MONTREAL – When it comes to hockey, few things are more important than timing. Luckily for the Habs, newcomer Erik Cole
is a master of picking his moments.
One of the many things the nine-year veteran put on display during his 2010-11 season in Carolina was the understanding that, sometimes, the importance of how many goals you score can be trumped by when it is that those goals find the back of the net.
Last season, Cole’s former team, the Hurricanes, finished their campaign with a record of 40 wins. Of those 40 wins, Cole was responsible for scoring the game-winning goal in nine of them. Considering he lit the lamp 26 times in his most recent campaign, 34,6% of the goals that Cole recorded propelled his team to victory.
The veteran power-forward would wrap up the 2010-11 season tied for fourth place in the NHL in the category of game-winning goals, topped only by the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Corey Perry and Daniel Sedin.
Still not convinced of Cole’s pedigree as an elite clutch player? Here’s another stat that might help change your mind about Pierre Gauthier’s biggest offseason acquisition. With 12 goals, or 46,2% of his total goal production from last season coming in the third period, Cole looks to be the perfect addition to a Habs team that had its fair share of trouble putting up points in the final 20 minutes of action last year. Jacques Martin’s squad ended the season having only netted 56 goals in the third period, compared to the 66 they scored in the first period, and 86 in the second. The team ultimately ranked last in the league in third period goals.
Kicking off the 2011-12 season in a new city with a new team, Cole stands to hit two career milestones in his upcoming campaign. He currently sits 10 points away from his 400th career point, while also being only 16 goals shy of cracking the 200 mark.Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Justin Fragapane.SEE ALSOThe Last Word: Pedro Martinez Happy Birthday Jean! Beliveau arrives in MontrealInstallation of the Bell Centre ice The Great Dane