The Montreal Canadiens were going nowhere fast. They couldn’t score goals and mostly, they couldn’t keep the puck out of their own net. Carey Price was not himself and WAS eventually placed on the injured reserve, and the Habs were forced to call up undrafted rookie Charlie Lindgren… but that’s when things got interesting.
Lindgren was not having a great season so far with the Laval Rockets, the Canadiens’ farm team. In nine games this season, his goals against average was 3.53 and he had a rather mediocre .885 saves percentage. Yet, he had a great training camp with the Habs and showed some great things last season, his first pro season. Really, was the 23 year-old the solution to straighten the ship in Montreal, something not even the great Price couldn’t do?
On the second day of a back-to-back, coach Claude Julien sent the young man to the wolves, giving him the net in Chicago against the powerful Blackhawks and Lindgren took full advantage of his opportunity. He was perfect in stopping all 38 shots directed at him, including several spectacular saves, to allow the Canadiens to shutout GM Marc Bergevin‘s old team by a 2-0 score.
With that performance and with Price still on the IR, Lindgren earned himself another start, in which he once again played extremely well, earning a 3-2 win against the surprising Las Vegas Golden Knights in a 29 saves effort, including a strong push at the end when Vegas pulled their goaltender in an attempt to tie the game.
— Stu Cowan (@StuCowan1) November 8, 2017
Defense on the mend?
When Julien was hired by Bergevin after the firing of Michel Therrien, he spoke to not wanting to change too much in the system in place, at least to end last season. This year, he had all training camp to implement his own style and system to the team and to anyone who is familiar to competitive hockey, it takes time. Pre-season is mostly to play young guys, to evaluate them and their development, and for veterans to get their legs under them. This season, they also had to learn Julien’s ways in limited ice time… and it showed at the start.
Bottom 10 NHL teams: GAA
Isles 3.18 pic.twitter.com/wII0KSylyG
— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) November 7, 2017
Jordie Benn, Karl Alzner and Jeff Petry are playing some better hockey and are coming into their own, Joe Morrow scored his first goal and we have yet to see David Schemko in a Habs’ uniform. Things are looking up folks, and remember that Bergevin has something few GMs have: cap space.
Winners of three in a row, it’s far from perfect for the Canadiens but having won six of their last eight games at the time of writing this, they find themselves only two points from a Wild Card playoffs’ spot and also two points from the Ottawa Senators in third place in their division.
Those on a witch hunt calling for Bergevin’s head are now slowly crawling back into their hole of misery, once again in wait for the next rough stretch to pounce back, as there will be more, every team going through them. In the meantime, it buys us, Habs’ fans, some reprieve of having to read and listen to them…
I do have a bit of an issue with the Montreal media and some fans (surprise, surprise, I know), and it has to do with the way they are treating Carey Price. Yes, I have been critical of Price in a previous article but it wasn’t personal, just about his on-ice play… and that’s where the line must be drawn!
— 📰 J.D. Lagrange 🎙 (@Habsterix) November 6, 2017
I truly wish people would recognize that this guy is just going through a rough time, and that there has to be something we don’t know to explain his “unlike-Price” performances, and that he hasn’t forgotten how to play goal. He will be back as strong as he was and when he does, the Canadiens will be that much stronger! Take it easy folks, take a deep breath and stop listening to the media personalities searching for sensation, hits on websites, readership and listenership, and understand that by feeding you crap, they are filling their pockets when you buy into it.
Just like the Canadiens weren’t as bad as their record showed to start the season, Price isn’t as bad as his stats are showing so far, and we all know it. No, Lindgren cannot take over at this point and no, Price will not be traded. To borrow Carey’s own quote: “Chill out“. Go Habs Go!