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Montreal Canadiens scoring chances at the 10 game mark

Here at EOTP we have Olivier Bouchard counting scoring chances, and using those chances we can break down each player and see who's performing and who isn't.

Bournival leads all Habs in scoring chance differential at even strength
Bournival leads all Habs in scoring chance differential at even strength
Richard Wolowicz

Just for a bit of background, a scoring chance is defined as a shot or missed shot within the baseball diamond shape in the following graphic:


Shots that are blocked do not count as scoring chances, as they likely mean that there was no lane to the net, and hence no chance. Using a strict criteria may seem weird since shots vary in speed, puck movement, and type, but it is necessary to do this in order to avoid observer bias. When we bring perception into it, we may end up seeing our favourite teams always outchancing the opposition, which seems a little unlikely.

So with that, let's get to the chances, shall we?

Even Strength


What I've done here is plotted each player's scoring chances at even strength for every game so far the season, then created for and against per 60 minute statistics, along with a differential per 60 minutes.

Some things are fairly obvious from observing the games, like Lars Eller and Brendan Gallagher lighting it up, the Tomas Plekanec line treading water around even, and David Desharnais struggling. Others though are surprising, like Danny Briere putting up very good numbers, Michael Bournival has the best numbers on the team, P.K. Subban's differential is fourth among defensemen, and Francis Bouillon is getting absolutely blown up.

I knew Bouillon was struggling of late, but I didn't realize how much. I think looking at this, it's fair to say that the struggles attributed to Jarred Tinordi might be better pointed at someone else.

Also of interest is special teams play, although 10 games isn't near enough of a sample to go into individual players, we can take a look at the overall team play and draw some conclusions.

Special Teams


Note: ignore the part where it says 5-vs-5, that's a mistake that I didn't realize was there until after the screenshot. The special teams data is all 5-vs-4 and 4-vs-5.

The powerplay hasn't been generating the same number of shots that it did last year, but the scoring chance numbers are actually pretty solid. Cutting down on the chances against would be huge though, as they're currently taking too many risks.

The jarring thing here is the penalty kill. You can see right away that the PK differential is worse than the PP differential is good, and that's a bad thing in and of itself, but the raw scoring chances being given up right now while down a man is absolutely insane. Giving up 50.5 scoring chances per 60 minutes played is completely unacceptable in every possible way.

Last year, the PK was a disaster all season, but when I looked at the scoring chances they were giving up 35.5 per 60 minutes. That's bad, still worse than the Canadiens' current powerplay is good, but it's 15 chances per 60 minutes better than what's going on this season.

The only saving grace thus far this season has been the offense generated while down a man, as that has increased from an almost non-existent 1.2 scoring chances per 60 minutes to 8.9, but the differential is still a garbage fire. And this is after two games straight without allowing a chance while shorthanded, meaning that going into the game against Edmonton, the Habs' PK was allowing approximately 63 chances per 60 minutes.

To put this all on context, let's take a look at Montreal's penalty kill from 2011-12, when it ranked second in the NHL. They didn't generate a huge amount of chances, just 1.4 per 60 minutes, even though they ranked 3rd in the league in shorthanded goals for. Scoring chances against is where the real difference was, as they allowed just 26.9 chances against per 60 minutes while down one man. That's half of what the current system is allowing.

So I ask you, what is J.J. Daigneault doing that says he's earned this job? Honestly, I would like to know. Should we be sending this to Geoff Molson?

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