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Montreal Canadiens season update: Plenty of positives as halfway point approaches

With 39 games played out of an 82 game regular season, the Canadiens are closing on the halfway point of their season and the team is in solid shape.

Despite their unremarkable place in the standings, the Canadiens have had an encouraging season thus far. 

Obviously, the bar for "encouraging" is a bit different than some other teams in the league. But for a young, rebuilding team, they are about where they should be in comparison to their future outlook.

Last season, the Canadiens finished 31-45-6 which was good for a .415 winning percentage and 28th in the NHL. This season, being near the halfway point of the year and at .500 in a loaded conference has to be a good thing for fans especially with last season's second-leading points scorer, Kirby Dach, out for the season.

Record17-17-5 (39 points)
Point Percentage:.500 (24th in the NHL)
Standings:6th in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference

Key wins:

  • 12/18/23: 3-2 (OT) vs Winnipeg Jets
  • 1/2/24: 4-3 vs Dallas Stars
  • 1/6/24: 4-3 (SO) vs New York Rangers

Key losses:

  • 12/13/23: 4-3 (SO) vs Pittsburgh Penguins
  • 12/21/23: 4-3 (OT) vs Minnesota Wild
  • 1/4/24: 6-1 vs Buffalo Sabres

Key Statistical Leaders

Goals

  • Nick Suzuki: 12
  • Cole Caufield: 11
  • Sean Monahan: 10

Assists

  • Nick Suzuki: 22
  • Mike Matheson: 21
  • Cole Caufield: 16

Points

  • Nick Suzuki: 34
  • Mike Matheson: 27
  • Cole Caufield: 27
  • Sean Monahan: 23

Plus-Minus

  • Johnathan Kovacevic: +6
  • Jake Evans: +5
  • Michael Pezzetta, Mitchell Stephens: +2

Power Play Goals

  • Nick Suzuki: 6
  • Sean Monahan: 5
  • Cole Caufield: 4
  • Mike Matheson: 4

Time On Ice

  • Mike Matheson: 25:04
  • Nick Suzuki: 21:07
  • David Savard: 21:02

NHL Rankings by Key Statistic (out of 32)

Goals scored per game:27
Goals allowed per game:26
Goals scored 5 on 5:28
Goals allowed 5 on 5:9
Power Play Percentage:22
Penalty Kill Percentage:28
Faceoff Percentage:4
Shots on goal per game:27
Shots allowed per game:29

Read More: NHL Power Rankings

Top Performers:

For the Canadiens, a .500 record is very respectable considering where this team is in its rebuild and the youth up and down the roster. 

Three out of the team's top six scorers are 24 years old or younger. Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield are the closest to a point-per-game average, and 19-year-old Juraj Slafkovsky, the top pick in the 2022 draft, has 14 points so far.

Slafkovsky has slightly underwhelmed this season, but he has improved upon his point tally from last season through the same amount of games. He scored 10 points in 39 games played in 2022/23, and he has 14 through the same number of games this time around.

With more NHL experience, roster additions, and another year of high draft picks, this experience will prove valuable for these youngsters for when they hit their prime and become over-point-per-game players.

Elsewhere, long time veterans Mike Matheson and Sean Monahan are both leading by example as well as claiming two out of the four top scoring spots on the team. 

This is not the deepest, most talented team. But they are a difficult opponent this season, as shown by an OT win over the league's best team, the Winnipeg Jets, and a shootout win against the New York Rangers.

Odds

To Reach the Playoffs+1700
To win Atlantic Division+17500
To win Eastern Conference+5000
To win Stanley Cup+10000

Read More: 2023/24 NHL Stanley Cup odds

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