Montreal bracing for judgment week

Montreal is back in the thick of the playoff race and on the verge of contending for the Northeast Division

Updated: January 23, 2004, 11:27 AM ET
By By Jim Wilkie | NHL Insider
By the end of the week we'll know whether to take the Montreal Canadiens more seriously.

Already one of the biggest surprises of the season based on their current sixth-place standing in the Eastern Conference, the Canadiens (23-16-6-2) have lost just once in their past 10 games (7-1-2) and are suddenly just five points behind conference leaders Toronto and Philadelphia.

Patrice Brisebois
Patrice Brisebois has won over the Montreal fans this season.
"I think we realize we can play with the big teams," Canadiens defenseman Patrice Brisebois told the Ottawa Sun. "When we play Philadelphia or Toronto or Detroit, we believe we have a chance to win and that's huge. Last year, when we faced the big teams, we knew it was going to be a tough night."