All Habs Hockey Magazine is proud to provide a platform for young writers to express their views on important issues. Today, we present a fan piece on the Canadiens’ team leaders who have brought them to a perfect record so far this season. Your comments are welcome.
by Dean Matheos, Junior Staff Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine
PIERREFONDS, QC. — The top line for a team is very important. They are who you look to provide most of your offense during the course of a season. A team’s number one line is in most cases the line that is heavily relied on and that has the most responsibility.
The Habs top line has led the offensive charge for the team. With the team’s undefeated record, they have stepped up their game and the have played great hockey both in the offensive zone and in the defensive zone. With two of the top penalty killers in Tomas Plekanec and Max Pacioretty playing on the same line they can be easily relied upon to contribute defensively in a huge way especially in the late stages as they have credit with three of the four empty net goals this season as well as the entire line each tallying one of the four powerplay goals on the team . Offensively the trio has the most combined points on the team with 16. Of the 16 points there are 10 goals (most per line) and six assists (like the rest of the top-9). They also have the team’s best rank at plus-2o.
Brendan Gallagher has played really well and creating chances for his linemates. So far in the early part of the season he has tallied a goal and four assists with a rank of plus-5. He is a player that likes to go to the front of the net and get under the skin of his opponents. He is a guy that can bring energy and momentum to his team because he plays harder for someone of his size. His net front presence can be an X-factor for his linemates especially for a guy like Pacioretty if a goaltender is unable to see the shot.
Tomas Plekanec is one of the most underrated two-way players in the game. He is trusted to win key draws in any zone at any time and he is by far the best penalty killer on the team. He is credited with five goals and is a plus-7 so far on the year. Even though two of them have been on an empty net it just shows the trust that Michel Therrien has in him over people like Alex Galchenyuk and Alex Semin. It also shows that he is appreciated by management after recently signing a new contract extension worth 12 million dollars over the next two years. Plekanec is off to another quick start this season hoping to continue his success throughout the year
Max Pacioretty is off to a fantastic start to this season with four goals and six points in the team’s first six games of the season. This contrasts to last year where he had one goal in four games. Pacioretty, who had 39 and 37 goals in each of his last two seasons respectively, continues the hunt for his first career 40 goal season and if he continues playing the way he is right now he will reach that milestone. He is not only relied upon to be the team’s leading scorer by provide the offence but he also has a major role in killing penalties alongside Tomas Plekanec. Another thing that Pacioretty does well at is using his foot speed to blow by defenders and put himself on a breakaway.
Defense is a huge part in any sport. Offense may win games but defense helps win championships. Without good solid defense keeping the score down no matter how good your offense is it is still going tough to make up. Normally your top defensive pairing will work a lot to provide both offense and defense.
P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov are paired up once again this season. Although with the depth on defense that the Montreal Canadiens have this year to limit the workload on these two they still need to come up big when needed whether it be on the powerplay, penalty kill or 5-on-5 situations.
P.K. Subban is one of the best defensemen in the NHL. His stickhandling ability creates offense and momentum during a rush up the ice. His hard shot is a threat at any point during a game so far this season he has yet to score but he does have four assists and is a plus-7. Subban is a great offensive defenseman and he is just as good defensively too. Now we just wait until he lights the lamp with a rocket of a shot that he possesses.
Andrei Markov is a solid veteran defenceman on both sides of the puck. he has great hockey sense and makes smart decisions with the puck. He has four assists on the year so far and is a plus-8. Markov is not getting any younger. At the age of 36 (37 on December) he is approaching the end of his career. He might not be as fast and as skilled as he was during the prime of his career but he still manages to effective and have an impact on the team’s performance.
Goaltending, like defense, is very important to a team’s success. A solid goaltender that can win you some games is great. A goaltender that is exceptional that can steal you some games by making some highlight reel save is even better.
Carey Price is by far the league’s best netminder. Ever since the Sochi Olympics, Price has been outstanding. With a career year last year, Price looks to continue his dominance as one of the NHL’s elite players. To have a repeat performance like the one he had last year would be hard to accomplish. All Price needs to is make the key saves when they need it and he will have another great year. Through the first six games it seem like the Habs won’t need to rely him as much which is a good thing for many people. Price off to a superb start with a 5-0 record and a 1.20 goals against average looks to continue his solid play.