Carey Price covers the puck.
After stumbling to an ugly 79.8-percent penalty-kill rate in 2012-13, Michel Therrien surely went back to the drawing board in the offseason. The changes he made are definitely working so far this season.
The Canadiens' much-improved penalty kill is a big reason for their moderate success in 2013-14.
Through 18 games, the Canadiens are killing off opponents' power plays at an 85.1-percent efficiency, good for 10th overall in the league. They had even reached the fifth-best mark in the NHL as recently as November 6, before allowing two power-play goals to the New York Islanders.
The Canadiens are even scoring while short-handed—their three goals while at a man disadvantage are three more than they had all of last season.
Personnel choices and shot blocking seem to be the biggest reason for Montreal's penalty-killing success so far this year.
Therrien has decided to allow his more skilled forwards to help while short-handed this season, which is a stark contrast from last year.
Both Max Pacioretty and Brian Gionta have seen their short-handed time-on-ice increase this season, replacing some not-so-skilled players like Jeff Halpern and Colby Armstrong.
This has added speed and puck control to Montreal's penalty kill. The Canadiens' forwards are able to put more pressure on opponents as they try to break out. They're also much better at holding the puck when they get possession, which helps them take precious seconds off the clock.
Shot blocking has also helped Montreal take a giant leap in their penalty kill. The Habs lead the league in total shots blocked this season, a stat so impressive that it needs its own slide.