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Are the Montreal Canadiens the Stanley Cup Favourites?

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 promising though.

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 per game.

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:

Goal Differential
Chicago Blackhawks
Los Angeles Kings
Chicago Blackhawks
Los Angeles Kings
Boston Bruins

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.

This post first appeared on Sports Jerseys Canada, please read the originial post: here

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Are the Montreal Canadiens the Stanley Cup Favourites?


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