It was the sort of blunder you might have made yourself, when the other kids forced you to take a turn in goal during your road-hockey days.
There you were, in your crease, retrieving the loose ball with your hands and then flipping it forward to a teammate. Except then a darned opponent, who’d been goal-sucking all day, suddenly intercepted your flip and, yikes, turned around and scored on you. And then you quickly shed your goalie stuff and demanded to be a forward again.
Well, other than unloading his equipment and switching his position, this essentially happened to Carey Price last night. Problem was, it wasn’t a road-hockey game. This was a real-life NHL playoff match, and the embarrassing goof — Price’s first in the post-season — cost the heavily favoured Montreal Canadiens big-time. It also seemed to adversely affect the rookie the rest of the night.
Boston’s Glen Metropolit was the dude who suddenly found himself in position to intercept Price’s flip early in the third period, and he quickly scored to break a
1-1 tie. It was Metropolit’s first goal since Feb. 5, it stunned the Montreal crowd, and it breathed new life into the Bruins, who were owned by the Habs all season and were on the brink of elimination last night.
The Bruins scored three more times in the final period — once short-handed — to prevail 5-1, reduce Montreal’s series lead to 3-2 and prove Price isn’t flawless. He wasn’t even in position on the Bruins’ fifth goal.
Perhaps Price was due for a rookie mistake or two. Entering last night, although he wasn’t tested much by the offensively challenged Bruins, Price had been solid in the series and occasionally spectacular. The 20-year-old native of Vancouver had allowed only five goals on 120 shots in his first four playoff games.
But, last night, Price wasn’t right — you knew that cheap line was coming, eh? — and the Bruins took advantage. In fact, after trailing 1-0 in the first period, the Bruins outplayed the Habs in the second before dominating in the third.
And you wonder now which Carey Price you’ll see when the series resumes in Boston tomorrow night — the one who was heretofore reminiscent of superstar Montreal goalies Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy in their rookie years, or the one who looked flustered and well below average last night.