For Carey Price to hear even one boo after he was announced as tonight's third star in a 2-1 loss to Carolina was beyond ludicrous. Montreal fans are supposed to be knowledgeable, supposed to be able to recognize when a player deserves their praise or their scorn. Price did not deserve to be booed tonight, not by a longshot.
To be fair, the rest of his teammates got it pretty good in the final two minutes of regulation as they bumbled their way toward an attempt at a tying goal, one that very nearly came off the stick of Brian Gionta with about 10 seconds to play in regulation.
But then Price was named the game's third star, and he must have been thinking how this was at least a small reward for his solid's night work. Then he gets booed.
Booed for making 16 saves on 17 shots in the third period. Booed for getting only one goal of support from his teammates. Booed for losing a game he did everything in his power to win.
It's not right, and downright stupid.
Afterwards, Price spoke to reporters about the booing and admits it gets to him a little bit.
"That's a bit frustrating," he said. "But there's nothing I can do, it's out of my hands."
No, it was in his teammates hands to go and grab the win right from the opening 20 minutes, when the Hurricanes were chasing the Canadiens around the entire time, trying to keep up. Yes, Cam Ward was brilliant in limiting Montreal to one power play goal, but the Canadiens shooters lacked the finish necessary when you're dominating the play like they were.
Instead, Price was left to wonder what he has to do to get a win. The team has scored 11 goals in his last six losses, just under two a game. How can he be expected to win under those conditions?
It seems even he has stopped trying to come up with answers.
“I kind of stopped looking for reasons," he said. "I found what I need to do to play well, and that’s all I can do. If I’m not going to get rewarded for it, then so be it.”
But you know what? That's a conversation for next season. Right now, for whatever reason, the Canadiens simply don't win when Price is in. So he needs to stay out and Jaroslav Halak needs to start the final five games. Because after blowing two points Wednesday, the playoff situation is getting a little precarious for Montreal, though the Habs remain in control of their own destiny. But losses in winnable games are no longer an option, and Jacques Martin talking about the positives to be taken out of that game was completely inappropriate.
You take positives out of a loss in December. In late March, there are no positives in a loss.