Wall Battles, Defensive-Zone Coverage, Give Aways; Oh My!
The Habs lost an ugly, if not entertaining game to the Boston Bruins on February 9th. The Canadiens lost all semblance of the strong defensive team they've been this season, falling by an eventual score of 8-6.
The Habs inconsistencies turned to the offensive zone, as they lost 4-3 in a shootout to the New York Islanders on February 10th. Montreal was able to get the puck behind the Islanders defensemen on multiple occasions, but were unable to create offense once there.
The Montreal Canadiens rebounded with their top overall grade in six games, and were in turn rewarded with a 3-0 win over the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs. Rookie David Desharnais won 14 offensive-zone puck-battles to lead all players. His grade of 77 was second only to Travis Moen's 79.
Desharnais winning praise and puck battles
Expressing statistics by winning percentage
In an effort to make the statistics I've compiled easier to read and understand, I've attempted to present the results by winning percentage. What this means is that I've taken each individual metric and divided the positive results by the total results. This number was then multiplied by 100 to create a winning percentage (or grade).
PK. Subban spent the last two periods alone; pushing a rock up a hill
A strong start wasn't enough for the win, as the Montreal Canadiens fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Buffalo Sabres on February 15th. The Canadiens overall grade fell substantially as the game moved on. They ended the first period with a 2-0 lead and an overall grade of 67. Only to see that number fall to 61 after 2, and 59 to end the game.
The ever-thinning Montreal Canadiens defense struggled as the Habs lost 4-1 to the upstart Edmonton Oilers on February 17th.
Both Roman Hamrlik (48) and Yannick Weber (44) set personal season-lows as far as their grade was concerned. In fact, both players' final number against the Oilers was 15 points below their season average.
Really concerning about Hamrlik. The last two games he's been our worst defenseman when we really can't afford him to be. Hamrlik has played a 1288 games in his career, the rest of Montreal's defense combined has only played 632 games! Hamrlik has played over 650 more games than Weber, Wiseniewski, Nash, Subban and Picard combined! He has to be a lot better than he's been lately. Mara, whose played 714 games in his career, should be in the lineup on Sunday so that will help our back end but Hamrlik still has to show much more leadership with veterans like Spacek and Gill out.
Good to see that Eller played well tonight. I wonder if him sitting out against Buffalo woke him up; hope it did. And it's great to see Kostitsyn with a grade of 60. He still has a ways to go, however.