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Montreal’s powerless power play costs them in New Jersey

Going zero for four on the power play burns the Habs in an easily winnable game.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at New Jersey Devils Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

It is starting to sound like the worst broken record in history, but the Montreal Canadiens lost an easily winnable game due to the fact that their power play is a disaster.

They went zero for four against a Devils team missing most of its regulars, and lost two players of the course of the game, and it generated nothing dangerous in terms of attack.


Zero pressure from high danger areas, especially the net-front areas, and just in general they didn’t seem to manage many actual shot attempts against New Jersey. The penalty kill did it’s job, and then some, with Paul Byron’s amazing effort being the only goal the Canadiens scored all night.

So it begs the question, when the hell is something going to change?

This toothless attack had also seeped slightly into the Canadiens even strength play against the Devils, and it presents an interesting bit of background to the shot counter last night.


Montreal’s heaviest attack came from extremely far out, and they ignored the center of the zone almost entirely for some reason. At five-on-five Montreal had 26 shots, the Devils had 17, and yet the Devils managed two goals out of it, and looking at the heatmap shows why. New Jersey went to the high danger areas of the ice, and at even strength they had double the number of high danger scoring chances of Montreal, seven compared to the Canadiens’ three.

It’s a fantastic sign that Montreal is dominating in most possession metrics, and they certainly did last night, but if they’re producing less scoring chances and high danger chances than the teams they’re out-possessing, it’s a hollow victory.

The team is playing well, but they’re missing part of their game that makes them truly good, and it’s costing them games. For a team with Andrew Shaw, Brendan Gallagher, and Paul Byron, all players who do well around the net, there’s no reason to not dominate that area of the ice, especially when faced with a close-to-AHL-level squad like the Devils last night.