What Dreams May Come

Justin Goldman

2008-03-10

Carey Price

 

Carey Price had to be the only one who truly believed he was talented enough to be the go-to guy for the Montreal Canadiens by the end of the regular season. Sure enough, the trade deadline came and went and it has become more than just some silly pipe dream come true.

 

The 5th overall draft pick in 2005 has actually been leading the Canadiens in the battle for the Eastern Conference championship since the trade deadline, and he’s doing it in fine fashion.

The trade that sent Cristobal Huet to Washington was surely a shocker, but when all was said and done, even more surprising was that Montreal’s coaching staff and front office trusted Price enough to let Huet go for mere pennies on the dollar. Add to the fact that Jaroslav Halak bided his time with solid play in the AHL while waiting for a chance to get called up, and you have developed quite an interesting story for the two rookies to see what other dreams could come true for the Canadiens.

One visible indicator that Price has the capability to lead Montreal deep into the playoffs is how he reacted after allowing six goals on 39 shots against the high-flying Sharks. He stormed into Phoenix and faced the same amount of rubber, but this time only allowed two goals as he out-dueled Ilya Bryzgalov. Then it was Halak’s turn to raise eyebrows, as his first game turned out to be a tremendous success. He was pinned up against Swedish rookie Erik Ersberg and thrived by making 35 saves for the win against the Kings. Suddenly, he can (and will) be counted on to provide stability when Price starts to slip.

If this becomes a situation where Montreal has the luxury of throwing either goaltender in the net on any given night, then look for a very interesting end to the regular season in the East. Sure, Price and Halak will show signs of youth and inexperience, but in the long run if they can be successful, they will become a prized goalie tandem worth keeping together for many years.

Give Credit Where Credit is Due

While I realize the defense in front of Jose Theodore has doubled in strength with the acquisitions of Ruslan Salei and Adam Foote, that doesn’t even account for half of what he did to lead the Avs on their seven-game winning streak, which ended last night in Dallas. He has been nothing less than a giant rock in the net, putting together big games and making big saves when his team needed it most. Shutting out the Ducks and then holding Dallas to one goal is real proof of his unbelievable turnaround season.

The 3-1 win against Dallas on Saturday was more impressive than the shutout against the Ducks on Thursday, mainly because of the high-flying Brad Richards and the fact that Theodore had an ugly 1-8-1 record against the Stars coming into the game. It was merely a coincidence, though, that the two teams happened to be ranked #2 and #7, thus imbibing the gods of fate to resurface old memories of the last two first-round playoff matches in the Western Conference.

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Overall it paints an interesting picture in the West, because Colorado went from a mangled team with no real identity to one of th