It was a game of missed opportunities and lack of special team execution that leaves the Boston Bruins in an 0-1 hole against the Montreal Canadiens, but another main reason for their 4-3 double overtime loss was Carey Price.
Sure, the Bruins didn’t capitalize on numerous occasions, but Price was a major factor in the Canadiens win. He turned away 48 of an eye-popping 51 B’s shots.
There was much talk coming into the series that if the Habs got the “good” Price that it would be a different series. So far, so good for the Habs.
Although Price came into the game with a 13-17 playoff record (34 matchups), a 2.82 goals against average and a .905 save percentage, he stood tall between the pipes stealing home ice away from the Black and Gold.
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was animated after his team’s loss admitting Price outplayed him in Game 1.
“Yeah, we had a lot of chances there,” said Rask, who made 29 saves in the losing effort. “Could go either way, especially in the first overtime. It just went to the wrong way, I guess, on the goal line and stuff. I think as a team we deserved to win, but from a goalie’s standpoint (Carey) Price played a lot better that I did.”
When the B’s score three goals, it’s usually enough to win, but on this night it wasn’t. Rask took nothing away from Price afterward.
“No, he’s a great goalie,” Rask said about Price. “You got to work hard to get those goals. We got three. It should be enough to win.”
Canadiens forward Brian Gionta praised his goaltender on his performance on a night where his team didn’t bring their best effort.
“Carey (Price) gave us a chance to win tonight,” Gionta told reporters after the game. “It wasn’t our best game. He held us in and he made some huge saves for us. We’re fortunate to come out and it’s a big win for us.”
Making 48 saves in one night is a difficult feat, but Price isn’t basting in his own glory. He is crediting his teammates in their Game 1 win.
“I don’t want to sit here and point out things that I did well through the game or point out individual efforts,” Price said. “That was a full team effort tonight.”
Jarome Iginla was happy with how his team played around Price, but admitted the missed opportunities came back to haunt them in the loss.
“We hit some posts, he made some great saves and sometimes we didn’t put it up or elevate it when we had a chance, myself included, but we got great chances and great looks and I thought we had some really good zone-time,” Iginla said.
P.K. Subban had a tremendous game as well scoring two power-play goals on the night. One, setting the tone early and another sending the Bruins crowd home at a loss for words. But, Price outplayed his counterpart and Vezina Trophy finalist Rask on this night.
The key for the Black and Gold will be scoring on Price early on Saturday afternoon because even though he let up three goals in the third period in Game 1, he looks poised and like that goalie we all saw over in Sochi, Russia for the Olympics three months ago. That’s a bad combination.