After Saturday night's loss, it became official that the Montreal Canadiens are eliminated from post-season contention. Looking at the number of goals scored by the Habs, they sit 17th in the league, so it makes sense that they didn't make the group of 16 that will vie for the Stanley Cup.
They are, however, 12th overall in five-on-five goals for, and ninth in the East. The Western Conference clubs have, on average, seen better power-play contribution. Why? I don't know.
That 17th-ranked total of 196 is five more than the Anaheim Ducks — a team with a secured spot in the playoffs — have managed this season. That team didn't have a terrible coach, just a terrible start to the season. The St. Louis Blues have just two more goals than the Habs, but sport a goal differential of +17, compared to Montreal's -22.
With a diminished roster, the Canadiens won the first game of the week against the aforementioned Ducks, but came up short against the Detroit Red Wings, and came out flat against the New York Rangers. The good news is that the team is climbing in the reverse rankings, now eighth-last after an extended period in ninth.
After a measly 1.3 goals per game in the last report, the team posted an average of three goals per game this past week. What is a concern is that the season shots-per-game average dropped one-and-a-half points after an average of just 26 over the three games played. The team is now more than a hundred shots off the pace I had calculated for the team at the beginning of the season.
Let's take a look at the numbers from what was was a decent performance in the goal-scoring department, but a poor one from a shot-generation perspective:
|Average last week||26.0||3.0|
Here are the numbers for the entire roster. You can click a column's heading to sort it. Shootout goals are not included in the totals. (Traded players have been removed as well as those who are confirmed to be out for the season: Daniel Carr, Brian Flynn, Tom Gilbert, and Jeff Petry.)
|Player||Pos||GP||Exp. S||Actual S||Pace S||Exp. G||Actual G||Pace G||Exp. P||Actual P||Pace P||Sh%|
|de la Rose, Jacob||F||20||66||19||78||4||0||0||10||1||4||0.0|
Pace stats are projected over a full year of hockey (82 games).
Alex Galchenyuk scored yet again this week to take his season total to 27. The race to 30 will be one of sthe most interesting things to watch over the final six games of the season.
Tomas Plekanec finally broke a goal drought of his own, though he won't reach his expected 20-goal mark.
An unexpected burst of offence from Mike Brown found him not only scoring his first with the team, but setting up Lucas Lessio's first in the same game, as well.
Stefan Matteau ... oh, Matteau. It's good for him to play with Phillip Danault and see his strong work ethic first-hand. If that can translate over to his new linemate, it would be greatly appreciated. That work got Danault his second goal, scoring on a great pass by David Desharnais in his second game back after injury.
The real offensive stars of the week are two rookie defencemen. He does struggle to get the puck out of his end, but who would have tought that Joel Hanley would have four assists so far? Darren Dietz also collected two assists.
I can't say that the team is progressing in terms of points, but I can say that some young players are giving their all to never go back under Lefebvre in St. John's, and the defencemen who have been trapped in their own end for the majorty of the year in the AHL are improving the most.