Knocking off a Stanley Cup favorite and the defending Stanley Cup champions on their way to a hard-fought loss in the Eastern Conference Finals, followed by a blazing 7-3-1 record to start the season - does that sound like the NHL's worst team? According to the results of our projection system published in the 2010-11 Hockey Prospectus annual, yes.
By opening the hood and looking at the numbers behind the projection we'll determine if this prediction is likely to be filed in the same waste bin as last year's forecast for Colorado (27th) and Phoenix (28th), or if the Habs are truly on the eve of a truly brutal collapse.
Thank you Gary Bettman
If Montreal truly becomes the worst team in the NHL, the tumble isn't nearly as far as you'd think despite their spectacular finish in the final four. Though their complete lack of even-strength offense is well-established, less is known about their terrible defense, which allowed the 5th most shots in the league, despite blocking the 3rd most. Only the Edmonton Oilers spent a significantly higher proportion of each game in their own end, watching their opponents move the puck at will.