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How The Montreal Canadiens Have Generated Offense In The Playoffs

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Coming into this semi-final series with Vegas, the Montreal Canadiens have not trailed in a game for 7 hours, 17 minutes, and 53 seconds or 437:53 of hockey. It’s the second-longest streak in NHL Playoff history and the longest since 1961. The Habs have scored first in nine of their 11 playoff games and went on to win eight of those nine, and they have outscored their opponents 24-12 on their current seven-game playoff winning streak.

The Golden Knights have earned their position as heavy favorites in this series, but this is not your ordinary underdog, this is a confident team that is as hot as any team has been all year and they haven’t seen a deficit, let alone a defeat, in more than two weeks.

So, how are they doing it? Glad I asked and you read it so thus now you asked.

First off, they’ve done it with a combination of excellent goaltending coupled with strong defense. The Habs allowed just 87 scoring chances in their four-game sweep of the Winnipeg Jets with just 33 of them coming in high-danger situations. That’s 22 chances per game and about 8 high-danger. Compare that to VGK who just got off a tough series over Colorado where they allowed 28 chances per game and 11 per night at high-danger.

They have allowed plenty of goals though, so it’s not like they are unbeatable. You can read more about how those goals got through and what the Golden Knights need to do to create offense here.

In this article, we’re focused more on stopping Montreal’s attack.

The Habs have scored 28 goals this postseason in 11 games, or 2.55 per game. Since they fell behind 3-1 in the series to Toronto, they’ve scored 24 in seven games, or 3.43 per game. They clearly can score and they’ve been doing it in a variety of ways.

There are three main avenues the Canadiens usually take to score their offense. The three are (1) capitalizing on turnovers in the neutral zone or their own zone to quickly transition, (2) using a strong forecheck to create o-zone turnovers, and (3) winning battles right in front of the net.

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Canadiens Tweet Indicates Golden Knights Offered 3rd Round Pick To Move Up In 1st Round

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

Before the Golden Knights selected Peyton Krebs at #17 in the 2019 NHL Draft, they had to sit and wait. They watched names like Jack Hughes, Kaapo Kakko, and Kirby Dach be selected by other NHL teams as the clock ticked closer and closer to the Golden Knights turn.

However, thanks to a little behind the scenes video tweeted out by the Montreal Canadiens, we now know that the Golden Knights weren’t just sitting on their hands waiting. The video shows Canadiens GM, Marc Bergevin, picking up the phone while Montreal was on the clock.

Hello. Yeah. What are you offering? Hold on. (sets phone down to speak to staff) 3rd round pick to move two spots. (Staff member shakes head and says “No.”) No, we’re picking. -Marc Bergevin

Here’s the video so you can see it yourself.

On the other side of the phone was almost certainly George McPhee (or Kelly McCrimmon or someone else on the Golden Knights staff). We can only speculate this because the Golden Knights were the team that held the pick “two spots” from the Canadiens.

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