By Robert Nightingale
The Montreal Canadiens seem to be the obvious answer to this question, losing only one game in regulation so far this season. However, that one loss, which happened on Friday night, was an absolute throttling at the hands of the Columbus Bluejackets. The 10-0 final score immediately removed the Canadiens from hottest team conversation and proved they are far too dependent on the nightly performance of their goalie, Carey Price.
The New York Rangers are another team that definitely has momentum, winning their last four games by an average margin of just over three goals. The Blueshirts lead the NHL with 4.2 goals per game, proving their offensive firepower, yet I am still not buying stock in the Rangers. Personally, being a Rangers fan has taught me never to trust their regular season win total.
Unlike the Rangers, the Chicago Blackhawks have experienced unparalleled playoff success over the last five seasons. The Hawks are currently winners of five straight games, winning by over two goals a game, and own the second highest goals per game total at 3.5. The Hawks are my hottest team in the NHL due to their top line star power of Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, who lead the league in points with Artemi Panarin not far behind. They also have seasoned veterans like Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook and a stalwart in Corey Crawford between the pipes. Furthermore, the Hawks have historically proven they are able to maintain momentum throughout the course of the season. Expect the Hawks to not only remain hot, but also ride this early push to at least the holiday season.
By Eric Fishbin
The nation to our north knows how to do a couple of things really, really well. This includes a drinking age of 18, a famous dish called poutine and of course, hockey. It is fitting to see the Montreal Canadiens at the top of the Atlantic Division table, but the way this team has started its 2016-2017 campaign has been incredible.
The start of the season for the Canadiens in actuality began on July 27, when the team sent P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators in exchange for their captain, Shea Weber.
Weber, a Canadian native, has exploded onto the scene in Montreal, tallying ten points in his first ten games as a Hab. He led the NHL in plus-minus through ten games, and has had the second most points among defensemen. Weber also has recorded two game winning goals.
The Canadiens as a whole have been dominant across the board through ten games, averaging the fourth most goals per game and allowing the least goals per game in the league. They also owned the third most efficient penalty kill.
Goaltender Carey Price is back from injury, and perhaps as sharp as ever. His has a 1.17 GAA (2nd) in six games started, with a staggering .964 SV percent (2nd) in his first six starts. Offensive production is great, but it means nothing without a solid net minder. Price has the Canadiens standing at 10-1-1, with 19 points and the best record in the league. Not to mention, the team was riding an eight-game win streak before being blown out 10-0 against the Blue Jackets on November 4.
Sometimes in hockey that can happen, but take away one game and the Habs are the hottest team in the NHL at this point in the season.
By Henry Marshall
National Sports Editor
The Montreal Canadiens are red-hot this season with eight wins, and are currently the only team in the NHL with one loss. Coming off a big win against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Canadiens have been a force this season. The Habs are fourth in the NHL in goals per game, allowing just 3.4. What makes them such a force is their goals against, allowing only 1.4, the lowest in the NHL. Behind these stats is defensive standout Shea Weber, who was acquired in June in a blockbuster trade that sent P.K. Subban to Nashville. The former Predators defenseman has been a force in the start of the 2016 season, with ten points, the most among NHL defensemen. The Canadiens have the potential to continue to roll through the Atlantic division. The next four games against the Canucks, Blue Jackets, Flyers and Bruins are all winnable and could propel the team into a dominant position early in the season. Of course veteran goal tender Carey Price has and will be instrumental to the Canadiens’ success this season. His goals against average is currently 1.4, which is excellent. While it is early in the season, keep an eye on the Canadiens to dominate the Atlantic
division of the NHL.