With Or Without You: Canadiens Thrive Sans Sheldon Souray

Francois GendronSenior Writer INovember 10, 2007

Icon Sports MediaHeading into the new NHL season, many critics thought the Montreal power play would suffer after losing pointman Sheldon Souray to the Edmonton Oilers over the summer.

To their dismay, nothing has changed.

With or without Souray, the Habs seem to be doing just fine. After 15 games, the Canadiens are ranked No. 1 in the league with the man advantage, posting a 29.7 percent power play efficiency.

There's no secret to the Canadiens early-season success. The power play is firing on all cylinders, and has been instrumental in the Habs' hot start.

Last season, head coach Guy Carbonneau looked to feed Souray the puck on the power play whenever possible. This season, blueliners like Andrei Markov, Mark Streit, and Roman Hamrlik have all played bigger roles—and have combined with veteran forwards Alexei Kovalev, Saku Koivu, Chris Higgins, and Tomas Plekanec to form a lethal attack.

All told, the Canadiens' puck movement and hockey sense are second to none. It will be interesting to see how well Carbonneau will be able to utilize the arsenal of talent in his second year on the job.

As for Habs' opponents—they'll need to be wary of taking unnecessary penalties. Staying out of the box will be essential if teams are to come away victorious against Montreal.