While the Montreal Canadiens have managed to rack up points in the early part of the season, there are still glaring, potentially detrimental, issues that need to be addressed if they are to remain in playoff contention.
The Woes of the Montreal Canadiens Special Teams:
It’s beyond mention to bring up the power play as something that needs work. The bottom line is this: The Montreal Canadiens simply will not make it into postseason play without their power play turning around [in a significant way]. It’s just that simple.
Most Montreal Canadiens fans, from what I can tell, are concerned about the state of the team’s defense. My primary concern, despite popular opinion, is the offense. No matter how much defense the team plays, it’s not going to score goals if shots are not put on net.
It should be alarming to the coaching staff that aside from the special teams being terrible, Montreal’s 5-on-5 has tanked as well. It was off to a fantastic start at the beginning of the season and has slowly withered…
Montreal had 28 shots on goal last night against the Arizona Coyotes. While that’s not a terrible number on its own, when taking the shot-quality into consideration, it’s really underwhelming. Montreal absolutely has to get better looks and better rebound efforts. Brendan Gallagher and Andrew Shaw cannot be the only ones getting banged up in the crease.
But even more urgent [to me] is the fact that Montreal would much rather pass than shoot. This has been most prominent in the game-play of Max Domi, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Jonathan Drouin. These three players are among my favorite to watch. Which makes it even more frustrating to watch them dish the puck through heavy traffic instead of putting a shot on net, forcing a potential rebound. All three of these guys can shoot the puck. [Perhaps it’s a confidence issue.]
A lot of the offensive shortcomings stems from the inability to effectively gain the zone [This has especially been an issue with respect to the power play. It has been common to see only one forward chasing after the puck in the offensive zone when on the power play. This strategy has proved ineffective].
There’s no sense in dumping the puck into the offensive zone if no one is chasing after it. The most bewildering part about this is that Montreal is [arguably] one of the top five fastest teams in the league. There is no reason why they should not be able to put more pressure on the defense in their own zone.
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I want to see this team do well. I really do. But their postseason hopes are going to be shattered if they cannot find a way to put more high-quality shots on goal and capitalize on the power play.
Go Habs Go!