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Canadiens goalie blessed

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

For the second straight season, the Montreal Canadiens are reaping the rewards that come with having a white-hot goalie, only this time, it’s Carey Price (who is making a case for team, if not league MVP) in the regular season and not Jaroslav Halak in the playoffs. And Price is a big factor in the Habs’ continued rise up the THN.com Power Rankings.

The 23-year-old, who felt the heat in Habs Town last season due to his inconsistent play, has a 1.50 goals-against average and .953 save percentage in his past two games. Overall this season, he’s 26-17-5 with a 2.32 GAA and .922 SP. Contrast that with his 13-20-5 mark, 2.77 GAA and .912 SP in 2009-10 and it’s easy to see he’s a much more confident netminder.

The Canadiens will need him to continue his strong play. The Habs currently sit sixth in the Eastern Conference, only two points behind Boston for the Northeast Division lead, but just seven points ahead of ninth-place Atlanta.

Price and his teammates don’t play until Wednesday this week, but then have three games in four nights – first, visiting the Bruins, then hosting the New York Islanders Thursday and the division rival Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

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THE SCOOP

1

1

Mike Richards is Mr. Consistency for Flyers: three power play goals, three shorthanded goals, four game-winning goals

2

2

Canucks host Sens, Ducks before big Saturday showdown with hot Flames

3

4

Loss of Evgeni Malkin a big blow, but Pens’ defense (which includes NHL’s top penalty kill at 88.9 percent efficiency) can step up to fill the void

4

6

Dwayne Roloson was 6-13-1 with a 2.64 goals-against average and .916 save percentage with Isles before being traded to Bolts; he’s gone 8-4-0 with a 2.21 GAA and .927 SP since

5

3

Back-to-back goal-less games (against Blue Jackets and Preds) last week highly uncharacteristic for Wings

6

7

Bruins overtake Flyers for league lead in 5-on-5 goals-for/against ratio (1.48)

7

8

Alex Semin had 44 and 45 assists the past two years; this season, he’s on track for only 29

8

11

Brian Gionta leads Habs with 208 shots – 47 more than No. 2 most-active shooter Tomas Plekanec

9

5

Stars failed miserably last week, losing to Canucks, Bruins and Flyers

10

9

Predators 4-0 in shootouts on the road, but just 2-3 at home

11

16

Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau each have eight power play goals and three game-winners

12

12

Hot Ducks swing through Western Canada for dates with Canucks, Flames and Oilers this week

13

19

Anze Kopitar has just one goal since Dec. 26

14

10

Blueshirts lead NHL in hits (1,562)

15

13

Michal Rozsival still looking for his first goal and point as a Coyote

16

15

Martin Havlat has 14 goals, 45 points in 52 games this year; he had 18 goals and 54 points in 73 games last season

17

14

Viktor Stalberg had six goals through mid-November, but just two since then

18

21

Improving Flames still miss the net more times (711) than any NHL team. In second place? Surprisingly, Detroit (708)

19

18

Five-game road trip begins Tuesday and sees Canes play Devils twice, as well as Flyers, Lightning, Thrashers

20

17

Will Peter Forsberg’s return boost Avs’ playoff hopes, or result in more disappointment?

21

20

Light week for skidding Thrashers, with Monday game against Leafs followed by three-day break

22

23

Trade rumors swirling around so-so Jackets; only Nash seems to be an untouchable

23

22

Thomas Vanek leads Sabres’ pointgetters, but also has team’s second-worst plus-minus (minus-12)

24

24

Blues will need at least a split in upcoming home-and-home series with Wild to keep playoff hopes from fading

25

25

Once again, Panthers on periphery of playoffs as trade deadline approaches; what will they do this time – buy or sell?

26

26

Phil Kessel sounding disgruntled, but not many ‘gruntled’ Leafs to begin with

27

28

Improving Devils still block fewer shots (566) than any NHL team. In 29th place? Surprisingly, Detroit (594)

28

27

Last days for Phillips, Kovalev and Fisher in a Sens uniform?

29

30

When he’s healthy – and until further notice – Rick DiPietro will do nothing but tend net

30

29

No team has given away the puck more than Oilers (623)

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

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