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Conclusions on how the Habs scored in 2013

After breaking down 129 goals (123 by the Habs), it's time to look at the entire team and how everything looks as compared to last season.


Last year when I did this , I only had six Montreal Canadiens to work with, whereas this season 11 players hit the cutoff for enough goals to be reviewed. In order to create a comparable breakdown though, I'm going to only count the top six scorers this year at first, because there is too high of a percentage of the total goals the team scored in those top 10 scorers.

Goals by situation

Goals scored by situation by the top six scorers
Goals Goals on zone plays Goals off the rush Goals on individual efforts
84 57 27 25

The players in this group are Gallagher, Pacioretty, Gionta, Plekanec, Subban, and Ryder just to be clear. Subban's inclusion as a defenseman will make the numbers much different than the season before, especially by shot type. Let's get into some observations.

  • Last season 34.1% of the goals scored among the top six goal scorers were individual efforts. This season it went down slightly to 29.8%. The most probable cause of this is likely the increased depth of the team putting less individual stress on the most skilled players. Adjusting for an 82-game season, the team would have scored about eight fewer goals on individual efforts from among the top six scorers.
  • The abysmal 2011-12 season included 52.6% of goals being scored off the rush, which seemed quite high. This season was completely different, with only 32.1% of goals being scored in that manner, meaning 67.9% of goals were scored on zone plays. A stronger powerplay and much more dominant even strength possession shifted the balance.
  • Ironically, the top six goal scorers (including Ryder's goals in Dallas) only paced to score five more goals in an 82-game season than last year. The loss of Erik Cole's career season and Pacioretty's low shooting percentage are big contributors to that, but let's see how the rest of the team worked.
Goals scored by situation by the rest of the team
Goals Goals on zone plays Goals off the rush Goals on individual efforts
65 41 24 23

  • Before we get into the splits, I think it's worthwhile to mention that outside of the top six guys in 2011-12, only 72 goals were scored in an 82 game season. 65 in 53 games means a potential improvement to 101 goals from the rest of the lineup, and improvement of 29 goals, which is a 40.3% improvement in goal scoring. That's gigantic.
  • Even with the less talented portion of the lineup, the split between zone plays and goals off the rush is similar, with 63.1% of goals coming on controlled zone plays and 36.9% coming off the rush. This tells me that the Canadiens had a very deep lineup that was able to execute Therrien's game plan throughout.
  • Interestingly, as you go down the lineup, goals were scored more often on individual efforts, as a whopping 35.4% of these goals were scored individually. Part of this is going to be variance, but I think a sound logical leap could be that when players at the bottom of the lineup score, it's rarely a beautiful play, and more often a flash of skill. Think of Colby Armstrong's two goals for example.

Goals by situation for all top scorers
Player Goals Goals on zone plays Goals off the rush Goals individual efforts
Brendan Gallagher 17 10 7 7
Max Pacioretty 15 11 5 6
Tomas Plekanec 14 8 6 7
Brian Gionta 14 9 5 2
P.K. Subban 13 10 3 2
Michael Ryder 11 9 2 1
David Desharnais 10 6 4 4
Andrei Markov 10 10 0 2
Alex Galchenyuk 10 6 4 3
Rene Bourque 9 3 6 3
Lars Eller 8 4 4 2

  • I've bolded the leader in each category here. We've already discussed these players, but I felt it would be worthwhile to see them all together, and make a couple of observations.
  • This is Plekanec's third straight year being one of the top scorers individually. He scored seven this year, nine in 2011-12, and 10 in 2010-11. Over an 82-game season he was on pace for 11, which would have been his highest yet.
  • Gallagher was the best goal scorer off the rush on the team in totals, but Bourque was on pace to score 10 goals that way over the full shortened season.
  • Pacioretty is the king of the zone play with Erik Cole gone, and was on pace to equal Cole's dominance there with 19 over a full season.

Goals by shot type

Goals by shot type for the top six scorers
Goals Wrist Slap Snap One-timer Tip Backhand
84 26 15 23 16 17 4

Once again this group is Gallagher, Pacioretty, Plekanec, Gionta, Subban, and Ryder.

  • The wrist and snap shots take up the majority of the goals here, with those two shots accounting for 58.3% of all goals scored. Last season it was even higher, at 61.5%, however including a defenseman like Subban skews the numbers a bit.
  • Subban's inclusion brings the percentage of goals on slap shots up from 6.7% last season to 17.9% this season.
  • The amount of tip-in goals were nearly identical among these players, which is impressive considering a defenseman among the top six should mean fewer tips. Last season 20.7% of the goals were scored on tips, whereas this season 20.2% were. There's no doubt that Therrien's system rewards both skill and hard-nosed play.
  • Goals on backhands are way down from last year, when they accounted for 11.1% of the goals, as two of the leaders from last year in Cole and Plekanec accounted for zero in this group. Just 4.8% of the goals in this group were on backhands.
Goals by shot type for the rest of the team
Goals Wrist Slap Snap One-timer Tip Backhand
64 26 11 15 10 9 9

  • The increase in depth is readily apparent here, as we've got similar splits. 64.1% of the goals being scored on wrist or snap shots show that there are still some snipers here outside of the top 6 goal scorers.
  • The most interesting thing about this grouping though, is that there are more backhand goals scored here than among the top guys. 14.1% of all goals being backhands says that this is a pretty damned skilled bottom part of the lineup. In 2010-11, the last time the Canadiens had good depth, just 6.3% of the goals outside the top six were on backhands.

Goals by shot type for all top scorers
Player Goals Wrist Slap Snap One-timer Tip Backhand
Gallagher 17 5 1 4 2 5 2
Pacioretty 15 5 0 6 5 2 2
Plekanec 14 5 2 6 1 1 0
Gionta 14 6 1 2 0 5 0
Subban 13 1 10 2 7 0 0
Ryder 11 4 0 3 1 4 0
Desharnais 10 4 2 3 0 1 0
Markov 10 3 5 1 4 0 1
Galchenyuk 10 6 0 2 0 1 1
Bourque 9 2 1 0 1 4 2
Eller 8 1 0 4 0 2 1

  • Once again I've bolded the leaders of each category. The biggest standout from this group is exactly who you would expect, as Subban doubled everyone up in slap shot goals, and nearly did the same for one-timers. It's his bread and butter and I really don't think anyone else in the league can match him.
  • Surprisingly it's Gionta who takes the lead in wrist shots, taking over from Pacioretty last season.
  • Pacioretty still leads the way in snap shots, but Plekanec has caught up to him. Pacioretty had sizeable leads in both wrist shots and snap shots last year, but 2013 was a much more even field.
  • What's perhaps most interesting looking at everyone together, is that two of the smallest players on the team are the leaders for tip-ins. Gallagher and Gionta have a nose for the net that is hard to find, and it benefits them greatly. Once again, though, Bourque would have lead in this category if he'd played the full season, as he was on pace for around seven tip-in goals.