Where do the Montreal Canadiens rank after 10 games?

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

After 10 games in this shortened season, we're nearly 21% of the way to the end of it. Do the Habs look like they're making the playoffs? Find out inside.

Last year at around the 15 game mark we took a look at the rest of the NHL and tried to figure out where the Habs ranked, and whether or not they were trending in a successful direction. This year because the season is shortened, we're going to do the same thing after 10 games. We're also going to be a bit more comprehensive, looking at several different game situations.

For explanations of the terms used, please refer to the glossary.

Fenwick while the score is tied
Team Time on ice Shooting % Save % PDO Fenwick %
Kings 118:02 8.62 86.67 95.3 61.3
Senators 164:17 5.05 92.86 97.9 59.2
Canadiens 123:09 8.06 97.73 105.8 56.7
Flyers 122:12 12.73 88.64 101.4 56.3
Penguins 111:05 15.0 89.36 104.4 56.3
Red Wings 101:20 7.27 88.64 95.9 56.1
Devils 169:43 9.38 92.31 101.7 55.6
Sharks 153:41 8.33 94.34 102.7 55.2
Flames 166:09 7.32 91.04 98.4 54.8
Rangers 87:31 12.0 85.0 97.0 53.5
Blues 95:21 12.0 90.62 102.6 53.4
Bruins 158:38 10.67 91.43 102.1 52.6
Coyotes 192:07 6.0 87.21 93.2 52.5
Oilers 124:32 5.0 90.74 95.7 52.1
Stars 193:02 9.33 94.51 103.8 50.4
Ducks 121:43 18.87 89.58 108.4 50.0
Jets 201:10 7.69 92.71 100.4 50.0
Blackhawks 176:22 7.41 90.91 98.3 49.5
Canucks 120:09 12.0 96.61 108.6 49.4
Capitals 130:41 9.84 80.00 89.8 48.8
Predators 164: 05 11.11 97.14 108.2 48.2
Hurricanes 121:57 5.41 90.91 96.3 47.9
Islanders 172:37 11.29 89.87 101.2 45.0
Panthers 134:59 7.02 85.71 92.7 44.6
Sabres 199:47 8.24 90.76 99.0 43.9
Maple Leafs 139:23 16.39 90.79 107.2 43.4
Wild 152:21 10.91 90.36 101.3 41.7
Lightning 124:21 14.29 91.67 106.0 39.7
Avalanche 81:57 19.05 75.0 94.0 37.9
Blue Jackets 167:55 8.33 88.3 96.6 37.4

Notes:

  • The Canadiens are likely to start giving up the first goal at even strength a little more often, but their shooting percentage is entirely sustainable.
  • These numbers tend to fluctuate a lot in small samples, but the Canadiens have been within the elite group (top 5) consistently. It's still possible that they could fall, but with each passing game they look more real.
  • The Canadiens are second in their conference, which is likely the most important measure.
  • The Senators without Spezza are still mightily impressive.
  • 4 teams have a PDO equal or greater than the Habs.
Fenwick while the score is within 1 goal (close)
Team Time on ice Shooting % Save % PDO Fenwick %
Kings 204:37 9.09 86.75 95.8 58.0
Senators 275:55 6.98 92.68 99.7 57.5
Blues 193:18 10.68 87.50 98.2 56.9
Bruins 261:10 11.36 90.99 102.4 55.2
Flames 236:50 9.4 88.66 98.1 54.9
Red Wings 209:09 8.57 90.32 98.9 53.8
Sharks 224:29 12.12 93.83 106.0 53.8
Canadiens 209:20 9.35 94.68 104.0 53.4
Coyotes 312:41 6.96 88.55 95.5 53.0
Flyers 233:53 9.52 91.01 100.5 52.7
Devils 270:23 9.18 92.63 101.8 52.6
Penguins 268:32 12.21 91.74 104.0 52.3
Canucks 213:26 11.63 96.63 108.3 52.1
Rangers 205:59 9.47 88.64 98.1 51.7
Oilers 229:56 2.91 87.88 90.8 50.9
Jets 304:00 8.89 91.95 100.8 50.6
Blackhawks 295:18 9.45 91.20 100.6 50.6
Hurricanes 208:26 7.69 90.68 98.4 49.1
Capitals 269:51 9.82 86.36 96.2 49.0
Stars 324:22 9.60 93.08 102.7 48.9
Ducks 238:36 14.71 91.30 106.0 48.3
Predators 301:39 9.52 94.35 103.9 47.3
Islanders 270:27 10.09 88.37 98.5 46.4
Sabres 291:16 10.77 86.96 97.7 45.4
Maple Leafs
273:51 13.27 91.79 105.1 45.1
Panthers 236:53 7.61 85.15 92.8 45.0
Avalanche 199:00 10.67 85.71 96.4 44.4
Wild 281:48 8.26 90.65 98.9 44.3
Lightning 219:14 10.47 90.99 101.5 42.5
Blue Jackets
295:55 9.09 90.00 99.1 38.7

Notes:

