It took 3 games for it to happen, but the Canadiens finally managed to bust out of their slump against the Islanders and grab a win.
A lot of people are going to think I'm picking on Brandon Prust, but what I'm really doing is picking on the idiocy of people pretending that he's the Montreal Canadiens' MVP. Since our "MVP" went down with a shoulder injury, the Habs are 5-0-1. That's a 91.7% winning percentage. With Prust in the lineup? 15-5-4, a 70.8% winning percentage.
But seriously, this team is phenomenally impressive, and you know what's scary? Carey Price is showing signs of busting out of his midseason slump.
It wasn't really his slump, so much as the penalty kill sucking, but his outstanding play on the PK yesterday night resulted in his PK save percentage moving from around .800 to .821. It's still below league average, but if that area of Price's game can regress to where it should be, we have our .920 goaltender back.
It's an uphill battle though, as the PK is still pretty terrible. But P.K. is not terrible, he's amazing. P.K. Subban did it again last night, scoring twice while dominating possession. The only player who was even close to Subban's possession dominance last night was Josh Gorges, because he plays with Subban.
Andrei Markov and Alexei Emelin struggled on possession once again after an insanely dominant game against Buffalo. Olivier's charts aren't out yet and I'm not very good at going through the shift charts, but I'm guessing they were the ones most often matched against John Tavares and Matt Moulson.
That duo once again caused havoc in the Canadiens zone, but as skilled as they are, I can't help but think Tavares wouldn't have scored if a 37 year old veteran defenseman who just signed a contract extension didn't do this...
But it's all water under the bridge when you win, right? That's something I'm not too sure about. We've discussed before that the Habs are in for some regression to the mean at even strength, but that doesn't worry me much. In a 48 game season, there may not be enough time for that to ever happen, and if you look at Montreal's gaudy PDO, the teams around them at the top are likely to regress even harder.
Montreal is getting great even strength goaltending, but it's nothing Price hasn't done before. And while their shooting percentage is high, Pittsburgh's is significantly higher, and I don't hear anyone talking about them regressing to the mean.
Is there a chance that Boston could pass the Habs? Of course there is, but quietly, while suffering injuries that Boston has been lucky enough to avoid, the Canadiens have overtaken them in Fenwick Tied. 30 games into the season, it's about time that people begin to recognize that this team is legitimate.
Last night was the Canadiens' 20th of the season, just the 4th team in the NHL to hit that mark (Boston hit it about an hour later).
The Canadiens' PDO is 1023 in a 48 game season. Food for thought: The year Boston won the cup, they finished an 82 game season with a 1024 PDO. The trend is to 1000, but in such a short season, that may never happen.