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Soft-hands Moen

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MONTREAL -- Life is full of surprises. Travis Moen has been proving that to Canadiens fans since the puck dropped to start the season.

Known best for delivering crushing bodychecks and working magic on the penalty kill, Moen seems to be working overtime in 2011-12 to add “goal scorer” to his list of on-ice characteristics.

The imposing 6-foot-2, 215-pound forward has already managed to find the back of the net eight times in the current campaign, putting himself only three goals back of the career-high 11 he scored in 2006-07. At the time, Moen was skating as a member of the Ducks and would be rewarded for his efforts with a Stanley Cup ring by the end of the season.

Moen’s current haul is good enough for second-highest on the team, only two goals behind Max Pacioretty, who has lit the lamp 10 times so far this year. The key to Moen’s success is simple: while he may not always shoot on net, when he does, he prefers to score. The veteran winger is perched at first in the NHL with a sparkling 25.8% efficiency rating when he lets the rubber fly.

Those numbers would probably be enough to make most forwards happy with their performance, yet Moen’s game doesn’t stop there. While the Habs’ recent success on the penalty kill obviously can’t be completely attributed to Moen, he’s certainly proving to be an integral part of the equation. Logging an average of 2:22 of shorthanded ice time per game, Moen ranks second among all Habs forwards in shorthanded responsibility, just behind Tomas Plekanec. Used together, Plekanec and Moen are a force to be reckoned with, both representing the team’s two most used forwards on the PK. After Wednesday night’s game, Moen has now recorded a total of 11.2% of his total ice time in 2011-12 playing with Plekanec on the penalty kill.

If he can keep it up, the Stewart Valley native is on pace to finish his season with 24 goals, 30 points, and a plus-15 differential. Ambitious? Perhaps. But one way or another, count on Moen to bring the same effort night in, night out – whatever the results may be.

Vincent Cauchy is a writer for Translated by Justin Fragapane.

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