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Are the Canadiens playoff-ready? Price and Pacioretty say yes

With his second straight shutout on a squad that boasts the fewest goals against in the league, Carey Price looks ready to lead the Montreal Canadiens deep into the playoffs again.
The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Max Pacioretty scored late and Carey Price stood on his head as the Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Rangers 1-0.

Wait a minute. Wrong game sheet. That's from Thursday.

Max Pacioretty scored late and Carey Price stood on his head as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Washington Capitals 1-0. In overtime.

Yeah, that’s the right one.

Hot off the heels of out-dueling Henrik Lundqvist, Price was flawless again versus the Caps’ Braden Holtby, while Pacioretty once more provided the heroics to lift his otherwise punchless Canadiens to victory.

It was a hard-fought, intense contest that felt more like a second-round playoff matchup than a late January tilt. And while the Habs should be concerned about their offensive output these last two games, they can rest assured that Price and Pacioretty look ready for the playoffs.

So, too, does Tomas Plekanec, who helped set up Pacioretty’s game-winner.

With four players a side in OT, Plekanec took a long feed from P.K. Subban and lazily drifted along the boards through the neutral zone, taking advantage of the extra time and space. Plekanec waited for Pacioretty to get his feet moving before entering the zone, then hit Pacioretty with a pass that the winger put in as he was hauled down right in front of Holtby.

The overtime heroics wouldn't have been possible without Carey Price.

The Habs netminder stopped 11 shots on the penalty kill and 37 overall for his second straight shutout, fourth of the season and 29th of his career. It also moved him into a tie with Patrick Roy for fifth in Montreal history.

He's now played 153:03 of shutout hockey, including Thursday's blanking in New York.

The Canadiens have allowed the fewest goals against and have a plus-20 goal differential, despite ranking 23rd in goals scored.

They're winning games on that defence, and if their power play can wake up, they'll be scary indeed in the playoffs.

But even if the PP doesn't come to life, Carey Price looks ready to haunt the nightmares of whoever he faces in the post-season.

He's second in the league with a .933 save percentage, fourth in goals-against average with a 2.03 number and his 27 wins put him behind only Pekka Rinne.

Price looks poised to capture a Jennings Trophy, but is this the year the 27-year-old finally captures his first Vezina?



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