Canucks: How do they compare to the Montreal Canadiens? (Part 1)

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 02: Goaltender Thatcher Demko #35 of the Vancouver Canucks defends the net near Brendan Gallagher #11 of the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at the Bell Centre on February 2, 2021 in Montreal, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-3. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 02: Goaltender Thatcher Demko #35 of the Vancouver Canucks defends the net near Brendan Gallagher #11 of the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at the Bell Centre on February 2, 2021 in Montreal, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-3. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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VANCOUVER, BC – MARCH 08: Goalie Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens stops Brock Boeser #6 of the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC – MARCH 08: Goalie Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens stops Brock Boeser #6 of the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

To no one’s surprise, goaltending continues to be a hot topic when discussing the Canadiens. For over a decade, the city of Montreal has been home to Carey Price, arguably one of the best goalies in the game.

And so far during these playoffs, he hasn’t disappointed.

Before this season, Price had appeared in nine different postseasons, posting a record of 30-36 over that span. He didn’t make it out of the first round in five of those postseasons, and his team only made it to the third round twice. Price barely played in those conference finals, losing the starting position to Jaroslav Halak early on in 2010, while only suiting up for one game in 2014 before being injured.

However, losing record aside, Price also entered this year’s playoffs with a respectable 2.67 GAA and .912 SV%. Over 11 games this year, he has posted a 1.97 GAA and .935 SV%, increasing his overall career numbers to 2.36 GAA and .920 SV% in 81 playoff games. To put this into perspective, Price currently sits tied for 13th in SV% and 19th in GAA all-time for goalies that have played in at least 50 playoff games.

Price also had consistency with his goaltending coaches during that span, working with Stephane Waite since 2013. Waite was replaced by Sean Burke after being let go from the team this past March.

GM Marc Bergevin also went out and acquired a suitable back-up for Price this past offseason, landing Jake Allen from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a third and seventh-round pick.

Allen was drafted by the Blues in the second round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, but has had somewhat of a rocky time in St. Louis. Over seven seasons, Allen recorded a 2.46 GAA and a .913 SV%, to go along with a record of 148-94-26. He served as the number one netminder over that span, but never seemed to put up the numbers to reflect that role. He would eventually lose the starting position to Jordan Binnington, who led the Blues to their first ever championship in 2019.

Of course, Bergevin knew that Allen wouldn’t be the starter when he went out and traded for him. Instead, he was able to land a solid back-up goaltender that could not only put up wins when Price needed a break during the regular season, but could also rely on their personal playoff experience if the unimaginable happened to Price during the postseason. Over his career, Allen has suited up for 29 playoff games.

Fortunately, Bergevin hasn’t needed to call upon Allen this year in the playoffs. Price has been doing his part for the Canadiens so far, much like he has done throughout his tenure in Montreal, and should continue to do so for as long as he’s able to.

Now, the big question – can Thatcher Demko eventually do the same?