Why the Montreal Canadiens’ NHL-Leading Record Is Deceiving

November 17th, 2014 by Jonathan Willis Leave a reply »

It’s a good time to be a fan of the Montreal Canadiens.

The NHL’s most storied franchise beat Original Six rival Detroit on Sunday night by a 4-1 score for its sixth consecutive win and fifth straight by a margin of three or more goals.

With a 14-4-1 record on the year, the Habs lead the entire NHL with 29 points and are behind only the Pittsburgh Penguins in terms of points percentage (0.763 vs. 0.781).

And yet, according to general manager Marc Bergevin (h/t TVA Sports's Renaud Lavoie), the team’s record to date doesn’t prove a thing:

He’s right, of course. If the NHL handed out Stanley Cups based on which team was leading the league in points on November 17, the San Jose Sharks and Washington Capitals would both have picked up championships over the last decade.

Early regular-season performance is less important than long-term regular-season performance, which in turn is less important than getting the job done in the playoffs.

But there are other reasons to take Montreal’s success with a grain of salt.

One of t ...

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