Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's kind of like taking a knife to a gun fight

Not to be confused with the Habs' offence

David got it done with his slingshot; maybe the Habs could sign him to play on the second line. 

Then again, if he were wearing a Canadiens uniform I'm not sure that even the accuracy of his shot could help him slay Goliath... or the Flyers... or the Capitals... or even the Leafs. 

To put it simply, if the Habs don't score, then they don't win. To anyone who's familiar with the game of hockey, that seems like an obvious enough statement. But the Habs have taken the art of turning weak offensive outputs into losses to another level. To this point in the season (after 37 games) the Habs have suffered fifteen regulation-time losses, games where they don't earn a point in the standings. The offensive output in those losses are as follows:

2 goals, October 7 vs. Toronto
0 goals, October 21 vs. New Jersey
1 goal, October 30 vs. Florida
0 goals, November 2 vs. Columbus
2 goals, November 6 vs. Ottawa
0 goals, November 18 vs. Nashville
2 goals, November 22 vs. Philadelphia
0 goals, November 26 vs. Atlanta
2 goals, December 10 vs. Detroit
1 goal, December 11 vs. Toronto
3 goals, December 15 vs. Philadelphia
2 goals, December 19 vs. Colorado
2 goals, December 21 vs. Dallas
1 goals, December 26 vs. New York Islanders
0 goals, December 28 vs. Washington

Add it up, and in 15 regulation-time losses they have scored a paltry total of 18 goals... or a less-than-scintillating clip of 1.2 goals per game. Contrast that with the average of 3.45 goals per game that they've scored in their 20 wins.

Being shutout 5 times is bad enough, but toss in three 1-goal performances, and there's 8 games where Montreal goaltending would have had to have shutout the opposition to even have a hope of earning a point in those games.

The good news: only once has the team lost in regulation when scoring more than 2 goals. 

Even with a less-than stellar defensive effort in front of him on many nights, Carey Price's goals-against average is a very good 2.27, which means that  they're getting the kind of steady goaltending, game in and game out, that they need to have a chance to win. The guys between the pipes have been saving their bacon, as 12 of their 20 wins has seen the team has score 3 or fewer goals.  

Unfortunately, the trend is that this team's offense leans towards all-or-nothing, needing to pump three past the opposition's goaltender to keep from losing. They're not getting blown-out, but they're not winning games that , even if they were to muster a mediocre offense, they should be winning.

1.2 isn't going to cut it.

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