The Montreal Canadiens Are Some Way Some How Hanging In

by Glenn Kaplan
by Glenn Kaplan

The Montreal Canadiens could be one of the biggest surprises in the NHL this season. They were one of the worst teams in the NHL last season. I thought Montreal had one of the worst rosters in the NHL heading into this season and I thought they were going to be one of the worst teams again this season.

Instead, the Canadiens keep finding ways to win hockey games. Montreal currently sits in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with a 24-17-5 record with 53 points. If the season ended today, they would be the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference and they would face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first-round.

The Montreal Canadiens have only scored 138 goals this season and they have given up 139 goals. Goaltender Carey Price was selected to be in the All-Star Game, but he will not participate because of rest. His record so far this season is 17-13-4 with a .910 save percentage and a 2.67 GAA, along with three shutouts.

Antti Niemi is the Canadiens backup goalie. His record is 7-4-1 with a .886 save percentage and a 3.84 GAA.

Montreal doesn't have a lot of offensive firepower. They will need to make another trade before the trade deadline to upgrade the offense. Max Domi leads the team with 39 points (14 goals and 25 assists). His plus/minus is 2. Jonathan Drouin has scored 13 goals and 21 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is -3. Tomas Tatar has scored 14 goals and recorded 19 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 10.

Brendan Gallagher leads the team in goals scored with 17. Jeff Petry has been the Montreal Canadiens best defenseman so far this season. He has scored nine goals and recorded 22 assists. His plus/minus is -10. Shea Weber has missed some games on the back end this season due to injury. In 22 games so far this season, he has scored six goals and recorded six assists. His plus/minus is 8.

This team has won in many different ways this season. They will have another tough test on the road on Monday night against the Boston Bruins. Montreal will have five games remaining before the All-Star Break.

The Canadiens will be challenged right out of the All-Star Break. The first seven to 10 games after the break will tell whether they will make it to the playoffs or not. Montreal is only one point up on the Buffalo Sabres for the second wild card spot in the east and they are up four points on the Carolina Hurricanes for the second wild card spot in the east. If the Montreal Canadiens make the playoffs, Head Coach Claude Julien should be nominated as one of the finalists to win the Jack Adams Award.