By Mike Olson
Canada’s most successful team is off to a fast start in the beginning of this NHL season. The Montréal Canadians have 24 Stanley Cup banners hanging from the rafters at the Bell Centre and are looking to make it 25. The team has made the playoffs three years in a row, but hasn’t managed to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. The biggest disappointment came in 2014 when Carey Price got injured in the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers and missed the rest of the playoffs ultimately ending their season. If Price doesn’t get hurt in that series I believe they would have went on to win the cup. Taking nothing away from the Rangers because they were a very good team.
Yet this year marks unprecedented early success for the storied hockey team. For the first time in their glorified franchise history, the team won 12 out of its first 15 games, posting a record of 12-2-1, with 25 points. A very impressive stat considering they have been in the league for 98 years. The hot start sees them sitting in first place in the NHL with the second closest team being the Dallas Stars at 20 points. And the team is averaging 3.67 goals while giving up only 1.80 goals per game, two categories that they’re leading the league in.
The Canadiens are getting production from up and down their roster. Tomas Plekanec (14 points), PK Subban (13 points), and Max Pacioretty (13 points) are all leading the way offensively while the goalie tandem of Carey Price and Mike Condon have posted a 12-2-1 record and a combined 1.75 goals against. Condon has done a great job filling in for the injured Price who has been out since November 1st. The undrafted rookie has made the absence of Price manageable and must make life easier on Head Coach Michel Therrien.
So even though it’s only a month into the season and there are still 67 more games to be played, the Habs are making their case to be the best team in the Eastern Conference. If they can still get contributions from all over their roster and have Price healthy and playing at a high level, it will be difficult for any team in the league to compete. However, the team still has a lot to prove to their fans and the league. The last time they were in the Stanley Cup Finals was in 1993 when they deceased the Los Angeles Kings. Since then not only has Montréal not won a championship, but Lord Stanley’s Cup hasn’t graced any Canadian team.