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The Montreal Canadiens clinch a playoff spot

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It’s official, the Habs will be playing Springtime hockey.

NHL: New York Rangers at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Following a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers, the Montreal Canadiens have officially punched their ticket to the playoffs.

They return to the post-season after missing the cut last year following an epic collapse that started with a long-term injury to Carey Price. This is the ninth time since the 2003-04 lockout that the Canadiens have managed to qualify for the playoffs, and if they hold onto the division lead it will be fourth time they do so as Atlantic champions.

The Canadiens are 13-5-1 under head coach Claude Julien, and are currently third in the NHL in terms of shot-attempts-for pencentage. With five games left to play, Montreal has a six-point lead over the Ottawa Senators in the division.

If they can hang onto the division lead, in all likelihood the Habs will face the New York Rangers in the first round. In fact, there’s almost a 90% chance they’ll be playing games at Madison Square Garden in April.

Fortunately, the Habs hold a significant statistical advantage in games against the Rangers over the course of the season.