Updated: November 17, 2014, 10:29 AM ET

Montreal momentum


By Pierre LeBrun (posted Nov. 17, 2014)

Many people believed I was hallucinating when I picked the Montreal Canadiens to make it to the Stanley Cup finals this season (I also picked the Chicago Blackhawks to win the Cup). The Habs are making me look good, at least for now.

Rk(LW)TeamRec
1
Montreal
14-4-1
Ever since getting hammered at home by the Flames and Blackhawks to start November, the Canadiens have won six in a row, the last five by three goals or more. The power play is beginning to improve after stinking up the joint in the opening month.
2
Pittsburgh
12-3-1
The Pens had a nifty weekend, with wins over the Leafs and Rangers. They have a chance to reclaim top spot in the Power Rankings with a win Tuesday night in Montreal in what is shaping up to be the most compelling game of the week.
3
St. Louis
12-4-1
The Blues have won 10 of their past 11 games, have gotten key players back from injury, and are looking downright formidable. The power play is second overall while the Blues are No. 1 overall in goals against. It's a recipe for great success.
4
Tampa Bay
12-4-2
How deep are the Lightning at forward? Deep enough to make rookie Jonathan Drouin a healthy scratch, that's how deep.
5
Nashville
11-4-2
The Preds are ranked first overall in five-on-five goals for/against ratio, at 1.74. That's always a great measure of how a team is playing.
6
Anaheim
11-4-4
Perhaps drained emotionally by those two entertaining games with the rival Kings, the Ducks delivered a stinker at home to the visiting Panthers on Sunday.
7
Los Angeles
9-5-4
Marian Gaborik has just two goals in 10 games. The Kings need him to get going.
8
Chicago
10-7-1
Whoa, baby, the Blackhawks came out to play Sunday night, hammering the Stars with a 47-shot barrage that produced six goals. You know it's there; it just hasn't showed up every night this season.
9
NY Islanders
11-6-0
How about Johnny Boychuk since arriving in Long Island from the Bruins just before the season? Try 12 points (2-10) in 16 games.
10
Vancouver
12-6-0
That was a nasty home loss to the Coyotes on Saturday night. The Canucks need to tighten up defensively.
11
Detroit
8-4-5
Great effort in beating the Blackhawks in Chicago on Friday, but less so in getting mauled by Montreal on Sunday evening. The Wings need more consistency.
12
Calgary
11-6-2
The surprising Flames get a chance to show once again if they're for real, hosting the Ducks and Blackhawks this week.
13
Boston
11-8-0
Oh, man, what can you say about those losses in Toronto and Montreal last week? Ouch.
14
Minnesota
10-7-0
Welcome back, Zach Parise -- you were missed!
15
Winnipeg
9-7-3
The Jets are back home after going 2-2-1 on a road trip that wasn't easy by any stretch, culminating with Sunday's 4-3 OT loss at Minny.
16
Florida
6-4-5
That was an impressive win in Anaheim on Sunday night. The road trip continues with tough games in L.A., San Jose and Nashville.
17
San Jose
10-8-2
They are keeping their heads above water through all these road games to open the season. If they can make hay once the home schedule gets heavy, they'll be fine.
18
Ottawa
8-5-4
The Senators are 12th in goals for per game and 12th in goals against per game. Balance!
19
Toronto
9-7-2
That 6-1-1 stretch is a distant memory after weekend losses to the Penguins and Sabres. It's bad enough losing to the Sabres, but 6-2? Mercy.
20
NY Rangers
7-6-4
Busy week for the Blueshirts with the Lightning on Monday night, the Flyers on Wednesday night, a road game in Buffalo on Friday and then a Sunday night home date with the league-leading Canadiens.
21
Philadelphia
7-7-2
You can't win consistently in this league if you're giving up 3.19 goals per game (which is 26th in NHL).
22
Washington
7-7-3
Tough weekend for the Capitals with losses to the Devils and Blues. They've got road games in Arizona and Colorado this week, followed by a home date with the Sabres on Saturday.
23
New Jersey
8-8-2
The Devils are 30th on the penalty kill, at 70 percent. That's going to lose you a lot of games.
24
Arizona
8-9-1
Do we have a goalie controversy with the Coyotes? Devan Dubnyk has two straight wins as the Coyotes win in Vancouver and Edmonton over the weekend.
25
Dallas
6-8-4
A pair of weekend losses for the Stars, who keep treading water. Huge five-game homestand opens Tuesday versus the Hurricanes. Time to turn around the season.
26
Colorado
6-8-5
Are the Avs finally turning this thing around? Wins on the road against the Rangers and Devils provide hope.
27
Edmonton
6-10-2
Three straight losses for the Oilers, who seem headed for change at some point this season. Management just can't allow yet another lost season to go without action.
28
Columbus
6-10-1
Coming off two wins in a row after snapping a nine-game winless streak (0-8-1).
29
Carolina
5-9-3
Three straight losses for the Canes, who open up a five-game road trip Tuesday at Dallas.
30
Buffalo
4-13-2
Hey, at least they provided their fans with a sweet win over the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

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