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.