Many believed the Montreal Canadiens would be a "bubble team" at this point in the season -- a squad that missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2011-12 but possibly could contend for a spot this season.
Instead, heading into their game Tuesday against the Washington Capitals, the Canadiens found themselves sitting atop the Northeast Division and three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the lead in the Eastern Conference.
Certainly, it's helped that standout defenseman Andrei Markov has been able to stay on the ice. Markov, 34, has 24 points (seven goals, 17 assists) in 38 games. Combine that with the Norris Trophy-type season P.K. Subban is enjoying (he's tied for the team lead with 32 points in 32 games) and the goaltending Carey Price has provided, and the Canadiens (25-8-5) have had a chance to win on a nightly basis.
At the end of the day, though, the bulk of credit has to go to coach Michel Therrien. That's why, at the three-quarter mark of the schedule, Therrien has earned NHL.com's nod for the Jack Adams Trophy.