I’ve been reading quite a bit of stuff lately that says the Montreal Canadiens should have Jaroslav Halak as their number one goalie.
I couldn’t disagree more.
I think when people say this, they’re not looking at the overall picture. They’re simply looking at wins and losses, and trying to make a decision based on that.
Unfortunately, that’s not enough. You need to look at the full picture.
First, Halak has five wins, and two losses, compared to Price’s two wins and five losses.
But you need to look at who they played:
Halak wins: Atlanta, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, New York Islanders (again) and Toronto.
Halak losses: Calgary and Pittsburgh.
Price wins: Toronto, Buffalo
Price losses: Vancouver, Edmonton, Colorado, Ottawa and Chicago.
So Price has played against all playoff teams except for Toronto (a win) and Vancouver (a loss that was entirely the fault of the defence in front of him).
Halak has played again only three playoff teams: the Rangers, Calgary and Pittsburgh. And he’s lost two of them.
So Halak looks really good when he’s stacked up against weak teams, but not so good when he’s playing against playoff teams.
Their goals against reflects this as well. Halak has a 2.85, while Price has a 3.44 goals against. But if you take the Vancouver game out of the equation for Price, and his goals against is actually 2.81.
And if you look at save percentage, they’re almost equal. Halak has a save percentage of .893, while Price is .889.
So what does all this prove? That except for one game against the Canucks (and again, none of the goals in that game was Price’s fault), these two goalies are equal in goals against and save percentage. The only reason Halak has more wins is because he’s played against weaker teams.
This whole goalie tandem thing is reminding me a lot of Patrick Roy in the early 90s. Roy would always play against the top teams, and his backups would play against the worst teams in the league.
The same thing is happening now. Price is being asked to beat the best teams, and in doing so, is facing more talented players and better offensive systems. Halak is playing against those teams that rely on one or two players, and seem to be lost at times.
I’m actually hoping this is some sort of plan by the Habs brass so make Halak seem unbeatable, so he can be traded to a team needing goaltending help, and in return, Montreal can get a good prospect or someone to help put pucks in the net (maybe Florida for Stephen Weiss or Michael Frolik, or Detroit for Darren Helm or Dan Cleary).
But no matter what someone else may tell you, never doubt for a minute that this is Carey Price’s team.