BOSTON — Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is hard enough to beat without making his job somewhat easy.
After all, he’s the best goalie in the NHL as the reigning Hart and Vezina trophy winner.
The Bruins just didn’t make him work hard enough in Saturday night’s 4-2 loss to the Habs at TD Garden. Boston created just five high-danger scoring chances through 60 minutes, and just two of them happened at even strength, per War on Ice. Montreal had 13 total and 10 at even strength.
The Bruins also didn’t register an ideal amount of shots from the slot area. Most of their attempts from this area missed the net or were blocked, but they did break through for a late power-play goal with under a minute to play in the third period.
Here’s a map of their shot locations in all situations (special teams and even strength).
The next chart shows the shot locations from 5-on-5 play. Price was forced to make only one save from the slot area in 41 minutes of 5-on-5 action.
Price rose to the occasion when the Bruins did force him to make Grade A-stops, including a sequence in the first period when he made a couple excellent saves on Bruins forward David Pastrnak.
Both teams generated 19 shot attempts in all situations during the first period, but Montreal began to pull away in the puck possession battle with a 43-24 advantage in shot attempts through the final 40 minutes. The Habs earned a 34-16 edge in 5-on-5 shot attempts over the last two periods.
This level of shot output isn’t going to cut it when you’re trailing by multiple goals against an elite goaltender, especially when the majority of these attempts are from the outside. For the Bruins to create more quality scoring chances, their breakouts from the defensive end must be faster, zone entries have to be more efficient and they need to be willing to drive hard to the net.
Price entered Saturday’s game with a 21-8-3 record, a .923 save percentage and a 2.38 GAA in his career against the Bruins. He’s also won five straight games against the Original Six club.
Price doesn’t get rattled by the rivalry, the crowd or any in-game situation. He’s composed in net and gives his team a chance to win almost every night. The former first-round pick had 44 games last season in which he gave up two goals or fewer, and he’s 2-for-2 in 2015-16.
The Bruins must make him work harder to turn the tide in this rivalry, one that the Canadiens have dominated recently with six straight wins.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Oct 10, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov (79) and goalie Carey Price (31) celebrate after defeating the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports