The Montreal Canadiens have been the hottest team so far in
the NHL with 25 points in their first 15 games and currently lead the
Washington Capitals and New York Rangers by 7 points in the Eastern Conference
(although both of those teams have 3 games in hand).
This might not be a big surprise for most because the
Canadiens did finish amongst the top 4 teams in the Eastern Conference for the
past three seasons and were once again expected to be a top team this season. If
we look a little deeper into the statistics, this start to the season is very
Over the past three seasons, the Canadiens have average 2.76
goals per game and allowed 2.45 goals per game, this year they’re averaging 3.67
and have allowed 1.80.
Despite being the 6th best regular season team over
the past 3 seasons, they averaged only 28.9 shots per game while allowing 29.7
per game but so far this year they’re outshooting their opponent by 1.4 shots
It’s no secret that the leader of this team is Carey Price
and that if this team goes deep into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it will likely be
because of Carey Price. However, the 2015-16 edition of the Montreal Canadiens has
been able to score more goals than they have in quite awhile. They currently
have 10 players with more than 9 points and 4 players on pace to score over 30
goals: Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher and Dale Weise. Of
those, Pacioretty is probably the only one who will end up with 30 goals but if
he gets some help and 5 or 6 other players can score over 20 goals, it will be
a much more dangerous team.
It’s a nice start but it’s hard to judge a team based on its
first 15 games. If we look at the past 5 Stanley Cup Champions after 15 games,
they weren’t all particularly good:
The Montreal Canadiens have looked like the best team in the
NHL so far and there are very promising signs but its 15 games. The Washington
Capitals, New York Rangers, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators
have all looked great as well and there are a handful of teams like the
Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings that you can
never count out.