No hockey fan outside of die-hard Hab supporters predicted the Canadiens to be much better than a seventh or eight place finisher in the Eastern Conference by the end of the shortened NHL season.  Here we are, almost half way through the year and guess who’s leading the Eastern standings thus far, you bet ya, the surprise of the 2013 season Montreal Canadiens.


In between the two most recent lockouts, an average of 91 points was necessary to make the postseason in the East. Over a 48-game season, that equates to 53 points.  Theoretically the Canadiens would then require only 21 points over their remaining 25 games to make it in, a goal that seems pretty reasonable.


How sustainable is the run of  14-5-4 the team is on?  Well that depends, mostly on one person.  The Habs have gotten good contribution throughout their line up but the puck stops at Carey Price, literally.


Price is 11-4-3 to this point and is without a doubt the driving force behind the Canadiens success.  If the BC native can keep up his stellar play thus far and maintain something resembling his current .908 save percentage, and 2.35 goals against average things in Montreal should look pretty good.  Prices back up Peter Budaj has been no slouch in relieving the number one starter either, going 3-1-1 in his absence.


Head coach Michel Therrien and his staff have to be given a lot of the credit for the team’s performance thus far aswell.  The players have bought into the system Therrien has implemented and it has led to an awful lot of wins in the first half of the season.


Maintaining the current consistency that Montreal had displayed to this point will be the key going forward for the Canadiens.  There doesn’t appear to any letting up though, even with injuries to key players the club has still played well enough to win more often than not.


With solid goaltending as the clubs backbone there doesn’t appear any reason to believe the Canadiens will be falling in the standings any time soon.


So are the Canadiens for real?  They are, as long as Carey Price allows them to be.


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