Eric Bolte / USA Today Sports
The biggest question facing the Montreal Canadiens ahead of the season was whether they can score. So far, the answer has been no. The Habs have scraped together a measly four goals in four games.
However, despite the ice-cold start for a team that usually comes out of the gate firing on all cylinders, the Canadiens aren’t on a downward spiral, they’ve just been extremely unlucky.
The Canadiens have attempted 206 shots at five-on-five this season. The next most? Edmonton, with 175. It’s not a matter of games played, either, as there are four other teams that have played at least four games. Of those 206 shot attempts, they’ve put 112 on net, which is also the most in the league at five-on-five, according to Corsica.
Though how many shots a team takes is important, it certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. The Los Angeles Kings had the best Corsi For percentage (Corsi = shot attempt) in the NHL last season, but their inability to get shots from in tight made them one of the league’s worst offenses.
Unlike the Kings, the Canadiens have been getting many shots right around the net, as seen below:
(Courtesy: Icy Data)
The Habs also rank in the top 10 in both Scoring Chances For per 60 minutes and High-Danger Scoring Chances For per 60 minutes, per Natural Stat Trick.
Montreal’s offensive woes aren’t helped by the fact that some of its best offensive players have been snakebitten:
Though many attribute the team’s offensive struggles to a dearth of puck-movers on the back end, it has yet to be a factor in their ability to generate scoring chances. It simply comes down to the fact that their players – most notably the ones relied upon to score – haven’t capitalized.
As the saying goes, the 2017-18 Habs have been all Swedish and no finish through the season’s first four games.