MONTREAL — After building a daunting lead atop the Atlantic Division with a record-breaking start, the Montreal Canadiens approach the NHL all-star break barely holding on to a playoff spot. Here's a by-the-numbers look at the Habs' precipitous decline ahead of Tuesday night's game against the Boston Bruins:
9 — The Canadiens started the 2015-16 season with nine straight wins, marking the best start in the team's storied history. They also set an NHL record for most regulation wins to start a season.
10 — Montreal led the Atlantic Division by 10 points over Ottawa at the end of November, but that cushion would soon evaporate. The Habs are now fifth in the division, seven points behind the leading Florida Panthers.
6 — Total number of points Montreal earned in the month of December as they plummeted down the standings.
5 — The number of teams within two points of Montreal in the race for the second Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
5 — A big part of Montreal's decline has been the collapse of its offence. The Canadiens have scored three or more goals just five times in 21 games over December and January.
2 — Number of goals sparkplug forward Brendan Gallagher has scored since returning Jan. 1 from an injury to his left hand. Gallagher appeared to be ready to help turn Montreal's offence around with goals in his first two games back, but he has gone five without scoring since.
31.7 — The Canadiens' offence may be struggling, but it's not due to a lack of effort. Montreal is averaging 31.7 shots per game, fourth most in the league. Those shots are just not going in the net.
34 — The number of games goaltender Carey Price has missed due to injury. Montreal is 13-17-4 when their superstar isn't minding the goal.
1993 — The last time Montreal — or any Canadian team for that matter — hoisted the Stanley Cup. With the Habs' tenuous hold on the last wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, and every other Canadian team out of a playoff position entering Tuesday's games, the drought might well continue for another year.
The Canadian Press