Crossing The NHL's Atlantic Division: Week 16

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Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens

By Andy Bayer

Those who ascribe to hockey analytics (fancy stats, if you wish) say that if you want to tell how good a team really is you have to look past the results and look at the process of how a team obtains those results. The analytics-minded (and many Maple Leaf fans) know that a team can win a bunch of games without any indication that they are a good team. The Habs have been doing just that recently.

The Habs have been decent according to results for the past couple of months, leaving them sitting comfortably in the top three in the Atlantic Division. They even outplayed and beat the Stanley Cup champions on Hockey Night in Canada last Saturday. But in areas that are important for predicting how good they will be in the long run they have been slipping badly. Their possession numbers are evidence of this.

Montreal observers keep beating the drum that Montreal really needs more scoring. They have been woeful at putting the puck in the net, and with Max Pacioretty as their only proven game-breaker, they may have to look at making a move before the trade deadline. Jaromir Jagr has shown interest in joining the Habs before, and there are rumours that Daniel Briere, a recent healthy scratch, might welcome a deal to New Jersey. Habs fans should hope that Marc Bergevin is focusing on the data and not the results.

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Tags: Brian Lashoff Daniel Briere NHL Atlantic Division Toronto Maple Leafs Tuukka Rask

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