With a 5-1 win over the Flyers on Thursday night, the Canadiens surpassed their point total from last year with 21 games still left to play in the regular seasonby Pierre-Antoine Mercier, translated by Shauna Denis @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com
MONTREAL - This year has been night and day for the Canadiens on and off the ice compared to the 2017-18 campaign.
The current iteration of the Habs has been full of surprises since the season began. Coming off a tough year, Claude Julien's troops have bounced back by piling up 71 points in the standings, matching last season's point total with 21 games still left to be played.
Those aren't the only stats that have trended in the right direction for the Canadiens this year.
In 2017-18, the Habs finished 28th-overall in goals-per-game, having lit the lamp an average of 2.52 times a night a year ago. This year, the team is sitting at No. 14 in the NHL in that category, averaging 2.98 goals-per-game.
Video: FLA@MTL: Kotkaniemi scores after gorgeous toe drag
Last year, the Habs were 29th in the League with 207 goals for in 82 games. They're currently ranked 13th with 182 goals through 61 games.
That might have something to do with the team's increased efficiency up front. In terms of shots-per-game, there isn't much difference between the 2018-19 squad and the 2017-18 edition of the team. Last year, the Habs finished 10th in the NHL with an average of 32.8 shots per game, compared to this year's average of 33.3 shots each night, which is good for fifth in the League. The biggest difference? Those shots are going in more frequently. Currently, the team has enjoyed seven four-goal nights, 12 five-goal outings, and three games have ended with the Canadiens lighting the lamp on six or more occasions.
Video: MTL@CBJ: Tatar goes top shelf for second goal
A testament to the team's character and never-say-die attitude, the current Habs are also tied for first in the NHL with Calgary for the League-lead in wins when trailing after two periods, having come from behind after 40 minutes seven times this season.
Video: EDM@MTL: Domi finishes beautiful wraparound
A first since the 2014-15 season
During Thursday's 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre, Tomas Tatar became the third Hab this season to hit the 20 goals plateau.
He joins Brendan Gallagher (26) and Max Domi (20) in that capacity, marking the first time since the 2014-15 season that Canadiens roster features at least three 20-goal scorers.
Video: PHI@MTL: Domi, Tatar connect for goal
Also worth noting is that this is only the sixth time in franchise history that two first-year Habs each score 20 goals or more.
The last Canadiens pair of newcomers to achieve the feat were Brian Gionta and Michael Cammalleri in 2009-10.