Price Deadly in Duel with Lundqvist (and Kreider)
Revenge is a dish best served cold. Ice cold. Like Carey Price’s stare. And heart. If you wait by the frozen river long enough, the body of your enemy will glide by. Price passed this lesson onto the New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider very explicitly by waiting 18 months to enact his revenge for an “accidentally-on-purpose” hit that drove Price and his team out of the playoffs.
Price sees him coming, stands his ground, knocks him over, then stands over the prone body of the helpless enemy, presumably asking him whether he has fully absorbed the wisdom he is currently experiencing:
When asked about this instructional interaction after the game, Price’s response was perfect: “ I didn’t know who it was.” Since Price very obviously did know who it was, I can only assume he was saying something like “Chris who? Never heard of him.” The disrespect could be heard echoing through the Bell Centre’s hallowed halls.
Price’s hit was an exclamation point on the finest regular-season goaltending duel in years. The matchup between New York’s Henrik Lundqvist and Montreal’s Carey Price, two of the league’s premier goaltending talents, was highly anticipated; it became one of the rare instances where the event surpasses its hype.
Fittingly, the finest moments for both goaltenders were good-old-fashioned traumatizing glove saves. Price went first, slapping aside Rick Nash:
Nash suggested that his knuckleball of a shot might have made it even harder for Price to stop, but the legendarily modest goaltender would have none of it: “In that instance, [Pittsburgh Penguins defenceman Kristopher] Letang scored on a goal like that last game, it fooled me.” he said. “On that one I was able to track it, it actually gave me enough time to get over to it.” Niceties aside, his stop on that shot and the subsequent rebound was, by itself, award-worthy.
Not to be outdueled, Lundqvist put the squeeze on Devante Smith-Pelly:
Lundqvist’s unbelievable response time left Smith-Pelly stunned: “I caught it out of the air, so I was sure he wouldn’t have time enough to react. Unbelievable.”
The elite level of their counterpart’s performance wasn’t lost on the men of the moment, either.
Lundqvist admired Price ruefully: “I knew I couldn’t give up too many goals to have a chance to win here tonight. I lost count of how many times we’ve been shut out in this building [….] For some reason he likes to play us.”
Price was unabashed in his praise of Lundqvist: “He was awesome. That was a spectacle. He put on a clinic out there; I really like watching him.”
If these teams and goaltenders can compete with such quality and intensity so early in the season, imagine what they could bring to a playoff series. Cross your fingers.