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On Shea Weber, and the Canadiens’ resurgent power play

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The Canadiens have a functional power play this year, and their captain really made his mark on Saturday.

NHL: NOV 09 Kings at Canadiens Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This may or may not be some shocking news for Montreal Canadiens fans; Shea Weber has an incredibly potent slap shot. The Habs’ captain put his mark on Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings with two ferocious clappers, reminding everyone exactly why that threat is so real.

Last season, the Habs were beyond predictable on the power play. Opposing teams knew that they were ultimately working the puck to Weber, so it was easier for them to clog the lanes and take that threat away. This year, they’ve been much more diverse, which has led to more opportunities for their greatest weapon.

On Saturday, it didn’t even matter if they had his lane covered. Just look at his first goal...

He gets blocked on his first attempt, and proceeds to punish the rebound past Jonathan Quick. What’s extra impressive about this is that he takes the second shot the moment that the blocked shot hits the ice from up in the air.

I still haven’t figured out how he managed to get that kind of force on a falling, fluttering puck, without taking even a second to settle it. It is incredibly impressive that he got it on net, never mind to have done so with the velocity that he did.

His second goal was just vintage Shea Weber stuff.

You could argue that Quick should have had that one, but as you can see, Weber’s shots come at a different velocity than can be reasonably expected. If he has a shooting lane, he has a very good chance of exploiting it. The Habs being able to create those lanes for him this year — particularly last night — is a stark contrast to the futility of the 2018-19 iteration of the power play.

To say that the puck movement with the power play has vastly improved would be an understatement. The opposition has to worry about who to cover this year, and the end result is more openings for the greatest weapon they have.

If the man advantage was even passable last year, they’d almost certainly have made the playoffs. They have it going now, and Weber is able to get involved, so you have to like their chances as long as that continues to be true.

His current pace would have him over 20 goals by the end of the year. If that holds up, this team will be a force to be reckoned with.