It took Thomas Vanek three games to score his first goal in a Candiens uniform, it took him only one game to make an impact. From the first moment Vanek adorned the blue, blanc, et rouge he was contributing like a key player. Even though he was snake bit, he accumulated chance after chance, plus was working hard at getting to the net. That was an element the Habs first line was missing.
Vanek had his breakout game tallying a hat-trick against the Colorado Avalanche, from that point on he and the rest of the team went on serious run. Before Vanek was acquired Montreal was a very weak 5 on 5 team, ranking in the bottom of the NHL for goals scored. That changed after the trade, in April February they were in the top 10, March they were tied for 13, to end the season in April they moved up to 12th.
This can all be traced to Vanek. He logged 15 points in 16 games since being acquired from the Islanders at the trade deadline. His linemates Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais found another level in their offensive output. Teams can no longer just focus on taking away one of those players it is finally a complete line. If they focus on Pacioretty, Vanek is open and vice versa. This is something line mate Max Pacioretty focused on when talking to Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette. “Not only does he make the right plays, but he makes it easier on the guys he’s setting up. When he gives you the puck, he makes sure he drives the defender so he’s taking him away from you. He’s an easy player to play with. More often than not it seems teams still focus on Vanek leaving his other linemates open, a key reason as to why his assist totals are adding up in Montreal.
Vanek’s addition makes Montreal a dangerous playoff team. They have depth in the bottom 6 that can play playoff style hockey. Along with that they have scoring talent on the second line which finally makes the Canadiens a four line threat. This something they have not been for a few seasons. Put this together with stellar goaltending Vanek, and the Habs are sure to panic whatever playoff team they face.
Lifetime Habs fan, former Junior hockey player, aspiring journalist.