  • Montreal is just outside the elite top 5 group at 8th, but a top 10 ranking still bodes extremely well. The Canadiens end up in 3rd in the Eastern Conference by this measure, although annoyingly they're also 3rd in their division. The Northeast seems to be 3 contenders and two lottery teams.
  • The Canadiens are once again getting some nice puck luck, but again it's mostly due to Carey Price being amazing.
  • Of the teams ahead of Montreal in the Eastern standings, only Ottawa isn't getting puck luck by these measures, although they have some unsustainable goaltending thus far overall. Point being, Montreal is due to regress, but so is everyone else.
  • 6 teams have a PDO equal or greater than the Habs.
Even Strength Fenwick
Team Time on ice Shooting % Save % PDO Fenwick %
Kings 390:50 6.77 88.19 95.0 59.4
Blues 454:21 7.21 90.18 97.4 56.0
Bruins 399:43 8.76 91.48 100.2 55.3
Senators 490:57 7.49 94.20 101.7 54.3
Penguins 512:53 8.92 92.76 101.7 54.2
Flames 380:03 7.18 90.57 97.8 53.9
Red Wings 428:06 7.01 93.51 100.5 53.7
Hurricanes 377:35 5.98 92.68 98.7 53.1
Coyotes 506:59 7.72 89.19 96.9 52.7
Canucks 432:04 7.77 95.77 103.5 51.6
Jets 474:28 7.08 90.18 97.3 51.5
Rangers 446:17 7.14 93.49 100.6 50.9
Canadiens 418:39 9.84 94.18 104.0 50.8
Avalanche 444:08 6.99 93.07 100.1 50.8
Capitals 498:15 6.01 88.99 95.0 50.4
Devils 442:24 8.38 92.47 100.9 49.4
Blackhawks 500:43 11.11 92.34 103.4 49.2
Sharks 433:17 9.18 93.75 102.9 48.9
Flyers 479:00 6.64 94.27 100.9 48.7
Ducks 427:59 11.76 93.18 105.0 48.6
Sabres 500:40 9.17 89.02 98.2 48.5
Stars 497:45 6.70 93.89 100.6 47.5
Oilers 433:04 3.72 92.51 96.2 46.8
Wild 458:24 6.84 91.63 98.5 46.6
Panthers 452:38 5.53 90.58 96.1 46.6
Maple Leafs 502:45 8.68 92.69 101.4 45.6
Islanders 456:50 10.05 89.08 99.1 45.5
Lightning 444:12 12.08 93.78 105.9 44.8
Predators 466:30 9.27 94.55 103.8 44.2
Blue Jackets 488:15 7.22 90.16 97.4 42.1

Notes:

  • You can see right away how much score effects (the phenomena that teams who are up by at least a goal tend to be outshot) can screw up overall possession numbers. Bad teams like the Avalanche are middle of the pack because they've been trailing for most of the year, wheres a team like the Canadiens,who have spent a surprisingly large amount of time up by 2 goals are punished.
  • The Habs are down in the middle of the pack overall, but still 6th in the east. The other two measures carry far more predictive power than this one, but it looks like the Canadiens are a playoff team either way.
  • The Habs are once again bound for some regression, but there are a ton of teams with similar save percentages this time. Personally I think Carey Price gives the Canadiens a huge advantage there.
  • Shooting percentage is the place where the Canadiens will be regressing most at even strength, although even then, it won't be by a lot. At least not as much as the Lightning.

Conclusions:

Last season the Northeast was trash, competing with the Southeast for the worst division in the Eastern Conference. This year it seems like the top 3 even strength teams are in the Northeast, along with 2 lottery level teams in the Leafs and the Sabres.

The Canadiens are going to take a step down at even strength play as far as their success rate goes, but ironically, once they begin to play from behind a bit more, they'll probably end up boosting their overall numbers, especially even strength shots, and look even stronger for it. We'll likely hear all year that the Habs have a PDO over 100.0, but that's to be expected when you have an elite goaltender. Last season 6 teams finished the year with a PDO of over 101.0, the leader being the Bruins at 101.4. With a shortened season, expect to see some wilder numbers, there isn't enough time for everyone to regress.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are the new Minnesota Wild! They've had an awful, awful start that has been masked by an absurd even strength shooting percentage and a powerplay that's actually 22nd overall in shots/60 but is scoring on 21.28% of their shots. Unless something changes in Tampa, they're the most likely team in the East to blow up and miss the playoffs. Maybe Guy Boucher isn't a genius? Or is this on Yzerman?

The Edmonton Oilers are going to start scoring a lot soon. Well, their current injury situation may drag this out a bit longer, but eventually a bunch of pucks will fill the net for them at even strength.

The Stanley Cup champions are still the champs. The LA Kings are 3-4-2 so far but have outplayed their opposition in every situation. Quick has to start stopping some damn pucks, but that team is going to turn around soon. They're way too good not to.

Last year the Blue Jackets weren't as terrible as their record, this year they're worse. At the bottom as consistently as the Kings are at the top, the two teams are tied in points. There is no justice at the beginning of an NHL season.

The Flames are actually kind of good and I have no idea how.

The Wild still really suck.

So do the Leafs.

The Ducks are the Lightning of the west, their shooting percentage is going to break down soon.

The season is still young, and these trends may not hold out, but all the evidence that we have so far is pointing to the Canadiens being the real deal.

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