What a crazy first month of the season it has been for the Canadiens. It saw an historic win in Winnipeg, an historically bad start at home, a waiver claim and a returned waiver claim, a trade and an assistant coach getting fired. And at the end, they are almost right back at .500.
The following table is something I came up with chronicling the confidence that the fans had in the team throughout the month. In October, the high point was prior to the opener (70/100) and the low point was after the loss to the Florida Panthers (5/100). They finished the month at a respectable 60/100 after back-to-back wins against the Boston Bruins.
This is not scientific. It is just a general feeling. After the three game winning streak, more fans are inclined to believe in this team, but less than they did prior to the season. This will be a running total so next month will begin at 60 and will continue from there.
Carey Price: 4-4-2, 2.59 GAA, 0.900 save percentage
This is pretty self explanatory. Price was outstanding in the current three game winning streak and was good in other games. He needs to keep appearing on this list for the Canadiens to have any success this season.
Andrei Kostitsyn: 3g-4a-7pts, +1
Kostitsyn has – quietly – put up very good numbers this season and his chemistry with Lars Eller is very nice to see. He hasn’t been getting time on the power play which makes the numbers even more impressive. If he keeps it up, and doesn’t fall off like after a quick start last year, it will be a welcome sight for the Canadiens.
Tomas Plekanec: 4g-5a-9pts, +1
He is so solid. The number one center kills penalties, plays on the power play and it doesn’t matter who he’s playing with, he makes the plays he has to. Very close to a point-per-game pace.
Honourable Mentions: Max Pacioretty, Josh Gorges, Lars Eller
Disappointing Starts: Scott Gomez, Mike Cammalleri
Don’t let the numbers fool you (good news edition): P.K. Subban
Subban, from the looks of it, has a disappointing statistics line. 3 assists, and is -3. However, if you look at any advanced statistical measure, he is far and away the biggest offensive difference maker on the team. The Canadiens, recalculated to 60 minutes, would have 27.3 shots more shots directed at the net than their opponents with Subban on the ice. That’s the top of any regular player for the Canadiens.
Don’t let the numbers fool you (good news/bad news edition): Travis Moen
Moen is still tied for the Canadiens lead in goal scoring with four goals. Don’t be fooled. Moen won’t get many more for the rest of the season. He is not a scorer. However, he has been the best defensive forward for the Canadiens. He is right behind Josh Gorges in relative Corsi when you take into account the players they are put up against from the other team. He is having his best season as a member of the Canadiens. [Side note: near the bottom of that list? Mathieu Darche.]
Underrated move of the month: Randy Ladouceur behind the bench. Lost in the dismissal of Perry Pearn was the fact that Ladouceur took over behind the bench. One of the things that stuck out was in the final minute after the Boston Bruins pulled within one. During the timeout, it was Ladouceur – not Randy Cunneyworth or Jacques Martin - talking to the group of players about to take the ice. I think him and his experience is as much as a positive in this as the dramatic and unexpected wake up call the firing of Pearn was.
Tags: Andrei Kostitsyn Carey Price Jacques Martin Josh Gorges Lars Eller Mathieu Darche Max Pacioretty Mike Cammalleri Montreal Canadiens NHL P.K. Subban Perry Pearn Randy Cunneyworth Randy Ladouceur Scott Gomez Tomas Plekanec Travis Moen