Habs experiencing familiar scoring troubles in preseason
Throughout the 2014-15 season, the only thing about the Montreal Canadiens more consistent than the brilliance of Carey Price was the team’s inability to score goals, despite a relatively talented lineup. The Canadiens have continued that struggle four games into the 2015-16 preseason, scoring more than one goal in a single game just a single time, and just six total.
Worrying about goals in and of themselves probably isn’t wise when it comes to preseason, but each of the games, the Canadiens have iced at least an equally talented lineup to their opponent, in several cases I would say a significantly superior one.
The trouble that I’ve seen isn’t a talent issue, but a tactical one, and the result is that not only are the Canadiens struggling to score, they’re struggling to generate scoring chances at all, just look at their game to game differential.
Averaging just 7 scoring chances on net per game in all situations while allowing just under 12 against makes it look like the Canadiens will once again be leaning a bit too heavily on Carey Price this season, though even at their worst last year, the Canadiens were never this rough, it’s still preseason hockey.
However, there is a problem here. In terms of shot attempts, the Canadiens controlled just 44.8% of scoring chances through four games, while in terms of scoring chances that actually hit the net, the Canadiens controlled just 37.3%.
To illustrate further, take a look at the breakdown of the Habs’ most recent game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, using shots from the slot, deflections, and one-timers, the shot types most likely to produce a goal.
*Transparent events are missed or blocked shots, solid colours are on net.
Even in the game where the Canadiens were closest to even in scoring chances, the Leafs doubled their shot attempts from right in close to the net.
In all fairness to the Canadiens, there’s a heavy amount of noise in the preseason, and like most teams, they haven’t iced anywhere close to a complete lineup, but the tendency to get out-chanced by the opposition isn’t new, it’s been a two year long trend now, and one a team that should be contending for a Stanley Cup championship can’t afford to have continue.
What can they do to fix it? That’s up next.
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