Canadiens: 5 Things to Watch For in the Second Half of the Season

Colorado Avalanche v Montreal Canadiens
Colorado Avalanche v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages
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The Canadiens have had some of the league's best goaltending this season, despite running a three-man rotation. The Canadiens have a 5-on-5 GSAx of 16.98, which is very good, and Samuel Montembeault, in particular, has led the charge on that front. Without the goaltending, I don’t think the Canadiens would have a chance at making the playoffs this year.

Last season, the Canadiens also got good goaltending for most of the year, but it tailed off towards the end of the season. I think a lot of that had to do with the team in front of them at that point. I’m curious to see if the same is true this year, or if the Canadiens can get dependable goaltending all season long.

The Canadiens as a whole could do better, though, as I think a lot is being asked of these goalies on a night-in and night-out basis. The Canadiens currently give up 33.8 shots against per game, which is 29th in the NHL, and they give up, and they give up 2.88 5v5 xGA/60, which is 28th in the NHL. Yet somehow, at five-on-five, they only give up 2.26 GA/60, which is 8th in the NHL.

If the Canadiens do ultimately make a playoff push, and that’s still a big question mark on if they can, goaltending will be perhaps the biggest reason why they make it there. The offence has been hard to come by this season, but here we are, beyond the halfway point, with the Canadiens still in the hunt. A lot of that credit goes to the goaltenders and Montembeault in particular.