The Montréal Canadiens easily took care of the Ottawa Senators by winning the home and away series this week by a combined score of 10-4.
The one thing that stood out to me was in the last few games, the Montréal Canadiens outshot their opponents 166-102 and won three of four games. When you have more than 40 shots on goal, chances are the puck will go in and it has lately.
Last night was no exception as they outshot the Senators 43-21 and won 5-2 behind 2 goals by Paul Byron who was playing in front of his hometown crowd.
In addition, Carey Price seems to be hitting his stride as of late, winning 3 of his last 4 starts and upping his save percentage to .900% and lowering his GAA TO 2.96.
The Habs will need Price to be at his absolute best and steal some games as they have two Western Conference games this week against Chicago Sunday night and the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night. The Habs will need to be disciplined against the Wild as their power play is ranked 13th in the league at 22.6%.
Issues On The Power Play
The one thing that’s worrisome is the power play. It just hasn’t clicked lately. Their power play ranks 3rd last in the league (14.1%). Only the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks have worse power plays than the Habs. Since Shea Weber has come back, they have played better but they can’t seem to find the back of the net when they have the man advantage.
Given how players from opposing teams know that Weber can rip a shot from the blue line, they try to block the shooting lane only to just get out of the way once he lets go of a shot.
The Habs didn’t need the power play last night despite going 0-for-3 with the man advantage but when the Habs play against teams that are better than them in the standings, they will need to find a way to draw penalties and properly set up the power play in a way that they’ll be able to convert. They don’t have to convert on every power play but if 1 out of 4 opportunities are converted on average per game, then that’s a sign that the Habs are doing something right.
To summarize, the power play needs to gets better, stellar goaltending will be a must from Price and the balanced scoring has to continue if the Habs have any shot of making the postseason.
stats from NHL.com
featured image photo credit – Kelly Clair