The biggest WAGON in the NHL right now the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens are one point behind the Maple Leafs for the second spot in the Atlantic division. They are on a three-game winning streak, 8-1-1 in their last ten games and have pushed the Bruins into the Wild Card race now with their latest win on home ice vs the Central division leading Jets. That was a dominating 5-2 Canadiens win. A win that should perhaps make you re-think this Canadiens team right now.
The Canadiens came into the season projected by many reporters to be a middle of the pack, borderline at best wild card team this season. They came out the season shocking many, putting themselves on the radar and the talk early in the season was these Canadiens are not that bad perhaps. Then they fell off everyone’s radar and it seems like no one is talking about them even though they have been extremely consistent all season.
Kevin Allen of USA Today projected the Canadiens to be 28-41-13 with 69 points, the Hockey Writers website projected the Canadiens to finish 7th in the Atlantic division. But after all is said and done and we are now 60 percent of the season played and 55 games in (for Montreal) they are 31-18-6 with 68 points. They have a 17-10-3 home record, 14-8-3 road record and a +11 goal differential. They rank 13th in goals for (167) and 20th in goals against (158), 14th in goals per game (3.04) and 22nd in goals against per game (2.87). Even despite the 30th ranked power play (13.0) and 21st penalty kill (79.0) the Canadiens have been one of the most consistent and surprising teams this season.
A lot of this success rides on a healthy Carey Price, 40 games played a 23-13-4 record a 2.52 goals against, .916 save percentage and 3 shutouts is helping the Canadiens play consistent. Along with Max Domi’s team leading 47 points in 55 games, Jonathan Drouin’s 46 points in 55 games (not to mention a four point night vs Winnipeg Thursday), Philip Danault 40 points, Tomas Tartar 39 points, Jeff Petry 37 points, Brendan Gallagher 35 points, Shea Weber return and 20 points in 31 games. Overall the Canadiens are getting much needed and consistent production from their top two players, support from the surrounding cast like Tartar, Gallagher, Danault, the rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s 27 points (current 4-game goal streak).
The Canadiens are getting the production they need from the right guys. They have finally seen Drouin do what they brought him here to do, Domi’s confidence and obvious liking of the switch to Montreal is paying off. Kotkaniemi playing well his first year is big, Gallagher playing consistent, the addition of Tartar, Danault having a big year. Two defenseman that are playing like top defenseman in the league and a healthy Price is the recipe for the Canadiens success.
If the season were to end right now they would be playing Toronto first round. Not an easy match up but it is not like they cannot upset the Leafs first round. The Canadiens are going to make the playoffs and they will be a very tough first round opponent. Either way first round exit or not the Canadiens are and have exceeded expectations this season and NO ONE is talking about it. Where are the WAGON shirts for the Canadiens @SpittinChiclets ?