So Carey Price is human after all.
There were reports that he was Superman, but Montreal's 20-year-old rookie goalie proved he was a mere mortal tonight by playing like one for the first time in these playoffs. Price melted down and the Canadiens, who came home looking to eliminate Boston after five games, absorbed a 5-1 beating from the Bruins because of it.
"It''s my first bad game in 12 starts, it's going to happen eventually," Price said.
To be fair, it did take a while. Price was sharp for the first two periods and kept the Canadiens hanging around when they were not playing their best game. But early in the third period, Price made a freshman goof by getting too fancy with a rebound. and he fumbled the puck, gift wrapping what because the winning goal for the Bruins.
Price was beaten again minutes later by a Zdeno Chara slapshot and then seemed to come unglued, giving up two more goals later in the period on what looked like harmless plays.
You can chalk it up to a bad night for the youngster and maybe one he's entitled too. But the issue for the Canadiens is really less about their goalie than their play overall.
Montreal still holds a 3-2 lead heading back to Boston for Game 6, but the series has been played for the most part on the Bruins terms. The Eastern Conference's top seeded team needs to use its speed to create offense, but the Canadiens are finding little room to manever because of Boston's tight checking. It has crippled Montreal's league best and critical power play, which has gone just 2-for-24. The man advantages have been such a disaster, the Bruins score a shorthanded goal that put the game away.
Now maybe the Canadiens were thinking past the Bruins. Everyone else in their city was. But Montreal hasn't come close to dominanting Boston the way it did in the regular season, and in many ways, the Canadiens are fortunate to be leading the series.
They are supposed to win against a team that barely snuck into the playoffs, but with Boston goalie Tim Thomas playing as well as Price, Montreal is asking for trouble by letting the Bruins hang around too long.