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Canadiens goalie blessed

Carey Price has been priceless between the pipes for the Canadiens this season. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Carey Price has been priceless between the pipes for the Canadiens this season. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

For the second straight season, the Montreal Canadiens are reaping the rewards that come with having a white-hot goalie, only this time, it’s Carey Price (who is making a case for team, if not league MVP) in the regular season and not Jaroslav Halak in the playoffs. And Price is a big factor in the Habs’ continued rise up the THN.com Power Rankings.

The 23-year-old, who felt the heat in Habs Town last season due to his inconsistent play, has a 1.50 goals-against average and .953 save percentage in his past two games. Overall this season, he’s 26-17-5 with a 2.32 GAA and .922 SP. Contrast that with his 13-20-5 mark, 2.77 GAA and .912 SP in 2009-10 and it’s easy to see he’s a much more confident netminder.

The Canadiens will need him to continue his strong play. The Habs currently sit sixth in the Eastern Conference, only two points behind Boston for the Northeast Division lead, but just seven points ahead of ninth-place Atlanta.

Price and his teammates don’t play until Wednesday this week, but then have three games in four nights – first, visiting the Bruins, then hosting the New York Islanders Thursday and the division rival Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

THE HOCKEY NEWS POWER RANKINGS
RK.
TEAM
LW
THE SCOOP
1
Philadelphia Flyers
1
Mike Richards is Mr. Consistency for Flyers: three power play goals, three shorthanded goals, four game-winning goals
2
Vancouver Canucks
2
Canucks host Sens, Ducks before big Saturday showdown with hot Flames
3
Pittsburgh Penguins
4
Loss of Evgeni Malkin a big blow, but Pens’ defense (which includes NHL’s top penalty kill at 88.9 percent efficiency) can step up to fill the void
4
Tampa Bay Lightning
6
Dwayne Roloson was 6-13-1 with a 2.64 goals-against average and .916 save percentage with Isles before being traded to Bolts; he’s gone 8-4-0 with a 2.21 GAA and .927 SP since
5
Detroit Red Wings
3
Back-to-back goal-less games (against Blue Jackets and Preds) last week highly uncharacteristic for Wings
6
Boston Bruins
7
Bruins overtake Flyers for league lead in 5-on-5 goals-for/against ratio (1.48)
7
Washington Capitals
8
Alex Semin had 44 and 45 assists the past two years; this season, he’s on track for only 29
8
Montreal Canadiens
11
Brian Gionta leads Habs with 208 shots – 47 more than No. 2 most-active shooter Tomas Plekanec
9
Dallas Stars
5
Stars failed miserably last week, losing to Canucks, Bruins and Flyers
10
Nashville Predators
9
Predators 4-0 in shootouts on the road, but just 2-3 at home
11
San Jose Sharks
16
Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau each have eight power play goals and three game-winners
12
Anaheim Ducks
12
Hot Ducks swing through Western Canada for dates with Canucks, Flames and Oilers this week
13
Los Angeles Kings
19
Anze Kopitar has just one goal since Dec. 26
14
New York Rangers
10
Blueshirts lead NHL in hits (1,562)
15
Phoenix Coyotes
13
Michal Rozsival still looking for his first goal and point as a Coyote
16
Minnesota Wild
15
Martin Havlat has 14 goals, 45 points in 52 games this year; he had 18 goals and 54 points in 73 games last season
17
Chicago Blackhawks
14
Viktor Stalberg had six goals through mid-November, but just two since then
18
Calgary Flames
21
Improving Flames still miss the net more times (711) than any NHL team. In second place? Surprisingly, Detroit (708)
19
Carolina Hurricanes
18
Five-game road trip begins Tuesday and sees Canes play Devils twice, as well as Flyers, Lightning, Thrashers
20
Colorado Avalanche
17
Will Peter Forsberg’s return boost Avs’ playoff hopes, or result in more disappointment?
21
Atlanta Thrashers
20
Light week for skidding Thrashers, with Monday game against Leafs followed by three-day break
22
Columbus Blue Jackets
23
Trade rumors swirling around so-so Jackets; only Nash seems to be an untouchable
23
Buffalo Sabres
22
Thomas Vanek leads Sabres’ pointgetters, but also has team’s second-worst plus-minus (minus-12)
24
St. Louis Blues
24
Blues will need at least a split in upcoming home-and-home series with Wild to keep playoff hopes from fading
25
Florida Panthers
25
Once again, Panthers on periphery of playoffs as trade deadline approaches; what will they do this time – buy or sell?
26
Toronto Maple Leafs
26
Phil Kessel sounding disgruntled, but not many ‘gruntled’ Leafs to begin with
27
New Jersey Devils
28
Improving Devils still block fewer shots (566) than any NHL team. In 29th place? Surprisingly, Detroit (594)
28
Ottawa Senators
27
Last days for Phillips, Kovalev and Fisher in a Sens uniform?
29
New York Islanders
30
When he’s healthy – and until further notice – Rick DiPietro will do nothing but tend net
30
Edmonton Oilers
29
No team has given away the puck more than Oilers (623)

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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