Surprising star – balanced power play

The Habs are not at the bottom of the conference like most professional analysts predicted. They are doing quite well in fact. Mainly because of the Power Play.

Stats as of Tuesday Nov 6

5th overall in points in the league.

4th (Tied) for goals for

10th (tied) for goals against

35th – ranking of best point getter (Saku Koivu)

The interesting thing is that it is their offense which has been winning games for them. (Although Huet had a shutout as night…) Tenth in goals against puts them in the middle of the pack defensively.

The power play has been terrific, and lets be honest it has. The reason in my opinion is because the goals are coming from multiple people. (10 different players have scored on the power play already) Other teams are having a hard time stopping them because the Habs have multiple threats on the Power Play. Who do you concentrate on when there are a bunch of guys who can score on the power play??

It looks like the Habs should be able to ride the power play into the playoffs but only if everything keeps working the way it has. If one or more players enter prolonged slumps or the injury bug bites a key player the Habs will have a hard time scoring goals. Without the Power play the Offense is not very strong.

Defense is always better then it should be on a team with a good power play because the opposition is extra careful not to do anything that might cause them to be penalized. If the Canadiens power play starts to fizzle will the opposition be able to play more aggressive defensively and thus make it even harder for the Habs to score even strength goals???

No matter how well Huet and Price play if they get no offensive support the Habs will not win.

So the question is, can the Habs keep the Power play rolling and thus make the playoffs???

23 Responses to Surprising star – balanced power play

  1. habsoverserver says:

    you are asking the right question.  over 50% of montreal's offense is generated on the powerplay, compared to 31% league wide.  i think this is too out of whack to be sustainable.  i think the even strength offense will improve and the powerplay will cool off.

    what you may be overlooking is the great improvement in defensive 5 on 5 play.  koivu is a +5 and only has 5 even strength points and 2 shorthanded points.  much better than last season's -21.  this may be what we see from montreal going forward – powerplay scoring and defense.   

    i think montreal can easily make the playoffs because there are not enough dominant teams in the East.  i would not be suprised if montreal finished fourth or fifth this season and i see no reason they could not win a first round series.  but for the reason you identified, montreal really isn't yet a contender.  

    i hope montreal adds a first line wing who can finish off a play at even strength.

  2. habsrock99 says:

    The Power Play isn't the only thing winning games. Look at last night against Buffalo, they had 2 PP oppurtunities and went 0-2. The got a nice fast break goal from Plekanec who has been relatively quiet despite putting up 11 or 12 points. Like the old saying goes, defence wins championships and if Montreal continues to play as well as they have defensively, their is no real reason as to why they shouldn't make the play-offs. But the Power Play will cool off but if they can continue to score those crucial 5 on 5 goals, they should be fine.

    It's funny, EVERYONE thought Montreal's PP would rank in the Bottom 5 and I remember telling people that Mark Streit has a pretty damn good point shot and they just called me stupid. Well, Streit's really helping out the Power Play because of his potential point shot which makes defenders cheat up to cover him, leaving players like Kovalev open for a wrister from the face-off circle.

  3. my_sphincter says:

    Hamrlik is a big upgrade defensively over Souray.  I am sure that this helps in the team's overall +- this year. 

    As for the Habs not being a contender…  If Huet can stay healthy, he could steal alot of games.  Any team with a goalie who can steal games can easily be a contender. 

  4. habswinthecup-again says:

    For me the key for the PP is Markov. I was sure Montreal’s PP would be fine too, mainly because of him and so far it is.
    I also found it amazing that everyone had Montreal to finish about 12th in the East mainly because they didn’t add much to their lineup but what they obviously didn’t factor in was that all their young players would be improving. I mean Komi is playing like he wants to be voted into the allstar game and Higgins and Pleks are not only contributing almost every game they are becoming leaders of the team.

  5. morrissey says:

    The most interesting point to note on the Habs power play is not that it has been so terrific (because it was number one last year too), it's that it has been so terrific without Sheldon Sourray's contribution. There are several factors that have compensated for his absence:

    Alex Kovalev – a completely transformed player, he's finally playing up to his amazing potential. On the powerplay, when he's holding the puck, he looks outstandingly dangerous. He can beat any goalie one on one with a straight wrist shot or QB the powerplay from his position at the side of ice.

