GDHQNHL15_2pg-Montreal Canadiens 2

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efforts more on the defensive zone, especially with Subban roaming the ice. At age 35, Markov averaged over 25 minutes of ice time per game, the most in his career. Alexei Emelin is a major part of the Canadiens plans on defense but he struggled after starting the season late due to offseason knee surgery. He will be healthier heading into this season, and the Canadiens would love to see him regain form but Emelin may not be given a long leash to prove himself. In free agency, the Canadiens signed Tom Gilbert who played for the Florida Panthers last season. Although the Panthers had one of the worst defenses in the league, Montreal will ask Gilbert to help fill the hole caused by the departure of Josh Gorges. Another addition from the Panthers was brought in at last year’s trade deadline. Mike Weaver was acquired in exchange for a draft pick. He was a solid player over his short tenure with the team, especially in the playoffs where he was a key piece of the Canadiens upset of the rival Boston Bruins. There are a few young prospects competing for ice time, including 22-year old Jarred Tinordi and 21-year-old Nathan Beaulieu, who have appeared in a combined 53 games for Montreal over the last two seasons. Goaltending Carey Price is one of the best goaltenders in the world, but everyone’s last glimpse of him was getting knocked out of game one of the Eastern Conference Finals. He has declared his right knee healthy and expects to have another solid season in net. His .927 save percentage ranked dourth in the NHL and he finished the regular season with a 2.32 GAA. The Canadiens have two potential backup goalies in Peter Budaj and Dustin Tokarski. The veteran Budaj got most of the playing time in the regular season and was solid in the role of spelling Price. But when Price went down in the playoffs, it was Tokarski that started Game 2 and was thrust into one of the game’s biggest stages. Although the Canadiens did not advance, Tokarski helped keep them in the series. Power Play The Canadiens struggled on the power-play and saw their percentage drop into the bottom half of the league at 17.2 percent after rising to over 20 percent the season before. The unit has been very up and down the past few seasons, so there is potential for them to bounce back. Pacioretty was the leading goal scorer on the unit with ten and his line-mate Gallagher was right behind him with eight. But the unit struggled to find other players that could put the puck in the net. With Briere gone, the Canadiens will need Desharnais, Plekanec and Sekac to step up in these important spots. At the point, Subban and Markov direct the power play. They were first and second on the team in power play points with 23 and 21, respectively, and they each finished the season with 19 power-play assists. Subban’s four power-play goals in the postseason were tied for the most in the NHL. Canadiens Penalty Kill The penalty kill went in the opposite direction as the power play. The unit ranked fourth in the league with an 85.1 percent conversion rate after it was ranked 23rd the season before. Manny Malhotra was signed in the offseason to help eat up the ice time opened up by the Briere trade. We could also see more of Pacioretty on the penalty kill, too. P.K. Subban Rick Madonik/Toronto Star The Canadiens have Plekanec to help prevent teams from cheating into the zone. He scored three shorthanded goals last season and it was the third time in his career that he’s hit that mark. Markov makes an impact again in the penalty kill, and it may become a bigger focus for the veteran this year. The penalty kill was also bolstered late in the season when Weaver came to the team. Prediction The Canadiens will compete in the Eastern Conference once again and they always seem to elevate their game when they reach the playoffs. Hockey crazy Montreal has plenty of cause for optimism, but it will not be easy to catch up with the Bruins or keep up with the Lightning. Scoreboard 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 PLAYOFF FINISH Conf Finals Conf QF DNQ Conf QF Conf Finals REGULAR SEASON 46-28-8 29-14-5 31-35-16 82-44-30 39-33-10 POINT TOTAL 100 63 78 96 88 SHOOTOUT RECORD 6-3 3-2 5-12 3-3 7-5 GOALS SCORED 215 149 212 216 217 GOALS ALLOWED 204 126 226 209 223 POWER-PLAY % 17.2 20.7 14.3 19.7 21.8 PENALTY KILL % 85.1 79.8 88.6 84.4 83.0


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