National Hockey League

Atlantic Division Preview: Montreal Canadiens

The Canadiens enter the 2019-20 season looking to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2017. Montreal owns the most Stanley Cup wins (23), Stanley Cup Final appearances (32) and Stanley Cup Playoffs appearances (83) in NHL history.

* Carey Price owns a record of 4-4-2 in 10 career season openers (2.36 GAA, .926 SV%) and has helped the Canadiens record several lengthy season-opening streaks within the last five years.

* After backstopping Team Canada to its World Cup of Hockey 2016 championship (5-0-0; 1.40 GAA, .957 SV%), Price’s success on the international stage translated to open the 2016-17 season as Montreal went 10-0-0 in its first 10 games at Bell Centre – tied for the second-longest home win streak from the start of a season in League history. Price went 10-0-0 through his first 10 appearances overall (1.40 GAA, .957 SV%, 2 SO) and established an NHL record for longest season-opening streak by a goaltender; Ray Emery is the only other netminder in League history to win each of his first 10 decisions in a season, going 12-0-0 through his first 15 appearances in 2012-13.

* The Canadiens posted a 9-0-0 record to open the 2015-16 season, outscoring opponents 35-12 in those contests before suffering their first loss on Oct. 27, 2015 (5-1 L at VAN); Price manned the crease for seven of the nine games, registering a 7-0-0 record with a 1.29 goals-against average, .961 save percentage and two shutouts. Montreal’s season-opening win streak in 2015-16 stands as the third-longest such run in NHL history.

* Montreal went 7-1-0 through its first eight games of the 2014-15 season, including a 4-0-0 record at home. Price appeared in seven of those contests, going 6-1-0 overall (2.67 GAA, .913 SV%) and 4-0-0 at Bell Centre (1.99 GAA, .937 SV%).

* Max Domi can become the first Canadiens player in over 20 years to reach the 70-point mark in consecutive seasons, a feat last achieved by Mark Recchi who did so in three straight campaigns from 1995-96 to 1997-98. Another 70-point season would also make Domi the fourth player in franchise history to record at least 140 combined regular-season points through his first two seasons with the Canadiens; the others are Vincent Damphousse from 1992-93 to 1993-94 (79-109—188 in 168 GP), Kirk Muller from 1991-92 to 1992-93 (73-98—171 in 158 GP) and Brian Bellows from 1992-93 to 1993-94 (73-86—159 in 159 GP).

* Brendan Gallagher can become the 10th different player in franchise history to reach the 30-goal mark in three or more consecutive seasons and first since Max Pacioretty in four straight from 2013-14 to 2016-17.

* Shea Weber (203-331—534 in 925 GP), the NHL’s active leader in regular-season goals among defensemen, enters his second season as Canadiens captain. He is five regular-season goals shy of tying longtime Canadiens blueliner Larry Robinson (208) for 19th place on the League’s all-time list among defensemen.

* Tomas Tatar (144-142—286 in 507 GP), who can record his sixth consecutive 20-goal season in 2019-20, owns the third-most career regular-season goals and points among active Slovakia-born players behind only Marian Gaborik (407-408—815 in 1,035 GP) and Zdeno Chara (200-442—642 in 1,485 GP).

* Jesperi Kotkaniemi (11-23—34 in 79 GP), who is set to celebrate his 20th birthday on July 6, 2020, needs 32 regular-season points to tie Mario Tremblay (32-34—66 in 134 GP) for the most by a Canadiens teenager. His 34 career points are also the fifth-most by a Finnish-born teenager in NHL history, behind Patrik Laine (80-54—134 in 155 GP), Aleksander Barkov (24-36—60 in 125 GP), Sebastian Aho (24-25—49 in 82 GP) and Hannu Virta (12-24—36 in 72 GP).

* Twenty-year-old Ryan Poehling, one of three players in franchise history to record three or more goals in his NHL debut (3-0—3 on April 6 vs. TOR), can become the second player to score multiple regular-season hat tricks with the Canadiens before celebrating his 21st birthday. He would join Guy Lafleur, who recorded a trio of three-goal performances prior to turning 21 (3-0—3 on Dec. 11, 1971 vs. MNS, 3-0—3 on Dec. 17, 1971 at VAN, 3-1—4 on Feb. 10, 1972 vs. CHI).

* Carey Price, the franchise’s all-time leader in regular-season wins (321) and games played (624) among goaltenders, enters his 13th NHL season. His five career 30-win seasons in a Canadiens uniform trail only Jacques Plante and Ken Dryden (both w/ 7) for the most in franchise history.

* His 321 career regular-season victories are the fifth-most among active goaltenders and another 30-win campaign would propel Price past several notable names on the NHL’s all-time list.

A look at how players have fared historically in their debut game/season with the franchise:

First game with the Canadiens. . .
Most goals: 5 – Joe Malone (Dec. 19, 1917)
Most assists: 3 – Pierre Larouche (Nov. 29, 1977)
Most points: 5 – Joe Malone (Dec. 19, 1917)

Most goals: 1 – 4 players; most recent: Scott Lachance (March 11, 1999)
Most assists: 2 – 8 players; most recent: Tomas Kaberle (Dec. 10, 2011)
Most points: 2 – 8 players; most recent: Tomas Kaberle (Dec. 10, 2011)

Most saves: 41 – 2 goaltenders; most recent: Rogie Vachon (Feb. 18, 1967)
Shutout: 4 – most recent: Yann Danis (Oct. 12, 2005)

First season with the Canadiens. . .
Most goals: 44 – Joe Malone (1917-18)
Most assists: 58 – Vincent Damphousse (1992-93)
Most points: 97 – Vincent Damphousse (1992-93)

Most goals: 17 – 2 players; most recent: Shea Weber (2016-17)
Most assists: 35 – Tom Kurvers (1984-85)
Most points: 45 – Tom Kurvers (1984-85)

Most wins: 38 – Bill Durnan (1943-44)
Most shutouts: 14 – George Hainsworth (1926-27)

— NHL Public Relations

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