Halfway through the NHL season, the Montreal Canadiens sport a record of 21-13-8.
This is good for a solid 48 points, putting the team in second place in the Northeast division, just ahead of their arch-rival Boston Bruins.
But with 40 games left to play in the Habs' season, the question that hovers in every fan's mind is simple: What does the rest of the NHL season hold for Montreal Canadiens?
The Canadiens are a mere three points away from their mark at this point last season. General Manager Bob Gainey feels he has a better and more balanced team than last year. The Habs also look a lot tighter in their own zone, and much stronger on five-on-five situations. And this is enough to please Gainey with his team's progress this year.
The Canadiens' hardwork and dedication is evident in their flying statistics. For instance, the Canadiens have scored a total of 124 goals this season, and only allowed 108 goals.
Power Forward Alex Kovalev has 18 goals and 20 assists which is good for 38 points in 41 games. Centerman Tomas Plekanec is also riding a solid high powered season with 13 goals and and 23 assists, which tallys a total of 36 points in 41 games.
The only real thing that the Canadiens need to improve in the second their season is their faceoff percentage. With a winning percentage of 48.1, the Canadiens are 27th in the league. Bob Gainey realizes the importance of winning faceoffs and will make sure that head coach Guy Carbonneau boosts his squads' efficiency in the blue circles.
On the negative side of the equation, Michael Ryder's career-low six goals and eight assists give the Bonavista, NF native only 14 points. Talks of a mideason trade are in the air in the city of Montreal. Will Ryder be dealt for more offensive talent? Or will GM Bob Gainey give Ryder the benefit of doubt and let him play until his one-year contract expires, hoping Ryder can open up his bag of magic tricks and give a more solid effort.
One thing that unites Montreal players and fans is their love and passion for their team, as well as hockey itself. With legions of fans worldwide, the Canadiens realize they have the number one fan following in the world.
Whether the Canadiens go on to be a strong Cup contender this year will be determined by their next 41 games. But one thing is certain—the future looks bright for the Habs, and the fans are not going anywhere in showing their support and love for their team.