Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Schneider Effect: The Canadiens' Power Play On Fire

Since being acquired by GM Bob Gainey from the Atlanta Thrashers last Monday, Mathieu Schneider has played three games for the Canadiens. The veteran defenseman already has two goals and one assist, all on the power play, and despite being -4 during that span, Schneider has played very well for the Habs, logging about 23 minutes of play per game.

With Francis Bouillon's long term groin injury, Schneider's acquisition is even more important for the Canadiens to get some stability on their top two defenseman pairings. Schneider has played with Andrei Markov, while Mike Komisarek has played with Roman Hamrlik.

Guy Carbonneau doesn't have to over-utilize Patrice Brisebois or Josh Gorges, with Schneider around.

However, the main beneficiary of Schneider's presence has been their power play. In 12 attempts over the past three games, the Canadiens have scored seven goals; that's a 58,33% rate!!

The Canadiens are now ranked 17th in the NHL after this recent boost. They hovered around the 25th rank for most of the season.

With a motivated Kovalev, an explosive power play and Alex Tanguay's imminent return, GM Bob Gainey will be in good position at the deadline to make the right move to consolidate the Canadiens' position as a playoffs team.

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