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Previewing the East: Montreal

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – Ready for some hockey?

Sure you are.

The Red Wings don’t open training camp until Sept. 19 in Traverse City, but over the next eight weeks's Bill Roose will preview the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Red Wings’ Atlantic Division rivals in Boston, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida and Buffalo. This week it's the Montreal Canadiens:

Coach: Michel Therrien

Last Year: 46-28-8, 100 points (fourth in Eastern Conference)
Detroit vs. Canadiens:
5-on-5 Goals:
136 (14th in Eastern Conference)
Power Play Efficiency:
48-for-279, 172 percent (13th in Eastern Conference)

2013-14 Stats Vs. Red Wings
Player POS AGE rank GM G A PT. GM G A PT.
Max Pacioretty LW 25 44 73 39 21 60 4 2 0 2
P.K. Subban D 25 75 82 10 43 53 4 0 3 3
David Desharnais C 27 79 79 16 36 52 4 1 2 3
Tomas Plekanec C 31 127 81 20 23 43 4 2 1 3
Andrei Markov D 35 134 81 7 36 43 4 0 2 2
2013-14 Stats
Goalie AGE Rank GM W L OTL GAA SV%
Carey Price 27 6 59 34 20 5 2.32 .927
vs. Red Wings
3 2 1 0 3.67 .882

2014-15 OUTLOOK

Regular-Season Games vs. Red Wings: Oct. 21 (at MON); Nov. 16 (at DET); Feb. 16 (at DET); Apr. 9 (at MON).

ARRIVALS:  Forward P.J. Parenteau, Manny Malhotra; defenseman Tom Gilbert; and goalie Joey MacDonald.

DEPARTURES:  Forwards Thomas Vanek, Daniel Briere, Brian Gionta, Ryan White, George Parros, Louis Leblanc, Nick Tarnasky, Mike Blunden; and defensemen Josh Gorges, Francis Bouillon and Douglas Murray.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Winger Brendan Gallagher enjoyed quite the sophomore season with the Canadiens. The 22-year-old Edmonton native made the most of his time on the top line with Max Pacioretty and center Tomas Plekanec, scoring goals in bunches with 12 multi-points games in the regular season and playoffs. In just two seasons, Gallagher has produced 69 points in 125 games, while missing just two games. A solid two-way player, the pint-sized Gallagher (5-foot-9, 180-pounds) also led the team with 41 takeaways. But it was his performance in the Habs’ recent postseason run that he shined most, collecting four goals and 11 points in 17 games.

SEASON SCOPE: It was important for the Canadiens to fill the roster with complimentary pieces to fit with valuable stalwarts like Pacioretty, P.K. Subban, Alex Galchenyuk and goalie Carey Price, who is coming off an outstanding career year. The obvious first order of business for GM Marc Bergevin was to get Subban locked up to a long-term deal. The Habs also made the decision to re-sign Andrei Markov. The 35-year-old veteran is a solid puck-possession defenseman who has definite value on the power play. Montreal will need both to step it up if the team is to do a better job at retrieving and possessing the puck, which was a huge problem for the Canadiens last season. 

The Habs are coming off their second 100-point season since 1993, as well as their second trip to the Eastern Conference finals in five years. Acquiring P.A. Parenteau in a trade with Colorado for older Daniel Briere was a slam-dunk move for the Habs, who get an upgrade with the 31-year-old winger, who registered 33 points in 55 games for the Avs last season.

Atlantic Division Metropolitan Division
Buffalo (July 24) Carolina (Aug. 7)
Boston (sep. 11) Columbus (Aug. 21)
Florida (July 29) New Jersey (Aug. 14)
Montreal (Sep. 2) NY Islanders (July 31)
Ottawa (Aug. 12) NY Rangers (Aug. 28)
Tampa Bay (Sep. 4) Philadelphia (Aug. 26)
Toronto (Aug. 5) Pittsburgh (sep. 9)
Washington (Aug. 19)

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