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’ winning streak and the reasons for the team’s success. Your comments are welcome.
by Dean Matheos, Junior Staff Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine
PIERREFONDS, QC. — The Montreal Canadiens are off to their best start in franchise history, have established one NHL record for most consecutive regulation wins to begin a season and are on the verge of another. With a 9-0-0 record many things have been going well for the team as they look to continue their dominance.
A start like this does not just happen. It means that everyone is contributing by doing what they need to do to won. So what are the biggest reasons that the Habs remain undefeated?
Depth at every position
To be a strong team that can contend for the Cup depth throughout the lineup is required. It is something that the Canadiens haven’t had in recent years.. This year the team has received contributions from the entire lineup.
Montreal has the league’s best goaltender and a capable backup. Up front the Canadiens have received scoring from all four lines. On defensive there are two NHL-ready rearguards who are still waiting for their first action. That’s the luxury of defensive depth.
Last year goaltending was heavily relied on to win games. The Canadiens could not score. Carey Price had to stand on his head night in and night out carrying the team for their wins. Price has been superb to start the season but is finally getting some goal support. The offense has tallied 35 goals this year and have a league leading plus-23 goal differential.
Bottom six contribution
The Canadiens bottom two lines have played some great hockey to help lighten the load on the top-6. Taking advantage of almost exclusively offensive zone starts, the third line of Tomas Fleischmann, David Desharnais and Dale Weise have a total of 17 points in nine games.
The fourth line has been a surprise to me especially Torrey Mitchell. After coming over from Buffalo at the trade deadline, Mitchell has three goals and an assist to start the year. It was a rare off night against the Maple Leafs but overall Mitchell has been impressive in the leading one of the best fourth lines in hockey.
After a very slow start, the Habs power-play has a success rate of 22.9 per cent, good enough for eighth in the league. The Canadiens have five power-play goals in their last four games after starting the season with just two goals on the man advantage in their first five games. Brendan Gallagher has lead the way with three goals.
On the penalty-kill, the Canadiens are one of the best in the league at 90.9 per cent efficiency which puts them in a three-way tie with the Dallas Stars and the Anaheim Ducks.
Shooting the puck
The big reason why the Habs are averaging 3.89 goals a games is because they are taking, on average, an extra 10.1 shots per game. The higher shot count speaks to a must-improved possession game from last season.
Defense helping out
It is clear that the Canadiens are doing more to activate the defence this season. With ten points each, P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov sit on top of the league for points from defensemen tied with John Carlson of the Washington Capitals. The Habs defense core has 23 points in total.
Confidence in the dressing room has been a huge key to the Habs winning ways. The Canadiens leadership group is tight, focused and committed to a singular goal. With the support of passionate fans in Montreal, there is a special feeling around this team.
We have been treated to a start to the season watching as, most nights, the Habs have been dominant. There are still areas where improvements are needed but this is an impressive team who have given their fans a lot to enjoy so far this season.