For Carey Price, the 2013 season officially came off the rails on Saturday, April 4, in Toronto.
In front of a national Canadian TV audience, Price allowed three goals on four Maple Leafs shots before getting pulled.
One of the goals looked like this:
And that was only the beginning of the nightmare stretch. In his next outing, Price surrendered six goals on 29 Philadelphia shots before once again getting the hook.
There were more rough outings to come, including in the Habs’ brief playoff appearance.
Price, 25, had actually started the shortened season quite well, putting up especially strong numbers in January and February and earning a decent amount of Vezina Trophy buzz.
But that seems like a long time ago now, and Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin knows it’s on the organization to help its struggling netminder.
“Goaltending’s a difficult position, very demanding,” said Bergevin. “So it’s normal that a young player feels pressure.
“We’ll do everything we can to make sure he gets through this stage.”
Certainly a strong start would go a long way toward attaining that objective; otherwise, the Montreal spotlight will only burn hotter.
“When you’re winning here there’s no better place to play,” Price said. “But when you’re not playing well here it’s definitely tough.”
Price is signed through 2017-18, with a big $6.5 million cap hit. No other Canadien has a bigger contract than that.
Of note, Montreal opens the 2013-14 regular season with two home games against — you guessed it — Toronto and Philadelphia.