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The Upper Canadien

17 left as Canadiens look up

It’s good to be looking up rather than down this time of year, and the Canadiens have earned the right to do that.

5 points out of 4th, 3 points out of 5th, Montreal has a real chance of proving just about everyone wrong and finishing top 5, if not top 5.

But it’s going to depend on a few things.

Carey Price has 7 shutouts. He’s tied the SO numbers of some of the best seasons Montreal goalers have ever had, the likes of Dryden, Theodore…Huet. He needs to keep his play stellar if the Canadiens want to keep fighting for 4th or 5th.

The kids need to keep up their play as well. What has been different of late? Lars Eller has come to play. He’s been a big body, he’s been smart, physical, and he’s even put points on the board. The Canadiens need depth to stay in the hunt, and Eller gives them that. Max Pacioretty also needs to continue his strong play up front. He’s been a beast for the Canadiens, ever since their come-from-behind win versus Boston in early January.

And lastly, the defence needs to stay healthy. Wisniewski, Hamrlik, Sopel, they’ve all looked good, if not great, in the past week or two. They need to stay strong.

And don’t even get me started on PK Subban. He’ll get few rookie of the year votes, but this kid can play. He is smart, physical, and has a hell of a shot. He’s going to be good for a long, long time.

Notice I didn’t particularly mention the offence? There’s a reason for that. The Habs play rope-a-dope. They demonstrated it perfectly against Atlanta on Tuesday. We saw a bit of it against Florida on Thursday. It worked last year in the playoffs, and if everyone stays healthy it can work again this year.

17 games left. Will it work against Tampa Bay? It’ll be tough, but it should make for an entertaining Saturday.

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Both teams have been hot of late, so it should be a great game. I think the key to winning tonight is goaltending. Neither Price or Thomas were particularly good last time around. They’ll both be looking to bounce back.

I believe their last meeting in Montreal went into overtime. I could see the same happening tonight.

Posted by Briney on 03/08/11 at 03:06 PM ET

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About The Upper Canadien

The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com