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Friday, December 4, 2009
Habs' goaltender Price makes a statement

By Matt Kalman

In a game featuring an offensive eruption by Montreal -- including a hat trick by veteran winger Michael Cammalleri -- and a parade of defensive miscues by the Bruins, it'd be easy to overlook one other troubling fact for Boston.

But you can't ignore that Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is officially over his one-year case of "Bruins-itis."

Price made 37 saves in the Habs' 5-1 rout of Boston on the night his franchise celebrated its 100th anniversary with the legendary Patrick Roy and Ken Dryden both in the house. Paired with a 42-save shootout win at Boston Nov. 5, Price has been dominant against the Bruins. His 2009-10 numbers are a far cry from the 1-2-1 record, 3.46 goals-against average and .878 save percentage he posted against the Black and Gold a season ago.

The final score might make it seem like Price had an easy night. However, when the result was still in doubt, Price came up huge. Early in the first period the Bruins had a chance to grab the momentum on a Marco Sturm breakaway. Price stuck out his right pad and kept the game scoreless.

A post-to-post save by Price on Byron Bitz kept the Habs ahead, 1-0, a little later in the period. And then came the 5-on-3. While the Bruins didn't exactly mount their best attack with a two-man advantage, they did fire three shots on net that were all turned away by Price.

The Bruins, meanwhile, rewarded Tim Thomas for his standout performance Wednesday against Tampa Bay by hanging him out to dry. A couple unforgivable giveaways (Matt Hunwick, Derek Morris) and an inexcusable premature line change (Dennis Wideman) fueled the Habs' ability to chase Thomas from the crease in favor of Tuukka Rask in two periods. With the type of goal support he received, Price never had a chance to get flustered. But it was his early-game performance that gave his scorers a chance to get cranking.

There are still four games left in the regular season series between the Bruins and Habs. So there's plenty of time for the Bruins to solve Price. With the two clubs' recent magnet-like pull for one another come playoff time, it'd be best to wear down Price before spring arrives.