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Montreal is running a defense full of old warhorses in the last year of their contracts.
Jaroslav Spacek has been a one man turnover machine so far this year. He seemed to tighten up last night vs. Ottawa, but generally he's been a disaster.
Hal Gill is still the same plodder that leaves forwards running unchecked through the Hab's defensive zone. He's still blocking shots and taking names, but he's too slow to get the minutes he does. His penalty kill has been great.
Josh Gorges has looked good so far this year, but he's leading the team in ice time. All these defenseman would look better in a lineup that had a real No. 1 and No. 2 defenseman in it.
PK Subban has, like Price, had a lot put on him early. Price is a crusty old veteran at 23 while Subban is just 21 years old and has been handed the keys to the power play. There is no one else in the lineup who can do it better, but that may be damning the young man with faint praise. He's looked great at the blueline and on the point.
Hamrlik's minutes have been cut back, and he seems more comfortable with less.
Alexandre Picard is being used as the sixth defenseman, as Martin and the team seem to have given up on the slightly older O'Byrne.
This group, combined with a set of forwards that seems dedicated to backchecking, has the shot count down from last year's horrible 32.1 shots-against per game to the current, eighth-best in the league 27.3 shots per game. It's hard to believe this ragtag group will be able to maintain this. They have certainly helped out Price with this start.
Hopefully Markov returns in time to help maintain this level of coverage and to add a little offense on the back end.