The Montreal Canadiens are in the midst of the most important phase of their rebuild.
Young players are expected to take big steps forward in their careers, which, in turn, should lead to healthier results for the club.
And though no one expects the Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup this season, there has been a rather interesting development when it comes to the team’s results.
When Martin St-Louis took over as head coach of the Habs, he brought with him a new way of communicating and relating to his players. He epitomizes a player’s coach. Someone who has the ideal experience to serve as a bottomless source of information and motivation.
And while it’s true that most players would not hesitate to run through a wall for St-Louis, the improvements from a statistical standpoint have been few and far between.
The loss against the New Jersey Devils was a good reminder that the Habs are not quite ready to compete. The Canadiens allowed more high-danger chances than they produced (7-11, 38.9%) for only the second time this season.
In fact, as it stands, the Canadiens have generated 55 high-danger chances in just five games, while allowing their opponents to take shots from quality scoring areas 41 times.
A nice controlled entry by Guhle gives Tanner Pearson all the time he needs to snipe a goal.
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) October 15, 2023
That means the Canadiens have controlled over 57 percent of the high-danger chances this season, which is good for third overall in the NHL. Only the Los Angeles Kings (66.7%) and the Calgary Flames (59.9 %) have done a better job in that respect.
Why is it important to control high-danger chances?
Generally speaking, teams that hold an advantage in shots (Corsi) have great odds of making the playoffs. Teams that hold a significant advantage in HD chances are almost guaranteed to punch their ticket to participate in springtime hockey. Last season, nine of the top 10 teams in HDCF sailed into the playoffs. The only team that failed to do so while being in the top 10 was the Pittsburgh Penguins, who barely missed qualifying.
Another classic Gallagher goal.
He ends up with Sabres on top of him, but the puck is in the back of the net.
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) October 24, 2023
It’s also important for the Canadiens because since St-Louis has taken over, their share of high-quality chances has tanked. For example, last year the Habs only managed to control a little over 42 percent of the good chances.
To be competitive, the team desperately needed to flip the script on their control of high-danger chances. This is a significant positive development in terms of St-Louis’ impact on the team.
It’s very early in the season, and the numbers will change in the future, but for now, the Canadiens are enjoying an improvement in one of the most important statistical categories in hockey.
All Montreal Canadiens statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted. Via NaturalStatTrick.