On Tuesday afternoon Michel Therrien was fired as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens for a second time in his coaching career.
It was his fifth season behind the bench of the team, coaching 352 regular season games which made him the longest tenured Montreal head coach since Scotty Bowman, who coached a remarkable 634 games from 1971 to 1979.
Incidentally, combining Therrien’s two stints as head coach between 2000-2003 and 2012-2017 comes to 542 games, ranking him fourth overall all-time behind Toe Blake (914 games coached), Dick Irwin (869), and Bowman.
With a points percentage record of .604, Therrien was the most successful Montreal regular season head coach since Pat Burns who had a .609 record with the Canadiens from 1988 to 1992.
But unfortunately this longevity did not translate into a Stanley Cup victory. Therrien’s record in the playoffs was a subdued .500 record in 22 games, however that is the best playoff record since Jacques Demers who had a 0.704 playoff record in 27 games, and the latest Stanley Cup in the organization.
Breaking it down by team
Therrien had a very successful track record against Eastern Conference teams (.652 points percentage), especially against their top rival Toronto Maple Leafs (.762) and Boston Bruins (.738). The Carolina Hurricanes (.821) especially felt the full force of a Therrien coached team.
The record was a bit more unflattering against the Western Conference (.495), being totally dominated by the Chicago Blackhawks (.214) and San Jose Sharks (.125). The best record against a Western team is against the Vancouver Canucks (.786). Where the Canadiens may have faltered is questionable record against bottom-ranking teams like the Arizona Coyotes (.500), Edmonton Oilers (.429), and the Columbus Blue Jackets (.545).
Breaking it down by game
In 352 regular season games, Therrien won 194 games and lost 121. Breaking down the games by goal differential, Michel Therrien has a positive skewed distribution record, having won more games by multiple goals than he lost, with his most frequent result being a 3-goal victory. It is notable that almost half the games he coached (46%) were decided by one goal or shootout, showing how a strong defensive system is the basis of every game. It’s interesting to note that the furthest outlier results, a 9-goal win and a 10-game loss, both happened this season.
Overall Michel Therrien saw a healthy win/loss ratio. Last year’s collapse quite evidently stands out, and the team appeared to have recovered this season starting off strong, but seemingly having plateaued since then. There were some warning signs of an impending replay of last season’s collapse of late, which obviously led to the decision that was made. Therrien leaves having a +36 win/loss differential across five seasons.
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