Monday, November 21, 2011

Montreal Canadiens by the Numbers - November 21, 2011

The Montreal Canadiens are only a few hours away from their biggest challenge of the season: taking on the red-hot Bruins at the Bell Centre.

After losing back-to-back games to the Canadiens, the Bruins have gone on an eight-game winning streak, moving into seventh overall in the East and becoming the team to beat.

Montreal too has gone through various swings, 20 games into the season, so I thought it would be a good time to see how they've fared so far.

Numbers never lie, so I have taken a look at the standings, scoring, special teams and a few other variables, to see where Montreal currently ranks.

I'll continue to do so a few times a month so you can get an ongoing view of how the Habs are doing.

So, without further, here is the first edition of Montreal Canadiens by the Numbers.


Montreal is currently 20th overall in the league, last (fifth) in the Northeast Division and 11th overall in the Eastern Conference.

Overall Scoring

Montreal has scored a total of 53 goals over 20 games for an 18th overall 2.65 goals for per game. On the defensive side of the puck, the Habs have a sparkling eighth overall 2.35 goals against, having allowed 49 goals against over 20 games.

While the Habs powerplay could use some work, they are much improved 5-on-5, with a fifth overall 1.28 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio.

Home/Road Scoring

Montreal has scored 32 goals (seventh overall) and allowed 27 (16th overall) through 11 home games. The Canadiens have scored nine powerplay goals at home (sixth overall) while allowing seven against (18th overall).

The Habs have scored (10th) and allowed (24th) one short-handed goal at home.

On the road, the Canadiens have managed only 21 goals-for (20th overall) while limiting their opponents to 20 (sixth overall). They have scored 12 powerplay goals (16th overall) and allowed a measly nine against (fifth overall).

The Canadiens have been having their share of problems when down a man on the road, however.

Montreal has scored one short-handed road goal (22nd overall) but allowed four against (29th overall).

Scoring by period

Montreal tends to do most of their scoring over the back two-third of the game, scoring 12 goals in first periods (23rd overall), 22 in the second (fourth overall) and 17 in the third (18th overall).

The Canadiens have scored two overtime goals and 53 overall.

When it comes to the opposition, they too tend to score most over the last two periods. Montreal has allowed 13 first period goals (23rd overall), 18 second period goals (13th overall), 15 third period goals (22nd overall) and one overtime goal.

Montreal has allowed a total of 47 goals against through 20 games.

Special Teams

Despite a better showing over the last week, Montreal's powerplay is still struggling at 15.4 percent efficiency (20th overall).

Their penalty kill, however, continues to be a strong point, operating at 89.3 percent efficiency (third overall).

Shots and Faceoffs

Montreal has been the aggressor many nights so far this year. The result is the ninth best shots per game average, at 31.4.

The beauty is that the Habs continue to stifle the opposition's attack, limiting them to a second overall 26.8 shots per game. Whether they outshoots their opponent or not, however, seems to have a negligible difference to their winning percentage.

Montreal has won 41.7 percent (22nd overall) of their games when outshooting their opponents and 50 percent (19th overall) when being outshot.

In the faceoff department, Montreal wins 48.8 percent of their faceoffs (22nd overall). A little improvement in this area would likely put a few more victories on the board.


Given the trapping nature of the Jacques Martin system, you would expect the Canadiens to do well when scoring the first goal.

Not so much, however.

The Habs win only a little over half their games (54.5 percent, 26th overall) when scoring first.

Montreal's passive resistance system means that they have difficulty pulling off come-from-behind wins. The Canadiens have won only 33.3 percent (17th overall) of games they were trailing after the first period.

In contract, their defensive scheme has held strong 100 percent of the time (tied for first overall) they hold the lead after the first period. That's a pretty amazing stat and testament to the strength of their defensive system, despite the numerous injuries.

Oddly, their winning percent drops to 87.5 when leading after two periods (19th overall).

This means that Montreal has lost 12.5 percent of the games they lead going into the third period. That's not as high as their "sit-back-and-let-them-come-at-you" third period strategy might lead you to believe.

Then again, they are in the bottom of the league (19th overall) in that department, so it's not that good either.


Montreal has taken 91 minor (23rd overall) and six major (sixth overall) penalties through 20 games (total of 104 penalties—24th overall, 242 penalty minutes—18th overall).

The Canadiens are once again horrible with the bench minor, tied for last in the league with five.

Overall, Montreal is averaging 12.1 penalty minutes per game (18th overall). If those were all minors, that would mean they were taking a little over six penalties per game.

Clearly, that is too many and the problem of indiscipline is still a thorn in the Habs' sides.

So numbers aside, how do you feel about the Canadiens performance so far? Do you think they are a playoff team? Which is the real version of the Habs, the one that lost to the Isles or shutout the Rangers?

Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Kamal is also a weekly contributor to the Sunday Shinny on TSN Radio 990 (AM 990) every Sunday from 9 - 10 AM. Listen live at

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(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)


What? Numbers never lie? People can come up with statistics to prove anything!

@Louis: Numbers don't ever lie...people do


No seriously though, the numbers I pulled out really do tell the tale of this team so far...empirically.

I'm still shocked that they have such a high 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio!

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