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Canadiens' Penalty Kill An Exposed And Bleeding Wound

With 7 goals allowed in 16 shorthanded situations, the Canadiens penalty killing in four games thus far has been nothing short of battlefield brutal.

Two of three Maple Leafs goals in Game 1, Buffalo's only goal in Game 2, one of four Flames tallies on Tuesday, and three Vancouver snipes on Wednesday have accounted for 7 of the oppositions 15 goals in this early season.

The Canadiens PK ratio sits at 56%, 29th in the league as of Friday.

Such a calamity begs an analysis.


Here's a detailed breakdown of who has been on the ice in shorthanded situations when the Canadiens have been scored against.

Through 4 games, the Canadiens have mainly employed 12 penalty killers who have averaged over 2 minutes of penalty killing time per game. Another four - including the injured Andrei Markov and Ryan O' Byrne, and Mike Cammalleri and Guillaume Latendresse - barely factor into the statistical breakdown.

Here are each players' total PK time on ice minute totals through four games, with individual game minutes in brackets:

9:27 Tomas Plekanec (1:36, 4:55, 0:00, 2:56)

9:13 Hal Gill (1:46, 4:43, 0:21, 2:23)

7:58 Paul Mara (1:02, 5:00, 0:00, 156)

7:29 Jaroslav Spacek (1:29, 3:38 0:00, 2:22)

7:24 Josh Gorges (1:03, 4:13, 0:21, 1:47)

6:42 Travis Moen (0:55, 4:01, 0:21, 1:25)

6:06 Brian Gionta (1:03, 4:10, 0:00, 0:53)

4:53 Maxim Lapierre (1:22, 1:57, 0:21 1:13)

4:49 Scott Gomez (0:25, 3:04, 0:00, 1:20)

3:30 Roman Hamrlik (0:00, 1:54 0:00, 1:36)

2:41 Glen Metropolit (1:39, 1:02, 0:00, 0:00)

2:18 Kyle Chipchura (0:00, 0:00, 0:00, 2:10)

1:35 Andrei Markov (1:35, 0:00, 0:00, 0:00)

0:25 Ryan O'Byrne (0:00, 0:25, 0:00, 0:00)

0:12 Mike Cammalleri (0:00, 0:12, 0:00, 0:00)

0:07 Guillaume Latendresse (0:07, 0:00, 0:00, 0:00)

The 7 PK goals allowed in 16 opportunities by the Canadiens breaks down as follows:

Against Toronto: 2 goals in 3 chances

Against Buffalo: 1 goals in 7 chances

Against Calgary: 1 goal in 1 chance

Against Vancouver: 3 goals in 5 chances

Which Canadiens players have been on the ice for the most shorthanded goals against so far:

Spacek 5

Plekanec 4

Lapierre 3

Hamrlik 3

Moen 3

Markov 2

Mara 2

Gionta 1

Gomez 1

Gorges 1

Gill 1

Chipchura 1

These goals against totals are only a partial, surface accounting. In a goals per PK minute ratio, here are the Canadiens best to worst PK performers so far:

1 goal against in 9:13 PK minutes: Gill

1 goal against in 7:24 PK minutes: Gorges

1 goal against in 6:06 PK minutes: Gionta

1 goal against in 4:49 PK minutes: Gomez

2 goals against in 7:58 PK minutes: Mara (average 1 goal per 3:59 per minutes) 

0 goal against in 2:41 PK minutes: Metropolit

4 goals against in 9:27 PK minutes: Plekanec (average 1 goal per 2:22 per minutes)

1 goal against in 2:18 PK minutes: Chipchura

3 goals against in 6:42 PK minutes: Moen (average 1 goal per 2:14 per minutes)

5 goals against in 7:29 PK minutes: Spacek (average 1 goal per 1:30 per minutes)

3 goals against in 4:53 PK minutes: Lapierre (average 1 goal per 1:28 per minutes)

3 goals against in 3:30 PK minutes: Hamrlik (average 1 goal per 1:10 per minutes)

2 goals against in 1:35 PK minutes: Markov (average 1 goal per 0:48 per minutes)

Markov is separated from the listing mainly to show that his one game total in minutes played against Toronto on October 1 would do little to shore up the remaining 12 player's ratios.

The numbers and ratios above tend to indicate that Spacek, Plekanec, Lapierre, Moen and Hamrlik are 5 of the 6 weakest penalty killers on the teams, while Metropolit, Gill, Gorges, Gionta, Mara and Gomez have fared much better.

The statistical breakdown above is hardly an illusion considering the fact that all 7 of the Canadiens PK goals against have been scored against them within the first 21 seconds of each shorthanded kill.

Even after four games, that's quite a trend!

From this perspective, it looks as though Jacques Martin has been deploying the wrong penalty killers on the first unit.

Of course, such notes are part of a new coach's learning process. Still, it is intersting to note that Martin's best PK elements were available to him in Vancouver. Following penalties to Hamrlik, Plekanec and the bench, players such as Gill, Gorges, Gionta and Gomez were each available to Martin on the penalty kills that lead to the 4th and 6th Canuck goals. Note, the last line change on the road does not affect PK.

Martin is obviously still learning the composition of his team.

Here's a detailed accounting of the 7 goals to date that the Canadiens have allowed while shorthanded: 

October 1:

TOR: Stajan (5 on 3)

20 seconds into a Mara holding call, which put the Canadiens down two men 1:27 after D' Agostini went off for hooking

On the ice for Montreal are Spacek, Plekanec and Markov

TOR: Stajan

13 seconds after a Moen goalie interference call

On the ice for Montreal are Spacek, Plekanec, Lapierre and Markov

October 3:

BUF: Connoly

6 seconds into a Metropolit hooking call

On the ice for Montreal are Spacek, Gionta, Hamrlik and Gomez

October 6:

CAL: Iginla

21 seconds into a Pacioretty hooking call

On the ice for Montreal are Gorges, Moen, Lapierre and Gill

October 7:

VAN: Bernier

10 seconds into a Hamrlik slashing call

On the ice for Montreal are Spacek, Plekanec, Moen and Hamrlik

VAN: H. Sedin

12 seconds into a Plekanec tripping call

On the ice for Montreal are Spacek, Mara, Moen and Lapierre

VAN: Samuelson 14-22-28-44

17 seconds into a TMM team penalty

On the ice for Montreal are Plekanec, Mara, Chipchura and Hamrlik

Beyond the grim details four games into the season, there is an abundance of hope should coach Martin acquaint himself with the club's more reliable PK elements.

It is early, still.

Conclusions are many. Make your own.