    Physical presence – Chris Higgins and to a lesser extent Guillaume Latendresse are continuously parked in front of the net, creating screens, drawing in the defense and getting chances off rebounds.

    Improved Passing – Mark Streit, Patrice Brisebois, Andrei Markov & Roman Hamrlik may not have Sourray's shot, but they are definitely better passers and puck movement has been key for the powerplay's success this season. These guys also know when to leave the point to move up for better scoring chances. Saku Koivu continues to be an elite playmaker and Thomas Plecanec is emerging this year too as a true offensive playmaking threat.

  6. habsalicious says:

    The key to the power play was always and still is Markov. That's it.

  7. habsoverserver says:

    not a contender but definately a darkhorse. 

  8. Archion113 says:

    If the habs get calls like the one on Briere all year, i can't see why they wouldn't go far in the playoffs. Nothing easier for a ref than to give the best power play in the league a chance…. The crowd plays a huge part in the ref's retardedness though… they hear the crowd boo'ing and call the reaction not the play.

    Typical of ref's these days… calling the reaction not the action…

    "The crowd was boo'ing so i figured the guy had to do something wrong… 20,000 people can't be wrong can they?"

    "No it was a great call, keep it up.  We need more brillant Ref's like you in this league, the new fans love the calls and they understand completely why the non calls are not being called…"  said Bettman when i interviewed him earlier.  I asked him if he was at all related to George Bush because of their striking similiarities, and he said, "Who the hell is George Bush?  Does he play in the NHL?".  Yes Gary.  Its time for you to go.

  9. Habfanforever says:

    What does officiating have anything to do with this? Yes it was a phantom call on Briere but the Habs also got phantom calls but Philly just didn't capitalize. The officilas are human beings and mistakes WILL be made regardless of who is playing who and bad calls will always happen, nonetheless that doesn't change the fact that Montreal has a very strong powerplay with a lot of options for opponents to contend with. Give credit where credit is due.

  10. habs_punk says:

    Montreal's played 14 games, they've won 8 of those, giving them the fifth most points in the league. And it's all because of one blown call in a game against Philly? I'm not sure I understand your logic that a team that is currently top 5 in the league suddenly becomes a basement dweller if one call went another way. Quit crying over spilled milk, it's not like Montreal gets these chances game in and game out. 2 power plays against Buffalo yesterday, 3 against the Leafs, 0 in the third period of either of those games. How exactly is it that the refs are helping Montreal out again?

  11. habswinthecup-again says:

     Philly got a call earlier in that game that was almost as bad (even the announcers brought it up) against Kovalev but they didn't score and Montreal did, suck it up buttercup.

  12. jpmac says:

    cry me a river..what abou the other goals, what excuses do you make for them?

  13. Archion113 says:

    Kovalev at least made contact with his stick to the mid section of a Flyer player.  It was DEF not hooking, but he did it to himself.

    My point was, if they're getting calls like that all year they're gonna be a dangerous team.

    I wouldn't mind some more bad calls going Phillies way… just never seems to happen… most we get is a bad hooking call.. but then they give us a half dozen hooking calls and an unsportsmanlike conduct for nothing…

    Not to kill your source… but the announcers were TSN announcers… obviously with some Bias… but it was a bad call.  But a consistent bad call they've been making all year, no matter how annoying and NOT hooking it may be. 

    The call on Briere was probably one of the worst calls i've seen in the last 2 years.  That was a clear case of idiocy by the ref.  No contact was even made.. and his stick wasn't even on the ice…

    If calls LIKE THAT keep going Montreal's way, its going to be a good year.  Don't also forget that it was a tie game 1-1 and the Flyers were starting to put some pressure on.  That penalty took the wind right out of the Flyers and the PowerPlay goal sealed the deal.

    Flyers had their chances and didn't capitalize… the refs didn't give the Canadians the game… but they helped them in more ways than one. 

    Montreals PP is sick, and has been for years.  Without it they're a 12-13th seed in the East. 

  14. Archion113 says:

    Moron.  My post was to say this, "If the Canadians get calls like that all year, its going to be a great year for them".

