Montreal Canadiens Getting Bogged Down Again…
This has been an indictment of Montreal Canadiens’ teams for most of the Marc Bergevin era. However, with the compressed 2021 schedule, problems get magnified. The Calgary Flames found a way to slow down Montreal even further and Saturday night, it showed.
As Calgary was beating Montreal yet again, one ugly and familiar stat reared its ugly head. Thanks again to Mike Kelly.
One rush chance for Montreal tonight – fewest of any game this season. Canadiens offence is too one-dimensional. Calgary takes it away, Calgary wins.
MTL – Fewest Rush Chances – Single Game..
Tonight vs CGY: 1
Mar.13 vs CGY: 2
Feb. 6 vs OTT: 2
Apr. 23 vs CGY: 3
Apr. 19 vs EDM: 3 https://t.co/SZEDLOcPL0
— Mike Kelly (@MikeKellyNHL) April 25, 2021
Please understand this sobering reality. Three of these games happened over the last week! It proves that teams do indeed watch the video. Calgary has now done it in three meetings and even Edmonton pulled this off. Yes, the Edmonton Oilers held Montreal to just three rush chances on the 19th. Let that sink in a bit. The Oilers are not all that known for their defense slowing teams down.
Roster construction plays a part in this with such a rigid defensive corps. Shea Weber was never fast, to begin with, and now his reaction time on the ice keeps declining. When offensive options are constricted, Montreal becomes very one-dimensional and bogged down.
The loss of Brendan Gallagher is felt here too as Gallagher could create a bit off the rush and power through some of these slowdown attempts. Montreal needs more players like Gallagher mixed with a little more speed through the neutral zone. It is something that the Canadiens’ media has probably been saying for most of a decade now.
The inconsistent perils of the Montreal Canadiens…
Lately, Montreal comes up with an effort where they create more chances then fall backward the next game. This near-recurring pattern is why they cannot string together a hot stretch like most playoff teams. It is also why the Canadiens have lost seven of their last ten.
If they do not figure this out soon, Montreal is in serious trouble yet again. And this time, they may not be able to climb out of it.
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Finally, there is this from the Montreal Canadiens’ Special Teams
Again, there is ugly and then there is uglier. The BOWMAN five-game rolling average gages special teams play and during this season, Montreal has had one positive five-game stretch. That is right. ONE!
— Jason Paul 🥥 (@WaveIntel) April 24, 2021
Thanks to Jason Paul once again as it has been an evergreen-like debated topic in Montreal. The numbers listed above do not lie. It is scary to think of how bad Montreal would be if their even-strength numbers were not good. Oh, they would be probably like a team similar to New Jersey at this point.
All the expected-goals for in the world will not help when special teams are this poor. They have been poor for years and little has really changed. Their special teams’ percentage has improved a bit but is still below 100% (96.6%). Simply, that is not good enough and in the playoffs, that typically means a quick elimination.
Even on the power play, there is not enough dynamics or movement. This is where the volume gets turned up to ten — Cole Caufield. His quick release and shot could change things along with that Brendan Gallagher net-front presence. This would open some things up at the very least. Instead, Montreal keeps playing this predictable game.
Safe is death. Remember that as Montreal continues to play with fire as far as their playoff spot. They need to speed things up. The questions are can they and will they? Stay tuned.