The Montreal Canadiens could well prove to be an unstoppable juggernaut in the North Division.
It has been a pretty impressive start to the 2020-21 NHL season by the Montreal Canadiens, who currently sit atop the North Division with a 3-0-2 record and they are living up to all the hype and lofty expectations that they set for themselves thanks to a blockbuster offseason.
Yes, after getting bigger, stronger, tougher, faster and more offensively potent thanks to some outstanding work by General Manager Marc Bergevin, the Canadiens entered 2020-21 looking like they could be a true heavyweight in the North Division and a genuine contender and, although a small sample size, they are fulfilling that promise early on.
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After beating the Vancouver Canucks 7-3 on Thursday night, thanks in large to two goals from Tyler Toffoli following his hat trick against the same opponent the night before, the Canadiens have already established their dominance in the all-Canadian Division and they boast an absolutely stacked lineup that gets production from all four lines, big contributions from the blueline and they have two outstanding goalies in Carey Price and Jake Allen.
They looked like the Montreal Canadiens of old against the Canucks, outshooting their opponents 42-17 with every single line showing up and playing a huge role. Toffoli, who has seven points (5 G, 2 A) on the year already, stole the show but the likes of Joel Armia, Josh Anderson and Jake Evans all made big contributions.
The Montreal Canadiens are looking a dangerous beast right now
Granted, the win last night didn’t come without a hefty price with Armia and Paul Byron leaving the game with a concussion and a leg injury respectively, but the Canadiens loaded up on depth during the offseason and they will have players who can step up and come in and contribute, including grizzled veteran Corey Perry.
With Patrik Laine out for the Winnipeg Jets and both Joe Thornton and Auston Matthews going down with injuries for the Toronto Maple Leafs, there will be an opportunity for Montreal to really steam ahead and get a stranglehold on the North Division, and they boast all the weapons needed to do just that.
With Toffoli providing the scoring punch he was brought in to do, the likes of Anderson and Brendan Gallagher playing a real hard-nosed game, forward Tomas Tatar and defenseman Jeff Petry enjoying a hot start, coupled with Jake Allen proving that he will be a more than adequate backup for Carey Price, the Canadiens are built to win now and they are starting to get hot at just the right time.
That last sentence may seem strange given that we are just entering the second week of the 2020-21 season but, remember, this is a shortened 56-game season so a hot start could prove the difference come the end of the regular-season, just as a slow and sluggish start could prove all so costly.
Having already defeated the Edmonton Oilers twice and now the Canucks, the Canadiens are already firing out warning shots that they mean business this year and they could well be the team to beat in what is a hugely-compelling North Division, especially if Auston Matthews’ absence for Toronto proves to be longer than first feared.
It is abundantly clear though that the Montreal Canadiens are constructed to win this year and they have the weapons, the goaltending, the depth and the experience in that locker room needed to take control of the North Division and potentially embark on a deep postseason run, something they haven’t done since the 2013-14 season when they made the Eastern Conference Finals. And, oh, they are going to be incredibly fun to watch in the process too.