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Carey Price, centre, has the best even-strength save percentage among starting goalies since the Sochi Olympics. This season, he also has a .927 save percentage and a 2.20 goals-against average.Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images

Reliance on stellar goaltending, a suspiciously high shooting percentage, grotesque shot-clock differentials: No, it isn't a scene from the House of Hockey Horrors at the Air Canada Centre. Look 500 kilometres to the east.

Statistical indicators suggest a market correction is looming for the Montreal Canadiens, a team that somehow just keeps on winning.

Perhaps the Habs have discovered a methodological loophole in the form of Carey Price, a man who has little use for stats.

Not likely. Math is unkind that way, but it's a comforting thought if you're a Montreal fan.

As they approach the midpoint of the season – Saturday's tilt against the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins will be their 41st game – the Canadiens hover near the top of the Eastern Conference.

This despite a middling power play, bottom-third possession numbers and the 19th-best goals-scored-per-game ratio in the NHL, which together foreshadow a hard landing at some point.

How to explain a team that so often struggles to move the puck out of its own end yet has the third-best defensive top-line number (goals against per game) in the league?

Well, it might be the C.P. variable.

Since October, 2013, only Boston's Tuukka Rask has posted a better even-strength save percentage than Price among regular starters. And since the Sochi Olympics, no one has (same story if you adjust for shot quality, as the stats site war-on-ice.com does).

The factoid was a surprise to the 27-year-old B.C. product.

"Sometimes they hit you, I guess," he shrugged.

The bigger picture has diminished in importance for Price, particularly since he started working with goalie coach Stéphane Waite prior to last season.

On Waite's advice, Price keeps a Zen monk-like focus on preparing for the next game.

"I'm not a big stats guy, and neither is Steph … statistics are kind of irrelevant when it comes to preparing for the next game," he said.

Price's .927 save percentage is third among goalies with 25 or more starts, and his goals-against average of 2.20 is tied for third.

More than that, he's become the unquestioned leader of a dressing room that doesn't have a captain this season – and a walking excuse to not pay attention to the indications that the good times can't last.

"I don't know if the regular measures apply when you have a goalie this good. I would argue we can give up more shots than most other teams without it hurting us as much," said winger David Desharnais, whose production has benefited from a shift away from his natural centre position.

The coaches are more preoccupied with scoring chances – for and against – than any other metric, and Desharnais allowed that the club is keen to clamp down more effectively on gilt-edged opposition chances in the second half of the season.

"You want to get all those numbers down, but at the same time it's been a pretty good season so far, and I think we have a lot more to give," Desharnais said.

Price makes similiar noises when asked if he's found the Holy Grail of goaltending (and of hockey in general): consistency.

"It's like golf: There's always room for improvement," he said, smiling. "If you have 82 shutouts in a season, I guess you might not improve a lot. But if you're not improving, somebody else is. That's the mindset we have around here."

There's a school of thought that goalies actually don't improve significantly over the course of their careers, although long-time observers of Price will quibble with that contention, and his stretch of fine play since Sochi suggests otherwise.

When teammate Brendan Gallagher was asked if he had observed any changes in his teammate since the gold-medal performance in Russia, he just laughed.

"I notice that he's really good – that's about it. Whenever I score on him in practice, I celebrate," said Gallagher, who has 11 goals on the other guys' goalie this season.

If there's one thing the Habs have shown over the past couple of seasons, it's that it doesn't pay to underestimate them.

After all, they have a player who allows them to bend the usual statistical rules.

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