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- Rene Bourque is off to his longest goal drought to start a season since 2007-08. However, he has a while to go to beat his slump that year where he needed 12 games to record his first goal.
The perennial two-way playing Tomas Plekanec had a reasonable shortened season stat-wise, on par with years past, but his real effectiveness continued to resonate from his ability to play in all situations. He brought what we have come to expect from him to the table as he continued strong play across the board on special teams and solid responsibility defensively while adding to the attack.
Plekanec put up 33 points during the season, 14 of which were goals. That goal scoring total put him one goal back of Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher for the team lead as he shared third place with captain Brian Gionta. His point total left him resting in third place, behind Pacioretty and P.K. Subban. He also led all forwards for average time on ice. While his pro-rated totals bring him to 24 goals and 56 points in 80 games, well within his performance of the two previous seasons, his impact is most felt on special teams. While he was part of a successful Canadiens powerplay, ranking fifth in the league, Montreal’s 23rd ranked penalty kill was disappointing. Not that it’s only Plekanec’s fault, but the Canadiens were one of two teams (Tampa Bay Lightning) to not record a shorthanded goal last season. All-in-all, it was a typical season for Plekanec, quietly contributing effectively.
Season Stats: GP 47, G 14, A 19, PTS 33, +/- +3, PIM 24, PPG 4, SHG 0, GWG 2, SOG 133, ATOI 19:12
5 Year Averages
(Because of the lockout-shortened season, we are pro-rating all of 2012-13's numbers over a typical 82-game year.)
I mean, what more is there to say about old reliable? He continues to churn out consistent results year-in, year-out. Strike that abysmal 39 point campaign in the 2008-2009 season, and he’s been hitting his ranges consistently enough. He’ll continue to be a part of all special teams; he’ll continue to quietly do what he’s done for years now. He’s remained healthy throughout his career, missing nine games in the last five years, so expect him to be a staple in Michel Therrien’s plans in the upcoming season. Hopefully he can turn one of those shorthanded breakaways into a few goals next season.
I think it would be safe to say that Plekanec may be past his breakout potential points-wise, although surprises are always welcome. His 69 and 70 point seasons appear to be the peak of his offensive capabilities with this Canadiens club, and that’s fine as point production isn’t his only redeeming quality. Regardless of whoever he ends up centering next season, he should continue to put up strong numbers, in the same ballpark as his five-year averages. The only thing that might be worrisome is his usage. He’ll be turning 31 in October, and while 31 isn’t terribly old, his legs might tire a little more than they did in years past. Only he and the staff will know his capabilities, and I’m not saying this is a certainty, just something to think about as maybe he’s not the tireless 20 something year-old he once was. Age be damned, expect more of the same.
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