The Montreal Canadiens hit a wall and died after the first few weeks of action a year ago. Carey Price got injured and the results that followed were pretty ugly. Now that we’re past the first month of the regular season, the Canadiens are still flourishing atop the NHL. The Habs head into this Original Six contest against the Red Wings with a record of 15-4-2. Price is leading the way among goaltenders in net, showcasing why he’s the best in the NHL today. He is certainly the difference between why the Canadiens are a 15-4-2 team, and now the team who lost control of their season a year ago. Also, could it be that the Habs are a better team without P.K. Subban? The Habs and Predators swapped their most coveted defenceman, with Subban going to Nashville and Weber to Montreal. Weber has fit in the mix beautifully. He has already scored 8 goals and 9 assists this season, causing Canadien fans to put the Subban era in the past.
P.K. has netted 5 goals and 9 assists, so statically anyway, round 1 goes to Weber. Neither of these guys are going to be able to escape being compared to one another after the trade. The Canadiens have the better record as well, so all the way around the nod has gone the Montreal side thus far. As long as Price can stay healthy, the Canadiens shouldn’t find any issues playing a competitive brand of hockey on the ice. The Habs take on the Red Wings tonight, a team who I see is going to watch their playoff streak which dates back to the 1990’s go goodbye. Everything comes to an end, and barring a major switch around, the Red Wings are in grave danger of missing out on the playoffs. Often times teams like to be playing at their peak level heading into a brand new arena, but I’m afraid the Wings are going to be their worst in more than two decades heading into their new pad at the Little Caesars Arena. They can still win a game here and there, but a .500 record, which I see them as being for the majority of the season won’t be enough. In any event, they’ll look to secure a win in this Original Six rivalry game.
At this juncture, there is no question who the Vezna is going to. There is a long way to go, but if Price stays healthy the award is his. Price has only 1 loss to his name in regulation. With a stellar record of 12-1-1 and 1.71 GAA, the guy has been on fire. The Habs are 4th in the NHL in goals allowed with 2.19. If it weren’t for that embarrassing performance against the Columbus Blue Jackets where they allowed 10 goals, that number would be under 2 goals per game. Al Montoya was lit up worse than a Christmas tree, as they left him in net to get scorched to protect Price for the next night in Philadelphia. Other than that game, the defence has been playing at a high level for Montreal.
It isn’t just the defence that has been carrying this season. For many years, it was all about defence and Carey Price in net, but here in 2016-17, the Canadiens have been getting a healthy dose of production of the offence. Note that Montreal are 4th in scoring, with 3.10 goals scored per game. The Red Wings are attempting to get their scoring going, but it’s been rather unfruitful with 2.38 goals scored per game. They finished up a 5-4 overtime win over the Devils in New Jersey, and have the hot Canadiens waiting for them in Detroit. I don’t expect the result to go so favorably for them tonight.
PICK: CANADIENS TO WIN -140