The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 last night at the Bell Centre. It was hailed as the Max Pacioretty show, considering he had a pair of penalty shots, missed both but was still able to grab first star honors with a hat trick.
Price got the best of his counterpart last night with a 42 save performance that led to Habs to the win. Luongo made a pair of saves on penalty shots, but allowed four goals on 28 shots overall.
Price and Luongo are both heading to Sochi, Russia in a few days to represent their country at the Olympics. Since the roster was announced back on January 5th, the only decision that seemed set in stone in regards to Canada’s goaltending, was that Mike Smith would be the third stringer and would not play.
This left Luongo and Price to battle it out for a month to see who would in the crease for Team Canada when the puck drops in game one. Just when it seemed the two would take off and play spectacular hockey, Luongo was injured and Price put up the worst numbers of his season.
Price was solid in wins over the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks immediately following the announcement. He started the next six games in a row and lost five, while posting a goals against average of 4.75 and an .853 save percentage.
Price was bombarded over this six game stretch due to poor defensive play in front of him, but it was quite obvious he was not at his best after being named an Olympian.
Luongo on the other hand, was hurt and missed the Canucks six games after he was named to represent Canada in Sochi. When he came back to the lineup, he allowed just five goals in a three game stretch, helping Vancouver to a pair of much needed victories.
Over each of their last five games, the story has been much different. Price has been nothing short of phenomenal, and Luongo is struggling much like Carey was recently.
Price has rebounded to lead the Habs to a 3-1-1 record in the past five games by posting a 1.19 GAA and a .966 SV%. Meanwhile Luongo is 1-4-0 over the same span with a 3.64 GAA and a .881 SV%.
Price and Luongo have an identical 2.18 GAA over the course of this season, with Price coming out slightly ahead with his .924 SV% to Luongo’s .918.
Choosing who will be between the pipes when the puck drops against Norway on Thursday will be a tough decision for the coaching staff of Team Canada to make.
It may make sense to go with Luongo, who won gold in 2010, but Price showed once again last night that he is capable of going head to head with the best goalies in the world and coming out on top.