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TimeApr 18, 2017

Canadiens v Rangers - Contribution Leaders after four games

Photo: David Hahn/Icon Sportswire

Canadiens v Rangers – Contribution Leaders after four games

Forwards - Rangers

1. Matt Zuccarello leads all Ranger forwards in overall, offensive and defensive play-by-play contributions. His overall four game average is 1.2% higher than his regular season average, with a slight drop in offense offset by a slightly greater increase in defense.

2. Rick Nash also occupied the second spot during the regular season, but his playoff average is 23% lower. His defensive contributions are up but his offense is 31.5% lower. His game four offense was well above his season average so he may be gaining some momentum.

3. Kevin Hayes is in the third spot at 8.6% below his regular season totals. His offense is up 28.8% but his defense is down considerably and ranks near the bottom of Ranger forwards.

Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, and Michael Grabner were all in the top 8 Ranger forwards during the regular season, but after four playoff games they are in the bottom four contribution spots. Kreider’s defensive play is well below his season average and the Ranger forwards as a group are down 45% in defensive play-by-play contributions.

Forwards - Montreal

1. Alex Radulov is the clear leader at 42.5% above the second place Canadien forward. He is 1.4% above his regular season average and his offensive and defensive contributions are almost identical to the regular season.

2. Brendan Gallager is 10.5% above his regular season average and has increased his defensive contribution by several times his regular season average.

3. Max Pacioretty is 21.4% below his regular season contribution, but his defensive play is up 52%.

Alex Galchenyuk is the furthest below his regular season average at 33.7%, but the Montreal forwards are performing remarkably consistent with their regular season averages, with a marginal increase in defense.

Defensemen - Rangers

1. Ryan McDonagh is the clear contribution leader at 47% ahead of the second spot, and 6.2% above his season average. His offense is down slightly but the difference is more than made up for by an increase in defense.

2. Marc Staal is a ways back in second but is performing 78.6% above his season average, with equal improvement on offense and defense.

3. Brady Skjei has been a pleasant surprise, performing 24% above his regular season average and increasing his defensive contributions by several times is regular season average.

Defensemen – Canadiens

1. Shea Weber has been a model of consistency as the top one or two Montreal defensemen in all four games. His overall contribution leads all defensemen in the series, and is a 44% increase over his regular season average, with the majority being an increase in defense.

2. Andrei Markov is the ageless wonder with an increase of 55.8% in playoff contribution from the regular season. Like Weber, much of his increase has been in defensive play-by-play contributions.

3. Jeff Petry has a small lead over Jordie Benn in the third spot. He has a small decrease of 7.5% in overall playoff contribution, compared to his regular season average. His offense has decreased but his defense has jumped significantly.

Summary

Based on individual contributions over the first four playoff games, compared to regular season averages, the Montreal defensemen appear to be winning the battle against the Ranger forwards, with the exception of game four.

On the path to this out performance, Montreal has relied on their top four defensemen much more than the Rangers have, and despite playing less, the Canadiens fifth and sixth defensemen have outperformed the Rangers fifth and sixth.

Now with the series heading into a best of three, the biggest question may be whether the Ranger forwards can play to their potential, or can Montreal continue with its suffocating defense and generate just enough offense to win the series?

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