Canucks: How do they compare to the Montreal Canadiens? (Part 1)

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 02: Goaltender Thatcher Demko #35 of the Vancouver Canucks defends the net near Brendan Gallagher #11 of the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at the Bell Centre on February 2, 2021 in Montreal, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-3. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 02: Goaltender Thatcher Demko #35 of the Vancouver Canucks defends the net near Brendan Gallagher #11 of the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at the Bell Centre on February 2, 2021 in Montreal, Canada. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-3. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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MONTREAL, QC – FEBRUARY 02: Goaltender Thatcher Demko #35 of the Vancouver Canucks defends the net near Brendan Gallagher #11 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC – FEBRUARY 02: Goaltender Thatcher Demko #35 of the Vancouver Canucks defends the net near Brendan Gallagher #11 of the Montreal Canadiens. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The Vancouver Canucks are still months away from playing NHL hockey again.

Like the rest of us, they’ve been on the sidelines, watching 16 other teams battle it for the ultimate prize. After a crazy first month to the playoffs, we’ve officially reached the Final Four, meaning that, over the next week or so, fans will be treated to the best team from each division.

Well, kind of.

All four teams that finished atop their division at the end of the regular season are no longer competing for the Stanley Cup. Both Pittsburgh and Toronto were knocked out in the first round, while Carolina and Colorado once again fell short of their high expectations, not even pushing their second-round series to seven games.

Of course, you have to give kudos to the clubs that have made it this far, all of whom will argue that it’s all about what you achieve in the postseason, not the regular season.

The New York Islanders have once again proven that they aren’t a team that anyone should sleep on, and both the Vegas Golden Knights and Tampa Bay Lightning continue to not only get big performances from their star players, but to also build upon their postseason experience and success from the past few years.

But there’s one more team that we have to talk about, a team that no one expected to even be here at this point, and that would be the the Montreal Canadiens.

Like the Islanders, the Canadiens secured the fourth and final spot in their division, but their journey to the playoffs was much different compared to the rest. The Canadiens finished the regular season with 59 points, good for 18th in the league, and have been labeled as the heavy underdogs for all of their series as a result, including their upcoming match-up against Vegas.

So what does that have to do with the Canucks?

As mentioned, the Canadiens claimed the fourth and final spot in the all-Canadian division, but not by much. They only finished five points ahead of the Calgary Flames, eight points ahead of the Ottawa Senators, and nine points ahead of the last-place Canucks. In their last 15 games of the year, the Canadiens only secured 12 of a possible 30 points, posting a record of 5-8-2, with two of those wins coming in overtime.

But, like we’ve seen before, the Canadiens woke up and bounced back at the right time. Since their game four loss to the Maple Leafs, the Canadiens have rattled off seven consecutive victories, outscoring their opponents 24-12 during that span. They’re proving that regular season statistics don’t mean much if you can’t perform in the playoffs, and, regardless of how they got there, have deservingly earned the title of “Kings of the North”.

Like their fans, the Canadiens are hoping that they can ride the underdog momentum all the way to the promise land, something that the three Canadian teams below them might also have achieved had they qualified for the postseason.

With that being said, The Canuck Way is going to take a deeper dive into how the Canucks compared to the Canadiens this season, and how it could affect each team’s playoff success moving forward.

Let’s start with goaltending.