April 23, 2011
At first, we figured Carey Price(notes) was being deviously provocative in his choice of rallying cry for the Montreal Canadiens, considering Game 5 is back in the home city to the Boston Bruins and the Red Sox, who made "Cowboy Up" famous.
Then we realized Price is a rodeo guy. Maybe it's just part of his vernacular. Either way, this is what the Habs goalie is saying in front of a critical game in this 2-2 series:
"(The Bruins) were facing adversity and now it's our turn," Price said. "You can pretty well take all the quotes they were saying two games ago. We just have to cowboy up and do it.
"At the start of the series, if you told me it would be 2-2 after four, I think we would have taken that," Price said. "Now it's a best of three and it's a sprint to the end of this one."
Matt Kalman is wondering if Price will take it all the way and introduce Kevin Millar whiskey shots after victories. Hey, whatever gets you through the playoffs.
If the Eastern Conference quarterfinal is a relay race, then Price is the anchor.
Boston was a chamber of horrors for him, with a 3.46 GAA there in the regular season in six starts. Then he pitched a shutout in Game 1, a 31-save performance ably assisted by his defense. He was the difference in Game 2, stopping 34 shots.
Back in Montreal, it was different story. He had a misplay that led to a Rich Peverley(notes) goal in a Game 3 loss that saw him give up three goals. In Game 4, he surrendered five; although the majority of them were on the Canadiens in front of him, such as the blown change that led to Michael Ryder's(notes) OT goal.
So tonight brings Game 5, and with it a chance for Price to make a difference. Via the Canadian Press, he seemed confident that the series trends for the visiting team will continue:
''It seems both teams want road advantage now,'' Price said with a grin. ''It seems like it's easier when you go on the road because you're not trying to impress anyone.''
In the regular season, Price was 4-5-0 in road games after home losses, and two of them were blowouts in Boston: The 8-6 loss on Feb. 9 and the 7-0 embarrassment on March 24 in the first game since the Max Pacioretty(notes) injury. However, in those four wins, he gave up one goal or less.
So will they win tonight? I don't know. But I do know that it is up to Carey Price. If the Price of games one and two shows up, this is a Habs win. B
ut if the shaky team in front of Carey Price, along with the less than stellar Carey of game four, well, then this is anybody's game.
So Cowboy Up or down 3-2? A lot of it will depend on Carey Price.