Comments / New

Not Much Easy Pickings In Final 36 Games For Habs


At what is often considered the true beginning of the season’s second half, the Canadiens look to be in fairly solid standing at present. After 46 games, the Canadien have a record 27-13-6 for 60 points, and are currently tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with the Rangers, over whom they have 2 games in hand.

Looking down the line, it would be foolish to assume that there will be many, or any, easy nights for the Canadiens in their final 36 games of the season. For several NHL clubs, perhaps a round dozen, the playoffs begin right now. With a mid February six game roadtrip, the Canadiens best keep their sights focused on one game at time.

Here’s a closer look at what awaits the Canadiens.

Montreal’s home ice record after 23 games is 15-4-4 for 34 points, and their road record after the same number played is 12-9-2 for 26 points.

In the final 36 games of the season, the Canadiens have an equal number of 18 on home ice and on the road.

The Canadiens will face 21 different opponents in the final 36 games, seven of which they have yet to play against

Of the 14 opponents they have faced in 35 games so far this season, they have a 21-10-4 record against, which includes a 12-3-3 record at home and 9-7-1 record on the road

The Canadiens have games remaining against 13 of 14 Eastern Conference rivals, and 8 of 15 Western Conference teams. There are no games remaining against 8 teams overall including Carolina, Detroit, Phoenix, Anaheim, Minnesota, Columbus, Nashville or St. Louis.

I have broken the teams down into three categories in order to examine the Canadiens record so far against each group, in both home and road games. As the three division leaders in both conderences have as many or more points than Montreal, they will be Group 1. The remaining clubs curently holding a playoff position in their conference from 4 to 8, shall be call Group 2. The final 15 teams, currently outside of a playoff spot are Group 3.


The Canadiens 18 home games will be played against the Kings, Bruins, Penguins (2), Maple Leafs (2), Senators (2), Canucks, Sharks, Oilers, Islanders, Devils, Rangers, Thrashers, Lightning, Sabres and Blackhawks.

Montreal’s overall home record these 15 teams is 7-2-3 for 17 of a possible 24 points.


The Canadiens have one home game remaining against each of the Bruins, Devils, and Sharks.

Against the Bruins, and Devils on home ice, the Canadiens have a record of 1-0-2 in three games for 3 of a possible 6 points.

They have beaten and lost in shootout to Boston, lost in overtime to New Jersey, and have yet to play the Sharks.


The Canadiens have 5 home games remaining against each of the Canucks, Oilers, Rangers, Sabres, and Blackhawks.

This season they have beaten the Rangers once and the Sabres twice on Montreal ice for a 3-0-0 record and 6 of a possible 6 points.

They have yet to meet the Canucks, Oilers, or Blackhawks.


The Canadiens have 10 games against teams currently outside the top 8 teams in both conferences. They will play the Penguins, Maple Leafs, and Senators twice each at home, with single games against the Kings, Islanders, Thrashers, and Lightning.

In 5 home games against these teams they have a 3-1-1 record, for 7 of a possible 10 points. They have beaten Maple Leafs, Senators, and Thrashers, lost in overtime to Islanders, and lost to Lightning at home.

They have not played Kings or Penguins on home ice.



Against Group 1, Montreal has not done well at home versus Boston and New Jersey, as all their points here are virtue of games that went into extra time. With the Sharks being the class of the NHL this season, all three of these matches will be extremely crucial to Montreal. Their perception of themselves hangs in the balance of the outcome of these games. There are no easy ones here.

In games with Group 2 opponants so far, the Canadiens have swept the Rangers and Sabres. While those wins are now in the past, it should not be forgotten that these two clubs have also given the Canadiens fits in the past. Matches against these two foes will be hard fought, as they will help settle positioning in the standings. The Canucks, Oilers, and Blackhawks are all young and fast, and are teams built to give the Canadiens a run for their money. As Montreal is unfamiliar with all three, these games will be anything but predictable.

The teams in Group 3 will be divided into two camps as the season progresses, depending on their playoff hopes when they meet Montreal. As it stands, games against Pittsburgh, Toronto and Ottawa are never in the bag. Pittsburgh should become a very tough game down the stretch, and Toronto and Ottawa are potential troublemakers as well. The Canadiens should defeat all of the Islanders, Thrashers, and Lightning in each meeting but they have dropped points against these clubs at various times this season. While the Kings should not present the strongest of foes, Montreal should be as weary of them as the other teams in this group. No games with this group are a given.


The Canadiens will play 16 of 18 road games against the Lightning, Panthers, Flames, Oilers, Avalanche, Canucks, Capitals, Penguins, Flyers, Thrashers, Stars, Senators, Islanders, Maple Leafs, Rangers, and Bruins. They also have two meetings in Buffalo.

Montreal’s overall road record in 15 games against these teams is 9-5-1 for 19 of a possible 30 points.


The Canadiens have played Boston twice and Washington once and have gained 0 points of a possible 6 in those meetings. They have yet to play in Calgary, but did beat the Flames at home.

They will play each of these teams once more in their buildings.


Montreal play 6 games against teams in this group, one each against the Oilers, Canucks, Flyers, and Rangers, and two in Buffalo.

In previous road games against these clubs, the Canadiens are 2-0-1 for 5 of a possible 6 points. They have beaten the Flyers and Rangers, and lost in a shootout in Buffalo on the first night of the season.

They have not yet played Oilers and Canucks.


The Canadiens have 9 road games against teams currently outside the playoff picture and they include one each against the Lightning, Panthers, Avalanche, Penguins, Thrashers, Stars, Senators, Islanders, and Maple Leafs.

Against teams in this group, the Canadiens have won 7 of 9 games for a possible 14 of 18 points. They have beaten Lightning, Panthers, Penguins, Islanders, and Maple Leafs, and have won twice in Ottawa.

Montreal has yet to play against the Avalanche and Stars.



The Canadiens may measure up well against Boston and Washington in Group 1, but they have not had any success playing in these buildings this season. These games will be crucial in every possible manner, for the Canadiens standing as well as their playoff hopes. It could be assumed that if the Canadiens bypass round one, they will be meeting either of these clubs. The Calgary game should be a highly contested one between two very evenly matched teams.

Of the Group 2 teams, the Canadiens have fared reasonably well against the Rangers and Flyers, to whom they have not yet lost on the road. With games in hostile New York and Philadelphia never being friendly contests, these are battles where players potential suffer injuries it seems. The Canadiens’ goal will be to emerged unscathed with two points in hand. Games in Buffalo are always tight contests, as their initial shoutout loss attests. As Buffalo digs it’s heals into playoff mode shortly, Montreal will need to go all out for wins here as well. In Vancouver, the Canucks will deploy their defensive game to attempt to shut down Montreal. In Edmonton, the Oilers last line change could give their speedy team an edge. In either, the Canadiens will have to force their style upon these opponents from the start in order to win. As all these clubs will be in the thick of positioning battles, the Canadiens can take no nights off and expect to win with half game efforts.

The Group 3 teams might be the most deceiving for the Canadiens. While Toronto, Atlanta, Ottawa, Tampa, and the Islanders all appear to be on the outside looking in at the present time, either club is capable of making a late run. For them, the playoffs have begun, making their meetings against the Canadiens more crucial to their fate than Montreal’s. The Canadiens will have to be ready for this, as these clubs could potentially cause a surprise with a full effort any given night. The Penguins and Panthers will soon begin a desperate fight, and the Canadiens past success against them should be no gage for future meettings. Out west, the Stars and Avalanche are in the same boat, as both are sound clubs ready to get serious down the last stretch.

Support Habs Eyes On The Prize by signing up for Norton 360