Montreal and Carey Price's quest for the Stanley Cup

Montreal's epic journey to The Stanley Cup.

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and so it begins............"The 2016 Habless Quest For Lord Stanley"

Conf. Seed WESTERN CONFERENCE ------ EASTERN CONFERENCE Conf. Seed
Round 1 Round 2 Conf. Final Final Conf. Final Round 2 Round 1
Central Div. Metro. Div.
Dallas (1) Washington (1)
Stars win 4-2 Caps win 4-2
Minnesota (8) Dallas Washington Philadelphia (7)
------ Blues win 4-3 Pens win 4-2 ------
St. Louis (2) St. Louis St. Louis Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh (2)
Blues win 4-3 Pens win 4-1
Chicago (3) Pittsburgh NY Rangers (4)
Pacific Div. Sharks win 4-2 Pens win 4-2 Pens win 4-2 Atlantic Div.
Anaheim (4) San Jose Florida (3)
Preds win 4-3 Isles win 4-2
Nashville (7) Nashville San Jose Tampa Bay NY Islanders NY Islanders (5)
------ Sharks win 4-3 Tampa wins 4-1 ------
Los Angeles (5) San Jose Tampa Bay Tampa Bay (6)
Sharks win 4-1 Bolts win 4-1
San Jose (6) Detroit (8)

Sunday April 10, 2016 - This season was a disappointment. The loss of Carey Price was too much to overcome as he played in only 12 games all season. He proved he is the MVP of the team by not being in the line up. The off season acquisitions of Kassian, Semin and Fleischmann were major disappointments. Other injuries to Petry, Subban, Beaulieu, Gilbert, Emelin, Mitchell, Flynn, Gallagher, Carr, Byron, and Desharnais over the course of the year was frustrating and added to the poor performance.

The stats below tell the tale for the season. As the season progressed Montreal dropped in all categories.

Montreal 25 games in 25 games in 50 games in 50 games in reg.season reg.season
Stats Comparison Ranking Ranking Ranking
Record 18-4-3 2nd 24-22-4 20th 38-38-6 22nd
Average points per game 1.56 2nd 1.04 22nd 1.00 22nd
Powerplay (percentage) 23.9 % 4th 17.4 % 22nd 16.2 % 25th
Penalty kill (percentage) 86.2 % 2nd 84.3 % 6th 81.9 % 12th
Goal differential per game +1.28 1st 0.00 14th -0.207 20th
Goals for per game 3.48 2nd 2.66 10th 2.63 17th
Goals against per game 2.2 3rd 2.66 19th 2.84 21st

Jan 29, 2016 - After 50 games you can see the Habs statistics thus far this year in the table below. The disturbing thing is how far they have dropped in every category in the past 25 games. Twenty five games in the season their record was 18-4-3 but in the next 25 games a dismal record of 6-18-1 for a record of 24-22-4 after 50 games.

Goaltending has not been bad, without Carey Price but there has been mental defensive errors that have resulted in losses. The offensive output has been terrible in the last 25 games. Galchenyuk, Plekanec, Pacioretty, Eller, Desharnais, Subban and Markov have not met expectations offensively. They all show signs of brilliance but all have been inconsistent in their efforts. I fear a shake up is in the works but will be required to kick start a run in the final 32 games of the regular season.

Montreal is currently 3 points out of the playoffs but has played more games, so they are even further behind. The reasons for the slide are obvious. In the past 25 games they have been the worst team in the league. Powerplay has dropped from 4th to 22nd and goal differential has gone from 1st to 14th over the same timeframe. Realistically to make the playoffs they need to be 14 games over 500 in the next 32 games. 23-9-0 is the target to make the playoffs.

There is enough blame to go around with Bergevin, Therrion, the other coaching staff and players have to be held accountable. The fan base is not going to accept this lack luster performance for the rest of the season and making the playoffs is going to take a strong effort in the remaining 32 games. There is no question that Marc Bergevin is a smart man by signing a multi-year extension on November 25, 2015 that will keep him under contract through the 21/22 season. (Just days before the slide in the standings.)

Montreal 25 games in 25 games in 50 games in 50 games in
Stats Comparison Ranking Ranking
Record 18-4-3 2nd 24-22-4 20th
Average points per game 1.56 2nd 1.04 22nd
Powerplay (percentage) 23.9 % 4th 17.4 % 22nd
Penalty kill (percentage) 86.2 % 2nd 84.3 % 6th
Goal differential per game +1.28 1st 0.00 14th
Goals for per game 3.48 2nd 2.66 10th
Goals against per game 2.2 3rd 2.66 19th

Team Review, December 01, 2015 - Before we review the team, we must first look at what were the needs of the team going into the 15/16 season. Montreal needed to improve their goals scored and not at the expense of their defensive roles. There inability to score was a major factor in not moving further into the playoffs. Montreal also did not take advantage on the powerplay. The Canadiens needed to make the opposition pay when they take a penalty.

After 25 games and two months in the books the Canadiens have a record of 18-4-3, so let's look at the progress they have made based on last years stats in the comparison below.

Montreal 2014/15 2014/15 2015/16 2015/16
Stats Comparison League Ranking League Ranking
Average points per game 1.3415 2nd 1.56 2nd
Powerplay (percentage) 16 % 25th 23.9 % 4th
Penalty kill (percentage) 83.7 % 9th 86.2 % 2nd
Goal differential per game +.37 6th +1.28 1st
Goals for per game 2.61 20th 3.48 2nd
Goals against per game 2.24 1st 2.2 3rd

Average points per game has Montreal solidly in second place in the league. Powerplay and penalty kill percentages have dramatically improved.

Montreal leads the league in goal differential. (Average goals scored less avergae goals against). Last year they were + 0.37 for 6th overall. In the first two months of the season, they are + 1.28 for 1st overall.

The Fleischmann signing has given the Habs an awesome third line giving the team balanced scoring. The Kassian and Semin signings have not paid off.

Montreal has been bitten by the injury bug of late. Carey Price missed 8 games in the first three weeks on November and now Carey is on the shelf till mid January after aggrevating the same lower body injury on November 25th. On November 22nd Brendan Gallagher broke two fingers and will miss 6 weeks. On November 19th Torrey Mitchell suffered a lower body injury and will miss three weeks. Semin is on the shelf as well with a lower body injury and should be back soon as a healthy scratch. Emelin has also missed 5 games and is now back in the line up.

No one expects Montreal to continue with their torrid pace with Price and Gallagher on the shelf. On the positive side, it gives Montreal a chance to test their depth and give players an opportunity to crack the line up.