5 Canadiens players who must bring their A-Game to help secure an improbable wild card spot

The Montreal Canadiens are quite a few points out of a wild card spot following the All-Star Break, but if a few players step up, they may contend.

Jan 25, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Sean Monahan (91) celebrates with
Jan 25, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Sean Monahan (91) celebrates with / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
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It’s time for Sam Montembeault to take his game to an elite level

Jake Allen likely won’t be around to see the end of the Canadiens season, which could open more time for Sam Montembeault if Cayden Primeau doesn’t see his opportunities substantially increase. But even if the latter is in the net more often, Montembeault can still proclaim himself as the undisputed No. 1 goaltender in Montreal with a solid finish to the 2023-24 season. 

Despite his slightly below-average numbers with a 0.905 save percentage and a 3.10 GAA, Montembeault is also boasting a quality starts percentage of 0.727, which is outstanding considering his status as the top goaltender for a less-than-stellar hockey team. 

You can even argue that if Montembeault played for a team further ahead than the Canadiens, he could even threaten to be one of the better goaltenders in the game. But given his status with a building team like Montreal, one that is still very much in the playoff race at this point, if he picks up his game and gives us a few unheralded performances, he’s at least a solid 1A moving forward. 

This isn’t to say Montembeault is or will be an elite goaltender, but at this stage in the season, he has a massive opportunity on his hands.