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Montreal Canadiens: Heat on Ice

Posted by Webster Washington on 11/10/2015 8:19:16 AM

When the Montreal Canadiens went on the road and won four straight to open the season, no one said much. After all, hockey is a streaky game. Even the best teams can go into a tailspin at any time. But since then, the Canadiens have brought the Rangers, Detroit and St. Louis into their house and knocked them off, one by one, allowing only one goal in the three games. Now some ears are perked.

With seven straight triumphs to open the season, the Canadiens have exceeded their franchise record of five straight to start a season. Hard to believe, with a storied franchise like Montreal’s. Now they’re setting their sights on an NHL record 10 straight wins to start a year, held by the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs and 2006-07 Sabres.

More Than Goalie

What’s going on here? A lot, and it’s not all from star goalkeeper Carey Price. While the goalie did post a shutout in the Habs’ 3-0 win over St. Louis on Tuesday, and carries a .957 save percentage in five games, the Canadiens are getting contributions from all over. Winger Max Pacioretty is doing much of the damage with 6 points. Center Tomas Plekanec has five goals, and five players each have four assists.

Offseason signee Alex Semin has entered the fray, picking up his first Montreal goal on Tuesday, and they have one of the best defensemen in the league in P.K. Subban.

Perhaps as eye-opening is the praise the Canadiens receive from people who know hockey. St. Louis Blues coach Ken Hitchcock would be one of those who got see them firsthand.

"This is the best checking team we've played against," said Hitchcock. "They use their fourth line to check our top players. … This is a well-coached, disciplined, play-the-game-the-right-way team. They're going to be a bear all year for everyone."

Futures Move

The Islanders, Dallas and Nashville are off to good starts this year, so it’s not like the Canadiens are leaving the rest of the league behind. But Montreal has moved from 14-1 down to 10-1 to win the Stanley Cup and are now down to 5-1 to win the Eastern Conference. As the old peanut vendor would say, it might be good to “get ‘em while they’re hot!”

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