Record champions of the NHL, the Montreal Canadiens headed into the 2020-21 season looking to build on last season where they reached the First Round of the playoffs, losing to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Dominant between the 1940s-70s, the Canadiens haven’t got their hands on the Stanley Cup since 1993, which was actually the last time any of the seven franchises from Canada won the big prize.
With the unique season we’re having and the temporary realignment of the divisions, four Canadian teams are guaranteed to be involved in this season’s playoffs. That’s because all seven teams have been put in the North Division, one of four divisions, with the top four from each progressing to the knockout stage.
Montreal currently sit fourth and with a handful of games in hand on each of the three rivals below them, they could pull away from the chasing pack over the coming days and weeks.
Early Season Blues
However, they find themselves slipping down the rankings having not won back-to-back games since game 10, in which they had started the season with a 7-1-2 record. Now standing at 11-6-7 and with Claude Julien dismissed, a playoff spot is anything but secure. Incredibly, they are 0-7 in games that have gone to overtime this season.
Sportsbooks currently have Montreal as the third favourites among the Canadian teams to win this season’s Stanley Cup. Though their odds of 25/1 suggest you’d be safer placing your bet on a hand of Blackjack or even the Roulette table. To learn more about the Canadian online casino scene – check Casinofy casinos list of best online casinos Canada.
Best Yet to Come
The Canadians have one of the best goaltenders in the league on his day, but defensively hey have not been at their best this season.
Carey Price has not been at fault for many of the 68 goals conceded this season, notably making 29 saves in their recent 1-2 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Yes, the 33-year-old is without a shutout this season but the defense in front of the 2015 William M. Jennings Trophy winner has been well below par to date.
One of those in front of him is two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Shea Weber. The 35-year-old defenseman looks far past his best to the point that many fans are questioning whether he should be moved down the roster.
Phillip Danault has never been a regular scorer but 0 goals in 24 games this season is very surprising from the 28-year-old. Instead, Tyler Toffoli leads the team with 15 goals as he looks like he’s getting back to his prime LA Kings days of 5-6 years ago.
Montreal can’t eliminate themselves from the playoffs as early as March but it remains an important month to turn things around. Firstly, they need to appoint a permanent replacement for Julien, who was only dismissed two weeks ago.
Defeat to Vancouver on Monday was the first of six successive away games, with four of those against sides currently below them in the North Division.
Will the Montreal Canadiens make the 2021 playoffs? We do believe they will improve this season and secure a top four finish in their division.