The Montreal Canadiens 2021-22 season got off to a miserable 0-5-0 start to the season in a stretch of hockey where they scored just four goals.
Though many fans still held out hope for a turnaround at that point in the season, it has proven to be quite the omen for how the season would play out. Things haven’t really gotten any better in the three months since that pitiful start.
The team now has a 7-23-4 record after 34 games and though there are 48 more contests to play, their playoff fate is already sealed. If they were to somehow go 41-7-0 over their final 48 games, they would finish with 100 points and might crack the top four in the Atlantic Division that has the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins all on pace to finish with 98 or more points right now. In fact, the Panthers, Maple Leafs and Bruins are all on pace to finish with 117 points or more right now.
The Canadiens wouldn’t reach that number if they went 48-0-0 the rest of the way.
So, they aren’t going to make the playoffs. Since they know before the midway point of the season that they aren’t going to make the playoffs, they may as well maximize their draft ranking. You hate to cheer for losses as a fan, but at this point in the season, the best thing for the long term success is a better draft pick.
The Canadiens have long been near the bottom of the standings, but they haven’t been in last place since their 0-5-0 start to the season. That is, until now.
As bad as the Canadiens have been this season, they have not been able to fall below the Arizona Coyotes in the standings. Technically that is still the case as the Canadiens have 18 points in the standings, which puts them on pace for 43 at season’s end.
The Coyotes held off the Chicago Blackhawks in a Thursday night game, winning 6-4 and improving (if you can say that) their record to 7-22-3. That’s only 17 points, but they have played 32 games which is two less than the Canadiens. That puts the Coyotes on pace for 44 point by the end of the season.
The Coyotes .266 points percentage on the season puts them just ahead of the Canadiens at .265, and that means one thing: the Montreal Canadiens are in first place (in the NHL Draft ranking).