Road Warriors

Sometimes, some things just cannot be explained. You try to figure it out, using logic, science and every information available, and it just doesn’t make sense. How do you explain ‘Deja Vu’, this distinct, puzzling, and mysterious feeling of having experienced a specific set of circumstances before? Unexplained phenomena are all around us with topics that include spontaneous human combustion, crop circles, the Bermuda Triangle and how the Tampa Bay Lightning lost in four games in the first round of the 2018-2019 playoffs.

Such is the case with the Montreal Canadiens’ home and away record this season. While most teams are more dominant at home, when the coach has the last changes, the Canadiens are much, much better on the road and it’s not farfetched to think that if they had a decent home record, they would be in a playoffs’ race and that, in spite of several factors playing against them this season. Let’s have a look at some numbers.

NHL RANKHOMEAWAYNHL RANK
11-14-4RECORD12-7-7
30.448WINNING %.5967
252.76GF/GP3.385
113.14GA/GP3.0020
2814.5PP%27.02
235.9SHOTS/GP33.43
627.92HITS/6025.393
2714.32GvA/607.536

For one thing, no need to be a scientist to see that at home, they allow more goals than they score, and it’s the opposite on the road. But how to justify the huge gap on the powerplay from home to on the road? It’s still a man advantage, the opposition is still a man short, the strategies should be the same. And how do you give the puck away almost twice as much at home than you do on the road? Is it simply that those red jerseys are more intimidating for the opposition than the white ones? Those who want him fired will probably point the finger at Claude Julien, who doesn’t have the last change on the road but does at home, thinking that perhaps he doesn’t go with the right matchups?

Perhaps another factor could be none other than Carey Price.

HOMEAWAY
10-12-2RECORD12-6-2
2.85GAA2.63
.901Sv%.921
Stéphane Waite and Carey Price

The record has a lot to do with team play, goals’ support so let’s not pay too, too much attention to that. The goals against average is somewhat comparable. Where things are drastically different for Price is that his saves percentage at home is way lesser than on the road. This is very puzzling when to think about it. It’s not like he’s a nervous goaltender who can’t take the pressure.

Next season, if the Canadiens hope to make the playoffs, they will need to figure out how to play for at least .550 at home if they can keep their pace on the road and it seems like the goals for at home, as well as the powerplay, are two major factors to improve upon. And Price must stop more pucks directed at him. The truth is that it’s not one factor more than another, but rather a combination of things needing to be resolved. Otherwise, the Canadiens’ home struggles might make an episode of Unsolved MysteriesGo Habs Go!

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