Lightning Approaches in the Stanley Cup and Carey Price Can’t Stop Them


Reasonable minds may disagree here, but: The most scrutinized position in sport might be the first goalkeeper in Montreal, where praise, criticism, and comparisons to legends are made within minutes, bilingual, without too much break for lunch. .

Jacques Plante lived that life, Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy lived it, and so did Carey Price, who played more games and more seasons with the Canadians than any of them.

Under the Coupe Stanley placards they helped lift but did not lift, Price stepped onto the ice at the Bell Center on Friday for the first Cup final match in Montreal in nearly three decades, to a raucous applause. About two and a half hours later, after a 6-3 defeat to Tampa Bay, he went much further than adding his name to the only trophy to escape him and the only trophy that matters.

All three games of the Finals ended the same way, with Tampa Bay scoring more goals than Montreal, though there are other, nuanced reasons why Lightning was on the verge of victory. Second Cup in nine months, one that dominates is not quite familiar to Canadians: They have a lower keeper.

“I can definitely play better,” Price later said. “So far not good enough.”

It wasn’t until Friday night that Price was disclosed to the news media since last Sunday, the day before the series premiered, that her responses contained as many syllables as this series would allow. That total is now 13, or eight or more (.954 to .840) than allowed by his Lightning counterpart, Andrei Vasilevskiy, who was 18 shots of equal power more than Price, but saved a much higher percentage in these circumstances.

The difference between them was most evident in Game 2, where Vasilevskiy saved 42 of 43 shots from the Canadiens. cross circle transition Blake Coleman poked while falling.

Lightning Coach Jon Cooper, discussing Vasilevskiy’s evolution, praised Price’s consistency and calm demeanor and how it took time to evolve into it.

“It’s still his time, but he’s been in the league for over 15 years,” Cooper said. “I think the torches have passed. I think Carey still carries the torch, but it’s being passed.”

Even by pandemic standards, it’s been a tumultuous season for Price, when longtime goalkeeping coach Stephane Waite was fired in March. After missing the last 13 games due to a concussion, Price actually played fewer games (25) than his backup (29).

But by saving the Canadiens, he opened the playoffs by silencing Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner to overcome a three-game deficit against Toronto. He then advanced to their first finals, beating the last two Vezina Cup winners awarded to Connor Hellebuyck of Winnipeg and Marc-Andre Fleury of Vegas, the league’s top goalkeeper.

Previously Price had made it to the league semifinals and only stayed in two periods of Game 1 against Rangers in 2014. convicted of knee injury He continued when Chris Kreider rumbled at him. He had waited 14 seasons for its first finale, and when the series finally made its way to Montreal on Friday, there weren’t many fans to watch it.

Despite Canadian requests to increase capacity at the Bell Centre, public health officials in Quebec continued to limit attendance to 3,500 people. The decision infuriated the players and Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme, who returned Friday from a 14-day quarantine after contracting the coronavirus, and wondered why thousands of fans were allowed to gather outside.

“As much as it could be a way to reward people for getting two doses, it could be an incentive to increase vaccinations,” Ducharme said in French Friday morning. Said. “It could have been a way to reward fans who spent 14 or 15 months in isolation and had the chance to participate in such a moment.”

Walkers watched the Yıldırım score twice in the first three and a half minutes of each of the first two periods. The penalty kick had lively screens and passivity, slow line changes and awkward man attacks, a soft goal that outpaced Price. When Tampa Bay added a fifth addition late in the third quarter, the series began with a dreadful Montreal turnover and ended with a rebound.

“We made a lot of mistakes,” Ducharme said. “And they pay you cash for those mistakes.”

Given how they cling to history in Montreal, it didn’t go unnoticed how these Canadians mirrored the city’s last Cup winner in 1993. This team also finished low in the rankings – third in the former Adams Division – but put Roy on a record. 24th championship.

At 27, Roy has lifted two Trophies. At 27, Price had won the Hart Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player; a Vezina; and an Olympic gold medal. Now 33 years old and deep in a brilliant career with the same legendary team, Price is still looking for his first title. Unless he and his team start to play better, Price will have to postpone that dream for another year unless he gets a win or two or four starting Monday night’s Game 4.

“We have no other choice,” he said.


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