Coming into this season, not much was expected of the Montreal Canadiens.
In fact, the only thing that was probably expected was that they were going to be bad. They don’t exactly have a lot of offense, no one knew what Carey Price they would be seeing between the pipes, and overall, they just don’t have an appealing roster.
Through the team’s first five games, however, they have been a pleasant surprise. They are 3-1-1 to start the season (As of October 16) and have shown that no matter what, they will compete night in and night out.
One reason for the team’s early success has been a consistent offense. Leading the way for the Habs is Tomas Tatar. After falling out of favor with the Detroit Red Wings and not playing so well when he was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights, it appears that Tatar has found his offensive touch.
Tatar, 27, leads his team in scoring after his club’s first five games. He already has seven points (3 goals and 4 assists), is a +5, and has 18 shots on goal. He is playing with confidence and showing that the Canadiens may be a good fit for him.
Following Tatar in scoring are Paul Byron (5 points), Brendan Gallagher (4 points), Max Domi (4 points), Jonathan Drouin (3 points), Artturi Lehkonen (3 points), and Phillip Denault (3 points). Without someone like Max Pacioretty on the roster, this team looks like they realize that if they want to have success this year, they need to be all hands in on the offense.
Defensively, this team has actually been pretty solid. The team is currently 12th in the league in goals against per game, which is great considering how bad they were last season in that category, this is certainly much better.
When it comes to the team’s goaltending, they are playing well enough to get their team wins. Carey Price is 1-1-1 with a 2.32 goals against average and a .909 save percentage.
Price is trying to bounce back after a very inconsistent year last season and so far, at least, has looked good between the pipes. His numbers may not be gaudy, but right now, the important thing is that he is healthy, he is playing, and when he is between the pipes, he is playing well enough to keep his team in hockey games.
It is still very early on in the season so there is plenty of times for the Canadiens’ season to go off the track. They still do not have the greatest roster and there are still so many questions regarding the holes that they still have.
With that said, what matters is that they are winning hockey games and that they are keeping their fans interested in their team. In Montreal, that is all that matters.
Photo: Toronto Star