Canadiens report cards following a much-improved season

The Montreal Canadiens made significant improvements in 2023-24, and these improvements occurred in every phase of the game.
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens
Detroit Red Wings vs Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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Defensive zone play will improve even if it was so-so this season

Things didn’t look promising from an overall statistical ranking for the Habs defensively, as they finished 28th in the NHL with 289 goals allowed. Montreal also allowed 2,738 shots on net in the defensive zone, or 33.39 per game. They are all numbers that clearly need to venture southward, but as opposed to the 2022-23 season, there was some improvement, as they allowed 18 fewer goals. 

There was also a slight improvement in shots allowed, but not enough to confidently say there was a southward trend here. In 2022-23, that number stood at 2,753, or 15 more than they allowed this season. The Habs did, however, improve in the Corsi For at 5-on-5 by 0.9 percent, logging 45.4 last season and 46.3 this year. 

Overall, the Habs didn’t improve much defensively, but they at least stepped in the right direction, and that’s much more than what can be said about a few teams this year. Since there wasn’t enough improvement to get overtly excited about but no step back, the Habs will get a solid C here. But for 2024-25, there must be substantial improvement to receive a passing grade.