    Never once did i make an excuse for any of the goals.. Learn to read you frigging moron.

    God damn you Canadians Fans are really defensive about this whole bad call thing…  must happen a lot more than i was aware of.  It was the worst call i've seen in the past 2 years.  Period end of story.  The ref should be fired for making the call, thats how bad it was. 

    But i never once said anything about any of the goals in the original post.  Learn to read tea bag.

  15. Archion113 says:

    Oh i def give Montreal credit for having an awfully sick powerplay.  Their pp units scare the crap out of me.

    My only point was, if they continue to get Powerplays because of joke penalty calls like that, they're gonna have a great year.

  16. Archion113 says:

    Defensive much?

    All you guys are really defensive.  Makes me wonder why. 

    Did i say the refs were helping them out in the original post?  I said with calls like that, it will be a great year for Montreal.

    Learn to read you frigging morons.

  17. habskovalev27 says:

    and what about all the bad calls they get from de refs.  and what about all the no-calls they don't get from the refs (ex. hooking in the offensive zone by a backchecking leaf player 10 seconds before the 3rd leafs goals…)
    give me a break

  18. habsrock99 says:

    Ok, the only thing I'll say is that it was a terrible call and I agree the ref should be fired but I have to bring this up, that's the first bad call that went in Montreal's favour which I have seen in a very, very long time. I can easily bring up 2 bad calls in that game that went against Montreal. I can also bring up another bad call or two going in favour of Montreal in that game. Point being, those 2 refs were BRUTAL and they really should get some seeing-eye dogs for the next time they ref a game.

    If you want bad calls, a few years back, Montreal was in the play-off hunt and needed a win against New Jersey and Kerry Fraser was the referee. Well, Joe Nieuwendyk crashed into Jose Theodore, knocking him practically into the corner and also knocked Theo's mask off. Automatic whistle? You'd think so but Fraser kept the play going and Nieuwndyk circled to the front of the net, received the pass and scored into an empty net. It was the Game Winner and Montreal ended up missing the play-offs by I believe 1 or 2 points.

    Another bad call came in a Habs-Leafs game, Montreal cleared the puck from their own zone and Tie Domi caught it and carried it, while not putting the puck down onto the ice, over the blueline with Mats Sundin still in Montreal's zone. Automatic off-side? You'd think so but no whistle, Domi ended up shooting it and scored the game winner.

    But like I said, that Briere penalty was a terrible call but the thing is that was one of the very few bad calls that ended up going into Montreal's favour. To be honest, I thought Higgins was getting a diving penalty.

    BTW, all 82 Habs games are boadcasted on RDS and yes, Yvon Pedneault did mention the Kovalev "hooking" call.

  19. habsrock99 says:

    Komisarek is one of the most under-rated, under-appreciated defenceman in the NHL. He's one of the best, if not THE best 1 on 1 or 2 on 1 defenceman. If I see someone other then Komisarek on a 2 on 1, I begin to think "Goal" But when he's there, I think "He's gonna break this up".

  20. jpmac says:

    So "moron" how did this one bad call change that game.  They get one call thay went their way..give me some other examples where the Canadiens got calls going their way.

    The fact of the matter is "moron" That every team gets calls for and against them, live with it. 

    Moron – If any team gets calls that all year they will have a great year..heck maybe even your flyers, but the I hope you realize that calls like that rarely happen.  just quit crying "moron" because your team got dominated.

  21. prayin-for-the-wce says:

    I think Kovalev has really been instrumental in the start the habs have had.  He has exponentially picked up his game, and is playing with a purpose, which last year, he clearly did not have.  I'm pretty happy i picked him up as my reserve pick, which i traded a injured bertuzzi to have him in my pool =)

  22. habskovalev27 says:

    wow…so much frustration…ohh…probably your team got beaten 5-1 last night…sorry idiot…and with that kind of language, you must also be a Tucker fan…got dominated by who ? the leafs ? hahahaha…they don't dominated nobobdy…

  23. jpmac says:

    You kinda misunderstood me man, I am a habs fan (who dominated the flyers in the game with the briere phantom call) I don't know what you are smoking but maybe you should read all the posts before you start making idiotic statements like that.

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