Carey Price the target of crease crashers
Habs' locker room remains confident they can protect their star goaltender
The Montreal Canadiens have a problem.
Their star goaltender Carey Price is so good, it appears their opponents best chance to beat him is to run into him — and physically knock him out of position.
Veteran NHL defenceman Sergei Gonchar says this is not an easy trend to stop.
"Those teams are frustrated because he's playing so well, he stops everything, so to me its more a sign of frustration from other teams than anything else," Gonchar says.
Crashing the crease to get a goaltender off his game is far from an original concept in the NHL, but for the Habs it should pressing a concern.
If he gets run over and taken out, it could easily spell the end to the Habs championship hopes.
"After what happened last year, you got to be scared about stuff like that," says Habs forward Dale Weise.
Last year in the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Rangers, the Habs drive to a 25th Stanley Cup was stopped cold when Chris Kreider barrelled in on Carey Price and ran him over.
Price was injured and didn't play again. With backup goalie Dustin Tokarski, Montreal lost the series to New York in 6 games.
It stands to reason, that if you're a team facing the Habs in the playoffs this year, taking a run at Price might not be a bad plan.
Disrupting goaltenders is part of the plan
Brendan Gallagaher says the Habs are expecting teams to come after Price.
"When teams are game planning you always game plan to shut down their best player, you do whatever you can do to get him off his game. So that is what they're going to try."
Gallagher is a player that knows more than a little bit about getting goaltender off his game.
One of his signature moves is getting into the blue paint and making a goaltender's life uncomfortable.
"Anyway you can make it tougher for them to make saves and make them battle and make them work, its something that you're trying to do, everyone in this locker room talks about doing it every night and I'm sure every team around the league is the same way," Gallagher says.
"It's tough, it's kind of on the offensive player," he says.
"It's more on the offensive guy but we got to do a better job of boxing guys out and not letting them get there."
'It's not going to work,' Weise says
The Habs locker room remains confident they can protect Carey Price despite the challenges.
Weise says opponents should think twice before crashing into Price.
"He's been so good, everybody knows that, you're not going to beat him on clean shots you're going to have to get some bodies there, whether that's a tactic of them trying to rattle him or get in his head, little do they know its not going to work on Carey," Weise says.
"I know it happened last year in the playoffs, but I think we have enough character in this room not to let that happen."
The Habs and Carey Price next game is Thursday night in Winnipeg.