Another busy Friday night in the NHL may be overshadowed by a number of games at the World Junior Championship, but one thing that shouldn’t be missed is Carey Price's appearance in net for the Montreal Canadiens.
Price will suit up for his 400th game as a Hab against Jaromir Jagr and the New Jersey Devils at 7 p.m. ET at the Prudential Center.
The 27-year-old netminder passed Ken Dryden early last week to move into third spot all-time in games started by a goaltender in a Habs uniform. He currently sits behind legends Jacques Plante (556 games played) and Patrick Roy (551 games played).
Price is locked into a contract for this season, plus three more after it, averaging 53 starts a season for his career (not including the lockout-shortened year) and has a pretty clean bill of health, as well as age on his side, so he has a very solid chance of passing both Plante and Roy to take over as the franchise leader in starts by a goaltender.
This stat may not be as impressive as being the all-time leader in franchise wins (Plante also holds this record with 314), but it shows how much faith the Montreal franchise has had in Price since drafting him with the fifth overall pick in the 2005 draft. If Price secures the win tonight against the Devils it will be his 200th in a Habs uniform, moving him closer to greats Bill Durnan, Dryden, Roy and Plante; an impressive group to be mentioned with.
Price doesn't have any hardware sitting on his mantle and his main claim to fame from a stats standpoint is leading the league in wins in 2010-11 with 38, but he's been a staple in Montreal's net for a long time. Sure, there were question marks surrounding him after an abysmal 2009-10 season, in which he only won 13 games, but those question marks are no longer and Price is a constant in conversations about the best goaltenders in the NHL. He also appeared in this amazing video:
Although it hasn't happened yet, a Vezina Trophy is surely in Price's future and if he can stay healthy he'll etch his name in the history books as one of the top goaltenders in Habs history. He's one of the reasons the Habs are where they currently are as a franchise and if all goes well he should pass some of the best goaltenders in Canadiens' history in games played and wins, maybe even taking over at the top if he stays on his current course.