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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dissecting the Montreal Canadiens: Late February 2012 Edition

After winning four straight games in the first half of March — a feat they haven't accomplished since a stretch between October 26th and November 4th — the Canadiens finished off the month of February with a disastrous 1-5-1 record.

Goals Hard to Come By

Over the last seven games the Canadiens were outscored by almost a two-to-one ratio, conceding 23 goals and netting only 12 tallies of their own.

David Desharnais had a hand in seven of those goals, scoring three.

A big part of the Habs lack of scoring over the past two weeks has been the disappearing act put on by both Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole.

While the two power forwards have no doubt been instrumental in what little success the Habs have had this year, neither of them were able to earn more than three points over those seven games.

Rene Bourque scored once in that time frame. Tomas Plekanec and the recently departed Andrei Kostitsyn were both shut out.

It's pretty simple: when your scorers don't score you tend to lose games.

Special Teams

The Habs dismal power play rate of 9.7% — or 3-for-31— over the past two weeks has done nothing but help them solidify a top pick in this June's draft.

Their penalty kill, however, has continued to thrive despite the departure of Hal Gill.

The league's top shorthanded squad killed 28 of 30 penalties for a blistering success rate of 93.3%. What's more impressive is that 20 of those 21 penalties were successfullly nullified after Gill's trade to Nashville.

Deja Vu - Kostitsyn Sent to Nashville

After years of inconsistency, the Canadiens organization finally decided to move forward without Andrei Kostisyn.

On what was arguably the most unsatisfying trade deadline in years, one of the biggest deals was Andrei being sent to play with his brother Sergei. Montreal received Nashville's second round pick in 2012 and the cancellation of the conditional fifth round choice sent to the Predators in the Hal Gill deal.

Tough Season Just Got Tougher

Hours after sending Kostitsyn to Nashville, the Canadiens claimed 6'1" 215lb tough guy Brad Staubitz off waivers from the Minnesota Wild. In 43 games with the Wild this season, Staubitz had accumulated 73 penalty minutes.

In his one game so far with the Habs, Staubitz earned 17 penalty minutes.

Staubitz brings a toughness to the lineup that the Habs haven't had in years. And, after just one game in a Canadiens uniform, he's already shown that liberties are not to be taken on his new teammates.

After Lightning forward Ryan Malone went ballistic on Alexei Emelin for delivering a hit, Staubitz reached out and grabbed Malone from the bench earning a ten minute misconduct. Just under four minutes into the third period of the same game, Staubitz dropped his gloves with Pierre-Cedric Labrie.

You can't help but be impressed by a player who dresses with a team for the first time and shows his teammates that if someone takes a shot at them he'll have their back.

The season may be over for the Canadiens, but having a player who's willing to stand up for his teammates is a positive to look forward to next season.

---
Sean is a freelance writer currently contributing to HabsAddict.com. He is also a regular blogger and frequent panelist on the Habs post game show at MontrealHockeyTalk.com You can follow Sean on Twitter

(Photo by Mike Ridewood/Getty Images North America)

10 comments:

Good stuff Sean.

That stat about the P.K sans Gill is really telling. Impressive how well the team has done in that department, espeically considering they are last in the East!

Sean are you suggesting that the Habs need to get bigger, meaner and tougher....blasphemy.

We need more guys like Desharnais, Gerbe, Roy, Gomez, etc....

Who needs toughness when we have borderline legal dwarfs

@Bryan: LMAO!! If I didn't know better I'd swear you were being sarcastic. But that's not your style.

;-)

@Sean: Great piece! I agree that in a season of mostly crap, it was nice to see Staubitz standing up for his new teammates.

Oh, if he had only been ON the ice when Malone went after Emelin!

I'm still confused why Malone flipped a switch like that.

I mean, it was interference, but the hit was not dirty and Emelin was expecting Malone to make contact with the puck. Its understandable for Malone to be upset, but to the point of costing himself a 5-minute major and an expulsion?

@Louis: Malone is known to have a short fuse. Look at the game where he cracked Campoli in the head (and didn't get suspended).

He was running around all game, looking for someone to get into with. That's just kinda his thing.

Anyway, as I said above, it's just too bad Staubitz was on the bench and not on the ice when that all happened. He would have destroyed Malone!

@kamal

Agreed, it would've been great to see Staubitz and Malone go at it but you can take more away from what happened seeing that even with the perpetrator out of the game Staubitz will make his point.

@Bryan

With our luck Staubitzb will pull a Laraque and become a vegetarian and decide to stop fighting

@Sean

I thought Laraque was a Vegan? Must take a whole lot of rice protein powder in his diet...

Perhaps a little proofreading?

@kamal good call, he did go all out

@Anon

Proofreading where?

If you see any mistakes, please point them out. Us writers and editors (aka me) are always looking to improve!

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