The Montreal Canadiens were scheduled to play four games in the state of Florida this season, they've played them, and they've won every single game.
The season series against the Florida Panthers is over, the first season series the Habs have completed in this shortened season, and it ended with a sweep. Montreal outscored the Panthers 10-3 over 3 games.
The Canadiens wasted no time getting a lead this time, with David Desharnais' 8th of the season beating Jacob Markstrom under two minutes in. Desharnais is having a bit of a curious season in my opinion. His advanced stats suggest that he's playing significantly worse than last year, but his shooting luck has hidden any inefficiencies in his game.
The Canadiens kept on rolling, with Michael Ryder scoring the 100th goal of his Canadiens career. The time between his 99th and 100th goals? 4 years, 11 months, 18 days. The time between his 100th and 101st? Only about an hour.
Ryder's 3 point performance brings him up to 2 goals and 7 assists in 9 games with Montreal, and he now leads the team in points with 23. It's a bit o an unfair comparison at this point, but Erik Cole has just 1 goal in 4 games in Dallas. Marc Bergevin's first major trade as general manager of the Canadiens is looking pretty good.
Who else is hot for the Habs? How about star defenseman P.K. Subban, who has once again shown that he is at his absolute best when he's given as many minutes as possible. Subban is on an incredible run of 12 points in 10 games, and only Kris Letang has producing more offense from the blueline this season.
Then there's Brian Gionta, who once again scored a goal and set up another. Eric Engels was talking after the game about how far Gionta had to come to get back to where he is now after his injury last season. While many referred to it as a bicep tear, what Gionta was actually dealing with though, was a torn distal tendon, which could have cause nerve damage to his forearm and fingers, which would have ended his career.
That Gionta has come back and is now on a 28 goals per 82 games pace is a true sign of what kind of a warrior he is. He's producing more goals and points than last season, shooting more often, playing better defensively, and taking a quarter of the penalties.
Even Francis Bouillon is getting in on the scoring, he just needs to remember which net he's supposed to shoot on.
Overall, there's really not much to pick on with these Montreal Canadiens. They are undoubtedly one of the 3 powers in the Eastern Conference. And with rumours that Raphael Diaz could be back soon, things are only looking up.
The Canadiens are deep. They're deep everywhere. WIth Budaj playing well and the acquisition of Dustin Tokarski, they may even be deep in goal, although hopefully we never have to find out.
Head on over to Litter Box Cats for reaction from the losing side.