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The Montreal Canadiens are showing a fight they didn’t have last season

Falling behind early in games is no longer an indication the game is over.

Philadelphia Flyers v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Vitor Munhoz/NHLI via Getty Images

The Montreal Canadiens won 5-4 in a shootout against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night after falling behind 2-0 very early in the game.

It was already their third win in 18 games this season after falling behind by two goals. Last season, which saw them fall behind by two goals often, only saw them come back twice from two goals down in 82 games.

Of course it’s not ideal to be trailing in games, especially by multiple goals, but it will happen and the biggest difference between this year’s Canadiens and last year’s Canadiens is that they have confidence. They don’t feel that they are out of games. They trust their offensive ability to score, and that it will help them come back into games.

When you have players like Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki leading the way and playing like they are, it definitely makes it easy to believe.

The Canadiens are a rebuilding team, but they aren’t a bad team. It is clear now that the main issue last season was a mix (or maybe cause and effect) of confidence and system. There is now ample evidence to show that Dominique Ducharme was having a negative impact on the team, and that it wasn’t as bad as it looked at times. It wasn’t just down to Ducharme, and he is not the only one to blame but the move to Martin St. Louis instantly changed the mood last year.

This season, they have taken another step because frankly the roster is better. The new additions from Kirby Dach to Sean Monahan to the youngsters like Kaiden Guhle and Arber Xhekaj, among others, have improved this team.

They probably aren’t going to be in a playoff race just yet, but watching the standings and lottery odds are a thing of the past as well. Everything went wrong last season and they still barely finished in last. This year, a lot of things seem to be going right, and while you can probably expect things to turn the other way at some point, the floor for this team is much higher than many would have expected just because last year warped so many perceptions of what this team had.

As another newcomer, and expected top defender, Michael Matheson gets back into game shape, there may be a bit more upside to this group to come.

Rebuilding teams, no matter how good or bad they play, look to take lessons to help them when they start to become competitive. For the Canadiens, knowing that they are never out of a game is a big lesson to take and one that erases some of the lingering memories from a year ago.

All comeback statistics via morehockeystats.com