the credit as he turned aside 30 shots to earn his sixth shutout of the season and 31st of his career. This was also his 36th victory, which is tied for the most wins for any Canadiens goaltender through 50 games played, per the NHL’s Communications Department. The only Montreal netminder to match that feat was Ken Dryden in 1976-77.
With a 41-16-5 record, Montreal sits atop the Eastern Conference standings and Price is the single biggest reason for that. He leads the league with a 1.88 GAA and .936 save percentage.
Goaltenders rarely win the Hart Trophy, with Montreal’s Jose Theodore being the last one to accomplish that feat in 2001–02, but Price might follow in his footsteps. Along with New York Islanders forward John Tavares, Price was recently listed as a favorite to win the award by online bookmaker Bovada.
Mason looks for his first win vs. Rangers
Steve Mason will make his first start since Feb. 8 tonight when the Flyers play host to the New York Rangers. Mason allowed one goal on nine shots in relief of Rob Zepp on Thursday night. Mason is 0-2-0 with a 2.59 G.A.A. and .914 save percentage in two starts against New York.
Cam Talbot, who has shutout the Flyers twice this season, gets the nod for the Rangers.
Hurricanes at Islanders: Cam Ward vs. Chad Johnson
Devils at Blue Jackets: Cory Schneider vs. Curtis McElhinney
Coyotes at Bruins: Mike Smith vs. Tuukka Rask
Maple Leafs at Canadiens: Jonathan Bernier vs. Carey Price
Wild at Avalanche: Devan Dubnyk vs. Semyon Varlamov (unconfirmed)
Blues at Oilers: Brian Elliott vs. Ben Scrivens (likely)
Senators at Sharks: Andrew Hammond vs. Antti Niemi
The Montreal Canadiens could get veteran defenseman Sergei Gonchar and veteran forward P.A. Parenteau back in the lineup Saturday, according to multiple reports.
On Friday, the Habs sent blue liner Jarred Tinordi and forward Christian Thomas to the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL. Those transactions appear to be paving the way for Gonchar and Parenteau to get back in game action, with the Habs hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
Gonchar hasn’t played since Feb. 14, when he was slammed from behind into the boards by former Maple Leafs forward David Clarkson. Of course, Clarkson was traded to Columbus on Thursday.
Parenteau last played Jan. 15 and has been dealing with concussion issues.
Although Sidney Crosby is on a three-game point streak, he went on a rough stretch — at least when measured against the incredibly high standard he’s held to — from Jan. 20 to Feb. 19 where he recorded four goals and seven points in 13 games.
That seems to have taken its toll as Crosby’s no longer the favorite to win the Hart Trophy based on the odds from online bookmaker Bovada:
Carey Price 5/2
John Tavares 5/2
Sidney Crosby 3/1
Ryan Getzlaf 5/1
Alex Ovechkin 6/1
Jakub Voracek 15/2
Rick Nash 15/1
Mark Giordano 20/1
Vladimir Tarasenko 20/1
No goaltender has won the Hart Trophy since Jose Theodore in 2001–02, but there’s no denying that Carey Price has been vital to the Montreal Canadiens’ success. Meanwhile, Tavares was the big mover as he had 20/1 odds in early February.
Ovechkin also saw his chances jump significantly, from 15/1 to 6/1 as he chases his third straight Rocket Richard Trophy. Voracek has fallen from 9/2 to 15/2 while Philadelphia Flyers teammate Claude Giroux has slid off the list entirely.
Even on a night when a trade is the Columbus Blue Jackets’ biggest story, they still suffer from the theme of this season, as Brandon Dubinsky is once again injured.
He appeared to suffer the issue (labeled an upper-body injury) following a collision with Tom Gilbert right after scoring a goal. Dubinsky won’t return to tonight’s contest against the Montreal Canadiens, the Columbus Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell reports.
Here’s that painful moment following his tally:
Dubinsky’s season has already been limited by injury issues, so this has to be frustrating for the versatile forward and his remarkably unlucky team.