The Wraparound: Carey Price can still carry the Canadiens

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The Wraparound is your daily look at the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’ll break down the NHL playoff games today with the all-important television and live streaming information included.

• The Avalanche look to rebound from an off game against the Golden Knights.

Want to catch up on all of Saturday night’s playoff action? Check out the NHL Playoff Buzzer.

When Carey Price was at his peak there were few players in the NHL that could impact a game or season the way he could.

Part of it was simply the nature of the position he plays. Nothing can change the outcome of a game (or several games) like elite goaltending. If you have goaltending, your team is always going to have a chance to compete. It can mask a lot of flaws.

When you get the level of goaltending that Price gave the Canadiens between 2013-14 and 2016-17, it is going to turn you into a contender no matter what the rest of your team is doing. He was that good during those four years, and at times took the Canadiens much further than they had any business going.

Today, at age 33 and soon-to-be 34, he is not quite at that same level on a consistent basis. His overall numbers have dropped, and the consistency is not quite what it was.

But he is still capable of going on a roll and elevating his team to a totally unexpected level, especially come playoff time. He is doing it again right now.

Entering Game 3 of their Second Round series against the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday evening (6 p.m. ET; NBCSN) he is the biggest reason they have won five games in a row and have a chance to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.

Overall, he has a .935 save percentage for the playoffs and is coming off of a 30-save shutout where he backstopped the Canadiens to a 1-0 win.

[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

All postseason he has looked like the dominant version of Price the Canadiens used to see every game. Confident, calm, and in complete control of every game. And it is something that they get in the playoffs every time they make it. You can debate the “clutch” aspect all you want, but Price has played at a level in the playoffs that almost no other goalie can match for several years now.

Go back to the start of the 2013-14 season, and Price’s .928 save percentage in his 43 appearances is the second-best mark in the league among goalies that have appeared in at least 20 games (Craig Anderson has a .931 mark in 25 games).

Since the start of the 2016-17 season, he has a .935 save percentage that is 11 points higher than any other goalie in the league during that stretch. The gap between him and the second-best goalie during that stretch is the same as the gap between the second-best goalie on the list (Cam Talbot, .924) and the 16th ranked goalie (John Gibson, .913 save percentage).

Over the past two years alone he has…

  • Helped the 24th ranked Canadiens beat the Penguins, one of the top teams and top offensive teams in the league, in the best-of-five qualifying round in the bubble.

  • Gave the Flyers, another top-ranked and top offensive team, everything they could handle in the First Round of the 2020 playoffs, pushing the series to six games. The Canadiens lost three games in that series where Price allowed two goals or less, including a 1-0 game in Game 3 of the series.

  • Helped Montreal overcome a 3-1 series deficit in the First Round this year against a heavily favored Maple Leafs team, allowing just three total goals in Games 6 and 7 of the series. He was a minute away from a Game 7 shutout.

  • Has the Canadiens just two wins away from reaching the NHL semifinals.

They would not be here without his play. When you pay a goalie $10M a year, you expect to get that level of play in the biggest games.

If you have goaltending, you always have a chance.

The Canadiens have a chance because of Carey Price.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 Second Round schedule, TV info]

SUNDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 3: Jets at Canadiens, 6 p.m. ET (MTL leads 2-0) – NBCSN (livestream)
Game 4: Avalanche at Golden Knights, 8:30 p.m. ET (COL leads 2-1) – NBCSN (livestream)

MONDAY’S NHL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE

Game 5: Bruins at Islanders, 6:30 p.m. ET (Series tied 2-2) – NBC (livestream)
Game 4:
Jets at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (MTL leads 2-0) – NBCSN (livestream)

More NHL News

Barzal heating up as Islanders even series with Bruins Lightning push Hurricanes to brink after wild second period of Game 4 Golden Knights stun Avalanche with late Game 3 comeback

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

The Wraparound: Carey Price can still carry the Canadiens originally appeared on NBCSports.com