Grading the MTL Canadiens
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09-12-2011, 06:42 PM
Talks to Goalposts
Join Date: Apr 2011
Originally Posted by
You could not be more wrong about faceoffs. Look at Bergeron vs Habs faceoffs during the playoffs. His faceoff wins dominated every shift because they had control of the puck a lot more. When you need a goal to tie the game or you need to stay afloat to win by 1 goal, you need to be dominant. We created a fortress around Price's crease by the 2nd period. While that worked sometimes, the opponent ended up scoring at some point. When you win faceoffs, you gain possession, rotate the puck and keep it off their sticks.
Faceoffs matter greatly for the moment that they happen but on aggregate they tend to impact the game very little. If there were lots of guys that can win at 60% or more of the time it could matter but in reality with most centers with 5% of the mean it makes a miniscule amount of difference over the course of a season. A good counter example is from the same series, Krejci was beating Plekanec on faceoffs left and right but Pleks still ate his lunch all series.
Puck possesion matters a lot, but a faceoff is just one type of battle that there isn't a big skill difference in at the NHL level. It quickly fades into the background noise of all the other puck control battles that happen during a game which will also result in possesion for a few seconds just like a faceoffs.
Also, when the score was tied Montreal was beating Boston on possesion. Same when they were behind. Montreal only "forted up around Price" when they had the lead, which is what pretty much every team does when they're up to some degree (Montreal probably plays to the score more than most but almost every team does it).
The fact that overall play was basically completely even between Montreal and Boston despite their better faceoff skills actually goes to show how little effect faceoffs actually have on the game. Not that its not a useful skill but its something that gets drowned out by the dozens of useful puck possession skills there are. It gets massively overrated because its something that's closely tracked and can be quickly refered to rather than how much impact it actual has on a game at the NHL level.
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