I was checking out Shrp Sports' website which has all the scores from previous NHL seasons (it's a good resource, check it out http://www.shrpsports.com/nhl/teamseas.htm. I wish it had boxscores, but que sera sera...) and decided to compare this year's edition of the Habs to last.
It was actually at about this time last year that the Habs started having some troubles. After 29 games last year they had a record of 16-8-5 (same as their record this year after 29 games), for a total of 37 points. However, last year they didn't reach point number 50 until their 47th game. So 13 points in 18 games, that's a win % of .361.
At this exact time last year (after 32 games) they had 40 points to their 43 this season. If the Habs can actually keep their pace this year, they should hit 50 points by their 37th-38th game, a full ten games faster. Of course, we didn't expect them to take such a tumble last year either and it happened...
The most promising sign, IMO, is at this point last year the Habs had 93 goals for and 100 goals against, compared to 97 goals for and 85 goals against this year. That's a pretty impressive improvement in goals against, and they went from being -17 to +12 in that regard.
NHL.com still has the boxscores up from last season, so I think we I get some more free time I'm going to check out what the special teams were like throughout the season.
Another thing we should mention is how the habs won games without key players. Higgins missed 17 games, Sourray missed a game or two . Last year, when a player was injured, the team had to promote guys like Bulis and Zednik to the first or second lines. Now we can promote guys like Latendresse and Perezhogin...they're better than Zednik and Bulis and they don't even have 100 NHL games combined!
Depth and solid goaltending was last years problem. The team solved that and then some. The Habs are among the most dangerous teams in the league and they're considered playoff contenders by many. Yet we still get ridiculous trade proposals by fans of the team. A little ungreatful if you ask me, even the best teams have questionable players who have slumps. It's been way too long since the Habs were this good, their wins are well deserved. So lets not mess with a good thing.
Very good post Riel. 100% true. We have a way better team with more depth and much better goaltending then we had at the same point in the season last year. You're right on the proposals also. Too many stupid proposals from people who obviously don't know the game.
It is still early and a lot can change, just look at the leafs that went from 10 to 5 in a week, but I am very happy with the way things are so far. I still think another scoring center would help but overall things are good.