The Montreal Canadiens lost a battle of special teams in their home opener Thursday night. Montreal could not overcome a 3-1 first-period deficit, despite out-shooting the Calgary Flames 36-21. The Habs threw an incredible 14 powerplay shots at Mikka Kiprusoff, but were unable to score on any of their 4 powerplay opportunities.
Scott Gomez had the top grade. Gomez continues to direct shots at the front of the net; something he just wasn't doing last season. Mathieu Darche had the second-best grade. The lowest grade belonged to Andreas Engqvist. Number 63 went from having the one of the top grades against Winnipeg to the lowest grade in the home-opener. For his part, Travis Moen went from having the top grade against Winnipeg to the second-lowest grade against the Flames.
Aaron Palushaj was the Habs most active player against the Flames. Number 60 was always around the puck; averaging over 6 events-per-minute played. Engqvist was the least involved player, followed closely by Travis Moen. Tomas Plekanec had the top risk/reward rating. Number 14 was the only player with an overall risk/reward rating above 2.00. The team average was 1.39.
Aaron Palushaj was the Habs most involved player in the offensive-zone. Number 60 produced nearly 3 offensive-events per minute played. Brian Gionta was the second-most active player in the o-zone. Plekanec had the top offensive-zone risk/reward. Number 14 completed 8 of 11 attempted passes, and won 5 separate puck-races. Gionta had the second-best o-zone risk/reward rating. Other players with solid o-zone r/r's include Gomez, Erik Cole and Darche.
Aaron Palushaj had the lowest o-zone risk/reward, and was one of 4 players with risk/reward ratings in the negative. He won only 2 of 5 o-zone puck-battles, and completed only 50% of his attempted o-zone passes. Other players with o-zone ratings in the negative include Moen, Yannick Weber, and incredibly enough, PK Subban. Number 76 was only able to complete 2 of 5 o-zone passes while playing at even-strength.
Raphael Diaz and PK Subban were the most active players in the defensive-zone; with Diaz averaging over 3 defensive-events per minute of ice time. Diaz also managed the top defensive-zone risk/reward rating. Diaz's grade was saved by his passing skills; he completed 22 of 28 attempted d-zone passes, but won only 1 of 7 d-zone puck-battles. Palushaj had the second-best d-zone risk/reward, followed closely by Weber. Number 68 completed 15 of 21 d-zone passes, while winning 5 of 7 puck-battles.
Erik Cole had the lowest d-zone risk/reward rating. Number 72 lost 2 of 7 d-zone puck-battles; including 3 lost puck-battles on a shift that eventually led to a goal against. Other players with negative d-zone risk/reward ratings include Desharnais and Gionta. Gionta had trouble winning d-zone puck-battles, while Desharnais failed to block passing lanes.
Travis Moen had the lowest n-zone risk/reward rating. Followed closely by Gionta and Engqvist. Moen and Gionta had trouble completing n-zone passes, while Engqvist was not able to successfully carry the puck into the offensive-zone.
Weber and Engqvist were the only 2 players with negative short-handed risk/reward ratings. Weber lost d-zone puck-battles, while Engqvist failed to block the passing lane 3 separate times.
Cole was the only player with a negative powerplay risk/reward rating. Number 72 also produced the least amount of events per-minute of powerplay ice-time.
*Special thanks to PricePkPatch from HF boards for the idea to do graphs.