The Montreal Canadiens have looked solid in their first ten games.
At this point, the Habs are tied for third in the Atlantic Division and have a record of 6-2-2. While many hockey analysts and fans pegged the team to have a difficult 2018-19 campaign, head coach Claude Julien and his squad are proving them wrong.
In those ten games, the Habs faced the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Los Angeles Kings, the Detroit Red Wings, the St. Louis Blues, the Ottawa Senators, the Calgary Flames, the Boston Bruins and the Buffalo Sabres. The Habs were able to grab a point in their match-up against the Maple Leafs, grabbed two wins against the Penguins, dismantled the Red Wings defense, won tight match-ups against the Blues and the Flames, grabbed a point in an over-time loss against the Senators and shut-out the Bruins.
Overall, the Habs have been a resilient squad and have had a few pleasant surprises go their way this season.
The biggest revelation has to be the combined play of Max Domi and Tomas Tatar. Both forwards were acquired in trades this past summer and have been off to hot starts. The duo has combined for 8 goals, 11 assists, 2 power-play goals, 7 power-play assists and a 17.45 S%.
If you look at their scoring rates, Domi and Tatar are performing at a phenomenal clip. At the moment, Domi owns a 1.82 Goals/60 and a 0.91 Total Assists/60. His Goals/60 rate is better than such illustrious names as Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Bo Horvat of the Vancouver Canucks, Elias Lindholm of the Calgary Flames and Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings. While his Total Assists/60 rate isn’t eye-dropping, it’s still pretty good.
Tatar isn’t looking half bad himself. To this point, he owns a 0.93 Goals/60 and a 1.87 Total Assists/60. Even though his numbers are a bit inflated, his 1.87 Total Assists/60 is a career high and represents a significant improvement when you look at his assist rate from last season. In addition, his Total Assists/60 rate is better than Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals, J.T. Miller of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nikita Kucherov of the Lightning. While Domi and Tatar aren’t likely to score at this rate for the rest of the season, they should be able to put up successful campaigns and help their team have a fighting chance to make the playoffs.
Overall, the Canadiens don’t have a bad roster; it won’t make you drool like the ranks of the Winnipeg Jets or the Toronto Maple Leafs, but they still have a competitive team and will likely remain in the playoff hunt.
Stats from NHL.com and naturalstattrick.com