The Montreal Canadiens remained the NHL’s only unbeaten team in regulation on Wednesday night thanks to a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
That win improves their record to 9-0-1 on the season, giving them the best record in the league.
To get the win they went back to an old formula that served them well two years ago. Get outplayed, give up a lot of shots and hope that Carey Price can steal a game for them in net.
On Wednesday, he stole a game for them.
Price stopped all 42 shots he faced to record his first shutout of the season, and improve his record to a perfect 6-0-0. His save percentage now sits at .948. His record in his past 18 starts dating back to last season is 16-2.
This was probably by far the Canadiens’ worst game of the season. They were outshot by 20 shots and were clearly the inferior team by every objective and subjective measure.
But this is why Price is so important. When he is in the lineup and playing at his best, he can mask pretty much all of the flaws the team in front of him might have on a given night and put the team on his back and carry it to victory. You saw him do it over a full season two years ago, and you saw what happened to the Canadiens a year ago when he missed all but 12 games of the season. This is a big reason why this year’s fast start for the Canadiens should produce a better ending than the one we saw from them a year ago.
As for the Canucks, it extends their current losing streak to six games as they continue to struggle to score goals. They have just seven goals during this current streak and have now been shut out three times after a 4-0 start.