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Revamped Canadiens face stern road test early

Saturday, 09.19.2009 / 3:00 AM / 2009-2010 Season Preview

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

MONTREAL CANADIENS
2008-09 SEASON STATS

Category Rank (Conference)
2008-09 Points 93
(8TH eAst/13TH NHL)
Change from 2007-08 -9
Home Points 55
(5th eAst/9th NHL)
Away Points 38
(12tH eAst/21ST NHL)
Advantage Margin
+4
The Canadiens tied Carolina for the most power plays in the NHL with 374, including a League-high 176 on the road, but had to kill off 370, a number exceeded by only five teams.

Even-Strength Goals Margin
-4
The Canadiens did not have a player who scored more than 15 goals at even strength, and their three best plus-minus forwards (Saku Koivu, Alex Tanguay and Robert Lang) all were allowed to leave as free agents.

Special Teams Goal Margin
+6
The Canadiens' power play struggled badly after two seasons of leading the NHL, but got a boost from the late-season acquisition of Mathieu Schneider and finished 12th at 19.3 percent -- still a big drop from 24.1 percent in 2007-08.

Goals by defensemen
39
He doesn't get the media attention that a lot of other players receive, but Andrei Markov is among the NHL's best offensive defensemen. He scored 12 goals last season, and his 64 points were one shy of Alex Kovalev for the team lead.   

Overtime Record
Total: 11-4-7 (OT: 4-4, SO: 7-7)

Of the Canadiens' eight overtime games, five were decided by power-play goals. Montreal split its 14 shootouts despite being outscored by four goals, an unusual disparity.

Times Scored First
38 (Record, 27-6-5)

The Canadiens usually wound up having to play catch-up on the road -- they scored first only 16 times away from the Bell Centre, going 10-4-2 in those games.       

Best 08-09 Number            
13-4-1
Montreal's record against Western Conference teams. The Canadiens were 4-0-1 against the Central Division, 5-3-0 against the Northwest and 4-1-0 against Pacific Division clubs.

Worst 08-09 Number         
14-17-5
Montreal's record after the All-Star break. After hosting the All-Star Game, the Canadiens struggled over the last 36 games and were fortunate to be able to hang onto the final playoff berth -- which earned them the right to be swept by Boston in the first round.

Scheduling
The Canadiens have the toughest start in the NHL -- they open with five games on the road, including a swing through Western Canada. But after that, they come home for seven in a row, their longest homestand of the season. Once again, the Canadiens will be holiday travelers; they play their last seven games of 2009 away from home.
Quote of the Day

My job was to get that puck and put it on net, and his job was not letting me do it. I got the best of that, but that game's over and to be honest I already forgot about it.

— Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk on his late game-tying goal in Montreal's 2-1 OT win
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