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Canadiens D-core among the best in the biz

Habs forwards have been able to count on one of the most productive defensive cores in the NHL so far this season

by Pierre-Antoine Mercier, translated by Steven Nechay @CanadiensMTL /

BROSSARD - The Canadiens D-core has played a huge role in the team's recent success.

And opposite to what might be expected, the defensemen are making their biggest mark on the offensive side of the scoresheet.

Habs blueliners have potted seven of the team's last 10 goals, with Shea Weber leading the pack (3), followed by Victor Mete (2) and Ben Chiarot (2).

The unit is tied for first-overall in the NHL with four other teams, totalling 13 goals so far this season on defense.

That's 21.7% of the team's total goals since the start of the campaign, the sixth-highest ratio in the League.

Needless to say, the extra help has been appreciated on both sides of the puck.

"We want our defensemen to support us on offense. If you look at teams like Chicago or Tampa, the defensemen are always in motion and it creates confusion on the ice. It's nice to have D-men who will go get a big goal, like against Boston," described Jonathan Drouin in reference to Chiarot's game winner on Nov. 5.

Video: Jonathan Drouin on his line

Speaking of game winners, Canadiens rearguards collectively rank first overall in the NHL with four.

"The fourth man always comes to help us up front thanks to our transition game. They put the puck on net," explained Phillip Danault following Monday's practice at the Bell Sports Complex. "It's really the entire defensive unit that is contributing in a big way."

The Weber effect

If there is one defenseman in particular who has been enjoying success recently, it's Weber.

The Canadiens captain is currently on a three-game streak with at least a point, including Saturday's two-goal outing in which he scored his 100 and 101st career power play goals.

According to his teammates, Weber's offseason routine has made all the difference.

"Last year, he was coming back from an injury, which is never easy, especially as you get older. This season he arrived in top shape and was ready to play," concluded Danault. "He plays big minutes for us, and has a bomb of a shot."

Video: Phillip Danault on Jonathan Drouin's play

The Canadiens get set to face the Columbus Blue Jackets next, on Tuesday at the Bell Centre.

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