Montreal Canadiens: Samuel Montembeault's Consistency Has Earned Him No.1 Role

New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens
New York Rangers v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

If there was any questions regarding the Montreal Canadiens number one goaltender at the beginning of the season, Samuel Montembeault has answered them all, emphatically.

Saturday night was another great example of Montembeault’s brilliance between the pipes. The Quebec local posted a hot 46 saves in the Canadiens 4-3 shootout win over the league-leading New York Rangers. 

The game's first star was brilliant, but he saved his best for the shootout- robbing Mika Zibanejad with the paddle of a sure highlight-reel goal - an homage to Peter Forsberg. 

New York did come back from down 3-0, so it’s easy to point fingers at Montembeault. But the fact of the matter is, Montembeault was determined to outduel the Stanley Cup champion at the opposite end of the rink. Johnathan Quick is a first-ballot Hockey Hall of Famer and no. 35 came ready to battle. 

The 46 shots he faced came from some lethal Rangers shooters, such as Artemi Panarin, Zibanejad and Adam Fox. It’s time to move on from the three-goalie rotation and make No. 35 the definitive number-one guy for the Habs. He continues to make key saves each game, and very seldom does he have a bad night between the pipes.

This was yet another great performance in a line of consistently great outings for Montembeault. But this game was a little different - The potent Rangers offence was very trigger-happy - Monty had to stand tall on many occasions. He did just that, making a collection of ten bell saves.

For anybody to play at the Bell Centre it's something special, visiting teams speak about it all the time. But Quebec-born players feel it a little extra, especially when they don the bleu, blanc et rouge. So for Monty to be doing the incredible things that he's done this year and last, there's very little to discuss about who belongs between the pipes for the Habs.

Montreal has been blessed with a long line of very talented goalies in the franchise's storied history. From Vezina and Hainsworth to Roy and Dryden, then Carey Price. The fanbase isn't used to the team having no distinctive number-one netminder, and thankfully, Montembeault has shored up the role.

It was a full team effort on Saturday night, but when it came down to the shootout, the Canadiens relied heavily on their goalie. Cole Caufield scored a win-securing tally and it was up to Montembeault to seal the win. He did just that, in a game where he was the Canadiens undisputed best player.

Montembeault has done everything to prove himself and it's pretty clear that he is the Canadiens number one goaltender.