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Offensive Expectations: Max Pacioretty ran a one-man show in the third quarter

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The Michel Therrien era came to a close with the Canadiens’ offensive indicators plummeting.

Edmonton Oilers v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The original plan for this project that monitors the Montreal Canadiens’ offensive numbers was to break down the results by quarters to see how the team was faring. The next report should have come after game 61, but since the Habs changed their head coach and are transitioning to a new style of play, I felt it best to cut this report short, limiting it to only games with Michel Therrien behind the bench.

As a result, the season data stops at the 58th game of the season, played against the Boston Bruins just before the bye week.

Team totals

Season GP Shots/GP Shots pace Goals-for Pace Sh%
Season GP Shots/GP Shots pace Goals-for Pace Sh%
2015-16
Actual 82 30.46 2498 216 8.65%
2016-17
Expected 82 30.49 2500 225 9.00%
Quarter 20 29.20 2394 258 10.79%
Half 41 30.95 2538 248 9.77%
Three quarter 58 29.53 2422 232 9.57%
Full 82 30.00 2460 223 9.07%

As you can see from their segment breakdown, the performance during the 17 games since the halfway point had the numbers dropping quite substantially. The actual values were still decent if compared to other teams in the league, but decent isn’t good enough for a team hoping to contend.

Forwards

Forward totals

Player GP G Pace G Exp. G P Pace P Exp. P iSF iSh%
Player GP G Pace G Exp. G P Pace P Exp. P iSF iSh%
Max Pacioretty (C) 81 35 35 30 67 68 55 268 13.06
Alexander Radulov 76 18 19 18 54 58 55 148 12.16
Phillip Danault 82 13 13 5 41 41 12 133 9.77
Paul Byron 81 22 22 7 43 44 12 96 22.92
Alex Galchenyuk 61 17 23 25 43 58 60 104 16.35
Andrew Shaw 68 12 14 14 29 35 35 127 9.45
Tomas Plekanec (A) 78 10 11 17 28 29 52 139 7.19
Brendan Gallagher (A) 64 10 13 28 28 36 56 187 5.35
Artturi Lehkonen 73 18 20 14 28 31 28 158 11.39
Torrey Mitchell 78 8 8 8 17 18 14 68 11.76
Brian Flynn 51 6 10 6 11 18 10 47 12.77
Daniel Carr 33 2 5 15 9 22 25 44 4.55
Michael McCarron 31 1 3 8 5 13 14 31 3.23

First, let's talk about the team’s top scorer, Max Pacioretty . He will bust the predicted 30-goal mark I projected before the season started. Things are great for him lately and for a man with his calibre of shot he could sustain that high shooting percentage.

Alex Galchenyuk needs to shoot more. His conversion rate is a bit too high to be sustainable, and he will need to cover off the eventual regression with more attempts on net to maintain his production.

After a torrid start, Torrey Mitchell hasn't scored since mid-season. He’s not expected to score 30, but a little contribution would help the team in their playoff push. Paul Byron has also slowed down, potting only two goals in the last 17 games after scoring 12 goals in the first half.

Out of the 11 players under 25 years of age who have dressed so far this season, only Artturi Lehkonen, Phillip Danault, and Galchenyuk have had a real impact in terms of offence.

Defencemen

Defencemen totals

Player GP G Pace G Exp. G P Pace P Exp. P iSF iSh%
Player GP G Pace G Exp. G P Pace P Exp. P iSF iSh%
Shea Weber (A) 78 13 14 10 42 44 40 183 7.10
Jeff Petry 80 8 8 7 28 29 36 172 4.65
Andrei Markov (A) 62 6 8 7 36 48 40 98 6.12
Nathan Beaulieu 74 4 4 5 28 31 30 118 3.39
Nikita Nesterov 41 4 8 6 13 26 18 54 7.41
Alexei Emelin 56 2 3 3 7 10 10 82 2.44

At the beginning of the season the defence corps was contributing a lot of the Habs’ offence. Shea Weber and Jeff Petry have busted the full-season goal projections already, and every member of the top four is performing above what I had expected.

Things are now coming back down to Earth. Weber is no longer heading for a 25-goal season (meaning Brent Burns’ only real competition for the Norris Trophy at the start of year is no longer in the running). Jeff Petry, who has exceeded the predicted seven goals, hadn't scored in the 17 games of this sample.

People might point out that they are not doing enough now, but the defencemen were doing much more than their share early in the season. Maybe it's just a question of regression.

The table above doesn't show it, but only seven of the 24 combined assists by Weber and Alexei Emelin were primary helpers. For comparison, of Markov’s 21 assists, 15 have directly set up up a goal. I wonder how Bergevin and Julien will deal with that top pairing thing....