When Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens started the season 5-0-0, there wasn't too many people surprised. As the streak grew to seven, eight and now to nine games, people are starting to question whose going to take them down. With tomorrow being there next game, it brings a new team to try and give them their first loss. The Vancouver Canucks host the Canadiens to try and tie the record for the longest undefeated streak to start a season. The only two teams to have accomplished this feat were the 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 2006-2007 Buffalo Sabres. To get this close to the record, Montreal went through the 2015-16 version of both of these teams and has to swing through western Canada to complete the 10-0-0 start.
It's not a surprise Montreal is good, but this wasn't on anyone's radar to start the season. Carey Price took home every trophy, except the Art Ross it felt like, at the awards ceremony last year and is in the prime of his career. Their deadline acquisitions have become more accustomed to the system and they're all looking for a date with the Stanley Cup Finals.
What a season this could turn out to be for the newly named captain, Max Pacioretty. Sitting at nine games without a loss hasn't been without a fight. They've had to play some pretty rock solid teams like the Western Conference juggernaut St. Louis Blues, the always playoff bound Detroit Red Wings, and the New York Rangers who knocked them out of the playoffs last year. The remarkable thing about those three victories is that they only had one goal against combined.
Last year this team had problems putting the puck in the net. They had a brick wall in between the pipes and solid enough defensemen and defensive minded forwards that they didn't "need" to score goals. You can't always rely on your goalie, or count on winning 1-0 or 2-1 games. They seem to have fixed that this year. They manhandled the Buffalo Sabres 7-2 and broke for five goals in Toronto as well. They haven't scored less than three goals in any of their games so far. Montreal is second in goals for per game, after being 20th last year, and first for goals against. Riding the waves of these numbers, it's no surprise that they've had this much success so far.
Will this last? Absolutely not. Keeping pace with these numbers are unthinkable. Will Carey Price end the season with a 1.20 GAA? Very unlikely. Will Max Pacioretty stay on pace for 100 points and 63 goals? His point totals from years prior offer a resounding "no" to those questions.
While Montreal has been an absolute problem for the other teams in the league thus far, the probability of this continuing are small. The season has shown them moderate push back thus far, and how the team handles adversity has yet to be seen. Montreal has endured no injuries and very little time spent in the Western Conference battle field.
Once they face-off against the Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche, and into the California based teams, that could be the real test. The Canadiens next five games are against the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets and the Ottawa Senators for the second time this season. If Montreal escapes Vancouver unscathed, their next big challenge wont be until Winnipeg. The Jets have some weapons that could prove to be lethal. Every team wants to be the best or beat them. We'll see who can step up and shut down Pacioretty and the Canadiens.