Habs Playoff Analysis – The Advanced Stats

Photo: Photo by Mike Carlson, Getty Images

Photo: Photo by Mike Carlson, Getty Images

As we all know, the Habs got eliminated in 6 games by the Lightning. After Montreal’s disappointing loss, it’s time to look at the playoffs as a whole. Why couldn’t they score? How did they lose? Which players performed? Who fell short? Time to find out.

Note: All statistics ONLY include teams that made at least the second round (8 teams, as the sample size is too small for first round teams). All statistics are taken from 5v5, even-strength hockey unless indicated otherwise.

Team Statistics:

CF%: 52.6 (2nd)

SCF%: 52.0 (3rd)

PDO: 100.4 (3rd), 97.8 (8th) in all situations.

SH%: 6.0% (8th) –> This included all situations, not just 5v5.

The Habs did deserve better. The Canadiens PDO in all situations was 101.7 (3rd) in the regular season. In the playoffs, Montreal dropped off by 3.9 points, which is extremely significant and unfortunate. Unlike the regular season, the Habs were a strong possession team. Throughout the playoffs, the Canadiens did out-shoot and out-chance their opponents. However, they were also cursed with the worst sh% in the playoffs and of course, their abysmal powerplay.

There are a couple of reasons as to why Montreal’s strong numbers didn’t lead to wins:

1) Sample size. The reason why you constantly hear how anything can happen in the playoffs is because of the tiny sample size. Over the course of these specific 12 games, the Habs strong possession didn’t net them wins but it definitely would have over the course of 82 games. I do believe the Habs would have turned it around had they had more games.

2) Shot quality. This is a big one. Montreal’s poor system coached by Therrien largely relies on using the perimeter of the ice. They chip it off the boards and either dump it in, or carry it into the zone along the boards. What does this mean? Their shots tend to come from bad angles. In the Canadiens game three loss to TB, “MTL had a distribution of 22% HD, 11% MD, and 62% LD shots… NHL average is 29%, 28%, 42%.” – Stephen Burtch (HD = high, MD = medium, LD = low). Not using the middle of the ice makes it tough to score, as we all witnessed during these last few weeks. Despite that, their sh% and PP% were both too bad to be sustainable and change would’ve definitely came had their been more games to play.

Player Statistics – Stats worth noting:

1) Gallagher was the most dominant possession player in the NHL (that has significant minutes) with 58.42CF%. Yup.

2) Per 60 minutes, the Habs averaged 78.91 shot attempts when Gallagher was on the ice. Next highest? Pacioretty at 72.49. Gallagher was simply a possession monster this post-season. Unbelievable player that will only improve.

3) Pacioretty had the second most personal scoring chances in the playoffs with 38. Only player with more was Ovechkin with 42.

4) Lars Eller was the player with the highest percentage of his starts in the defensive zone (toughest job to succeed in – without taking into account quality of competition) in the NHL. Despite that, he was THIRD (!!!) on Montreal in CF% at 51.80. Lars Eller is criminally underrated among Habs fans and this point proves why. Absolutely phenomenal post-season from Eller.

5) More on Eller: 3rd in FO% in the NHL at 57.66% among forwards who played significant minutes. Awesome stuff by the Great Dane.

6) Pateryn had the best CF% of any Habs defenceman at 55.74%. He only played 7 games (small sample size) but that’s extremely impressive, nonetheless.

7) de la Rose (43.26%CF), Smith-Pelly (46.41%CF) and Flynn (49.07%CF) were the Habs only skaters who got outshot while on the ice throughout the playoffs.


So, what do all these stats tell us? The Habs did play well and get unlucky but there is more to it. As tough as it is to acquire, the Canadiens do need a top 6 scoring forward that will produce. The Habs were carried offensively by Pacioretty and Gallagher and will need another source of offence elsewhere. Subban wasn’t nearly as big of a force as he was in the regular season, which can be attributed to him carrying Markov. As tough as the loss was to swallow, there are many things to look forward to for next season. As always, go Habs go.

Time for an exciting offseason.

Contact me via Twitter (@HabsNewsAndTalk) for any comments or questions

Stats taken from war-on-ice.com

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