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Canadiens Remaining March Schedule and Lottery Implications



Canadiens schedule March

The Montreal Canadiens are yet to register a win in March, owing to their challenging schedule, which represents the most difficult strength of schedule in the league.

To get a better idea of the probable outcome of the remaining games this month, we can take a look at how the Canadiens have performed in their last 10 games, and compare it to the recent play of their opponents.

As it stands, the Canadiens have a 2-6-2 record in their last 10 games.

They’ve controlled a little less than 43 percent of the shots in that stretch, not to mention, less than 42 percent of the high-danger chances, resulting in an expected goals for percentage (xGF%) of 44%.


March 14th, Pittsburgh Penguins – Last 10 Games: 7-2-1.

The Penguins have found their rhythm of late, earning seven wins in their last 10 games. They’ve done so thanks to excellent showings from their stars, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, as well as strong efforts from support players such as Jason Zucker.

They’ve controlled almost 55 percent of the shots in that stretch, and more impressively, almost 60 percent of the high-danger scoring chances.

Consequently, their expected goals for percentage (xGF%) is hovering above 55 percent.

Seeing as the Canadiens are missing half their roster and are on the second leg of back-to-back games, this feels like an easy win for the Penguins.

Prediction: Another loss for the Canadiens.


March 16th & 30th, Florida Panthers – Last 10 Games: 6-3-1.

Earlier in the season there was hope the Panthers would finish among the league’s bottom 10 teams, which would have yielded another excellent early pick for the Canadiens in the first round.

But their underlying numbers told another story. They were losing games they deserved to win.

The results have finally caught up to the process, and with it, hopes for another top-10 pick have been dashed.

But there is a silver lining to their resurgence. The Canadiens will face the Panthers twice in their final stretch of games, and the numbers suggest both games should end in Florida’s favour.

In their last 10 games, the Panthers have controlled more than 60 percent of the shots, 58 percent of the high-danger chances, and 59 percent of the expected goals.

Prediction: Easy wins for the Panthers.


March 18th & 21st, Tampa Bay Lightning – Last 10 Games: 3-5-2.

The Lightning have been a mess of late, and consequently, have struggled to earn points in the standings. Their underlying numbers are better than the Canadiens of late, but not to the point that you’d expect from a team that was recently considered a Stanley Cup contender.

They’ve controlled just 50 percent of shots, 50 percent of the high-danger chances, and 50 percent of the expected goals.

Perfectly mediocre.

They’re still a better team than the Canadiens, but they’re vulnerable, which may finally lead to a win for the Canadiens.

Prediction: The Canadiens earn their first win of the month, splitting the two-game series.


March 23rd, Boston Bruins – Last 10 Games: 8-2-0

The Bruins have ‘struggled’ of late, relatively speaking.

But despite losing twice in their last 10 games, they’re still far and away the best team in the NHL, and should have no problems dispatching a lowly club like the Canadiens.

They’ve only managed to control a little over 50 percent of the shots, high-danger chances, and expected goals recently, but that’s still much better than the underlying numbers produced by the Habs.

Prediction: By all logic, the Bruins should easily win, which, in hockey, means the Canadiens will keep the game unreasonably close, perhaps even earning a point in overtime.


March 25th, Columbus Blue Jackets, Last 10: 3-4-3.

The Blue Jackets represent the Canadiens’ best odds of earning a win this month.

In fact, they’re the only team the Habs will face that is currently lower than them in the standings.

With that in mind, the Blue Jackets have still had better outings in recent games than the Canadiens, controlling 44 percent of the shots, 48 percent of the high-danger chances, and 46 percent of the expected goals.

Prediction: Should be a Canadiens win, but don’t be surprised if it goes to the wire.


March 27th, Buffalo Sabres, Last 10: 4-5-1.

The Sabres have had a hard time putting together complete games, which has led to a relatively difficult March.

They still controlled over 50 percent of the shots in the last 10 games, but you’d be hard-pressed to argue they’re peaking at the right moment, seeing as they only had a 42.5 percent control of the high-danger chances, and 45.5 percent of the expected goals.

The teams split their first two games, with the Canadiens prevailing 3-2 in their first meeting and the Sabres thumping the Habs 7-2 in the last meeting.

Prediction: The Canadiens could potentially squeak out a win, but the discrepancy in talent should lead to a Sabres win.


March 28th, Philadelphia Flyers, Last 10: 2-7-1.

The Flyers are tumbling down the standings faster than Jason Derulo fell down the stairs at the Met Gala.

They actually represent a legitimate threat to the Canadiens in terms of their lottery odds. Their strength of schedule is not as difficult, but they’re essentially in a free fall at the moment, and there seems to be no end in sight to their struggles.

The good news for lottery aficionados is they’re still controlling more shots (48%), high-danger chances (49.5%), and expected goals (47.5 percent) than the Habs in recent games.

Prediction: The fans get horrible value for their money, with the Flyers eventually emerging victorious in overtime.

Brass Tacks

In this scenario, the Canadiens pick up 6 of the 18 available points, which should keep them in the hunt for a top-5 pick at the 2023 Draft, and perhaps even lead to top-4 odds if a team like the Anaheim Ducks finds its rhythm.

The Canadiens’ current form simply does not justify encouraging predictions, especially when you consider two-thirds of the remaining March matchups are road games.

Samuel Montembeault could throw a wrench in their plans, and there are no guarantees in hockey, but logic dictates the Canadiens will accumulate very few points in their next nine games.

All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via NaturalStatTrick.

All strength of schedule and lottery odds information via Tankathon.

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This chase for the bottom is a crass joke.

The NHL wisely set up a system to attempt to discourage teams from striving too hard for the cellar.

You can see the exact percentage at the website btw. The Habs currently are at 8.5% of #1 overall and realistically can overtake Anaheim to go from 28th to 29th and then have a 9.5% chance of getting the no.1.

I’m sick of this talk that so disrespects the game and is part of the loser gambling culture of today.

If the Habs were ever able to outperform the current expectations and prove to this AHL team that it can compete and especially, individual players leap in confidence, it is infinitely a more valuable thing than gaining 1 freaking percentage point in odds!

Finally, I suggest the NHL add one more twist to this formula for a team’s odds at getting higher picks: add a random ping pong ball drawing. This one would come prior to the current one and establish which team has which odds in the current drawing.

That would add to this attempt at the league’s teams staying true to winning. No team would then gain any advantage by tanking, as they’d have zero idea if that would help or hurt them. And it would finish the job and completely stop this insanity of any fan of any team rooting for your own team to lose.


Looks like Monty threw a wrench into those plans right off the hop. Dang it. We just passed Philly in the standings, so that upcoming matchup with the Flyers just became all the more important in the battle for the basement.


These Canadiens show up with winning not lotteries in mind . Putting up another 8 points over the remaining games would leave them with 68 points . Last season’s 27th place team , Chicago , finished with 68 points . Our boys won’t let up , so we should reach that number or in any case we can expect a hard push from this fine group of professionals .

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