Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images
P.K. Subban unleashes a one-timer.
The Montreal Canadiens rank quite well on both the power play and penalty kill after 16 games.
With the man advantage, the Habs are scoring at a rate of 23.7 percent, ranking them fifth in the entire league. Their 14 total power-play goals are just three shy of the league lead.
The coach has done an excellent job in regard to who gets on the ice while up a man.
Therrien tends to go with the hot-hand approach up front, rewarding those playing well on any given night with power-play shifts. He does ensure there are fresh legs on the man advantage, however, and will sometimes roll three units on any given two-minute advantage.
On the back end, it's simple. P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov are probably the most talented offensive D-pairing in the NHL, and their power-play usage backs that up. They both average about four minutes of ice time with the man advantage each night. The next closest defenseman is Raphael Diaz at 1:30.
At the other end of the ice, Montreal's penalty kill is much improved from last season's 23rd-ranked unit.
Through a fifth of the 2013-14 schedule, the Canadiens are successfully killing penalties at an 86.2 percent clip, good for fifth overall in the league.
Goaltending and shot-blocking are key reasons for the improvement, but so is player selection. By including more skilled players on the penalty kill this season, the Habs have been able create more pressure, control the puck and even score a few short-handed goals.
Lars Eller, Michael Bournival and Brendan Gallagher have joined the usual suspects (Tomas Plekanec, Travis Moen, Ryan White, Brian Gionta and Brandon Prust) to create a much-improved penalty kill so far this season. Their speed and puck-control abilities have made life much more difficult for opposing power plays.
The only baffling decision—and the reason Therrien's special team's grade is only an A- right now—is his recent refusal to allow the team's best player any ice time while down a man.
Despite being part of the team's early-season penalty kill, P.K. Subban has not seen a regular shift while at a disadvantage since getting 1:44 of ice time against the San Jose Sharks back on October 26. That was five games ago.
While Subban is obviously more known for his offensive talents, he is hands down Montreal's most talented player and needs to be on the ice in all situations. The reigning Norris Trophy winner has earned the right to kill penalties, and Coach Therrien needs to let him do so.