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Montreal Canadiens forward Daniel Briere.
At this point it seems increasingly unlikely that the Habs will end up averaging over three goals per game like they did in 2012-13 (49 in 19 games; 2.58 goals per game). However, for the sake of attainability, let’s just say their goal should be to average three per game from this point forward.
The Habs started the season well enough in that category with 33 goals in their first 10 games. Since that point, though, the offense has dried up, scoring just 16 times in nine games (1.78 goals per game).
The Habs are 3-4-2 in those games, proving the theory that the team is most successful when it's scoring—OK, maybe not the most out-on-a-limb theory out there...
Obviously, scoring three goals per game can only be considered a success if you’re allowing less. As such, it’s not the goals alone that would make 2013-14 a success. It’s what they would represent—namely, a return of the explosive offense that was the Habs’ trademark last season (3.04 goals per game).
Scoring three goals per game would more specifically mean the return of three dangerous lines and, more specifically than that, the reemergence of talents like Max Pacioretty (four points in 10 games), David Desharnais (one point this season) and Daniel Briere (four points in nine games).
Those three were intended to form Montreal’s top scoring line entering the season, but injuries and a lack of chemistry tore them apart.
Briere just came back from a concussion. Desharnais was made a healthy scratch for the second time in four games against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Pacioretty, meanwhile, is struggling to find his legs and game following a lower-body injury sustained earlier in the year.
Needless to say, bigger things were expected from each of these guys, especially Pacioretty (he is the only actual “big” player among the three). However, Briere has been a free-agent bust. And Desharnais is looking more and more like a career AHLer who just happened to strike oil two years ago by being placed on a line with Pacioretty and Erik Cole and then gold by re-signing at the start of last season when his value was the highest.
If the Habs can get these three going, the rest of the offense should follow. If only to put to bed all doubts that the Briere and Desharnais signings were mistakes, the team scoring three goals per game would make this season a successful one, at least in the eyes of management and ownership.