The Montreal Canadiens will end a seven-game road trip tonight when they face the Florida Panthers. Montreal are on an interesting streak as they have won five of the first six games of this important road trip.
Before the beginning of the sequence, I thought the Canadiens needed to win at least five of those seven games to stay in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference. The objective was met yesterday when the Canadiens defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime 2-1.
The return from injury of defenseman Andrei Markov and forward Brian Gionta combined with the addition of Benoit Pouliot and the extraordinary work of goaltender Jaroslav Halak are the main reasons of those late 2009 success. As a result, the team started to bunch up wins while Jaroslav Halak was named NHL's first star last week.
Montreal has also found their mark on the special teams. The penalty killing has shown great efficiency during the second part of December after a difficult start. Let's not forget the power play unit who now ranks in first place.
Let's kick start those New Year celebrations with a victory over the Florida Panthers tonight.
Happy 2010 everyone!