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season card
GP Games played - Number of games the team has played
W Wins - Games the team has won, either in regulation or in overtime
L Losses - Games the team has lost in regulation
T Ties - Games that have ended in a tie
PTS Points - Team points, calculated from W, L, T, OTL and SOL; used to determine standings
GF Goals for - Number of goals the team has scored
GA Goals against - Number of goals scored against the team
Pittsburgh Penguins 82 40 24 18 98 228 188
Boston Bruins 82 39 30 13 91 221 194
Buffalo Sabres 82 36 29 17 89 211 187
Montreal Canadiens 82 37 32 13 87 235 208
Ottawa Senators 82 34 33 15 83 193 200
Carolina Hurricanes 82 33 41 8 74 200 219
Season's leaders see the complete stats
GP Games played - Number of games the player has set foot on the ice
G Goals - Number of goals the player has scored
A Assists - Number of goals the player has assisted in
PTS Points - Scoring points, calculated as the sum of G and A
8 Mark Recchi 82 32 42 74
25 Vincent Damphousse 76 18 41 59
11 Saku Koivu 69 14 43 57
27 Shayne Corson 62 21 34 55
26 Martin Rucinsky 78 21 32 53
GP Games played - Number of games the player has set foot on the ice
RECORD Record - Goalie record (W-L-T)
SO Shutouts - Number of games where the goaltender has not allowed a goal
GAA Goals against average - Mean goals-per-game scored on the goaltender
41 Jocelyn Thibault 47 19-15-8 2 2.47
Season results


Alain Vigneault replaces Mario Tremblay as head coach. During the offseason, Rejean Houle signs veteran goalie Andy Moog to back up Jocelyn Thibault.

Vigneault’s arrival behind the bench gets results. The Habs’ play in October and November goes a long way to putting the tough 1996-97 season in the distant past. At the end of November, the team is first in the Northeast Division, tied for the top spot with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On December 1, just weeks after recording the 6,000th point in franchise history, the Canadiens play their 5,000th NHL game.

On January 15, the team proceeds with a significant trade. Stephane Richer, Darcy Tucker and David Wilkie are dealt to Tampa Bay in exchange for Patrick Poulin, Mick Vukota and Igor Ulanov.

Two weeks later, it’s Valeri Bure’s turn to part ways with the Canadiens. The Habs’ second round draft pick in 1992 is sent to the Calgary Flames in a trade that brings Zarley Zalapski and Jonas Hoglund to Montreal.

As a result of the NHL’s participation in the Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, the team plays only five games in February. The compressed scheduled makes for an exhausting end to the season, and the Habs, already hard hit by injuries, struggle the rest of the way.

The Canadiens finish the season seventh overall in the Eastern Conference despite posting a losing record at home for the first time since 1939-40.


Facing off against the Penguins, the second seed in the East, Moog and the Habs set the tone for the series by claiming the first game on the road in Pittsburgh. Jaromir Jagr and the Penguins wake up in the second game and even the series. After splitting the next two games in Montreal, the teams return to Pittsburgh and the Canadiens surprise the home team with a 5-2 win before closing out the series by winning Game 6 at the Molson Centre.

On the eve of the conference semifinal, Martin Rucinsky creates a stir when he says that the Buffalo Sabres owe their success to one player, Dominik Hasek.

The comment appears to motivate the Sabres, who go on to sweep the series in four straight and advance to the conference final.

Mark Recchi, the Canadiens’ leading scoring during the regular season, finishes the postseason with 12 points in 12 playoff games.

The playoffs roadmap
Conference quarter-finals - Pittsburgh Penguins
Date AWAY   HOME  
April 23rd, 1998 MTL 3 PIT 2  
April 25th, 1998 MTL 1 PIT 4  
April 27th, 1998 PIT 1 MTL 3  
April 29th, 1998 PIT 6 MTL 3  
May 1st, 1998 MTL 5 PIT 2  
May 3rd, 1998 PIT 0 MTL 3  
Canadiens won best-of-seven series 4-2
Conference semi-finals - Buffalo Sabres
Date AWAY   HOME  
May 8th, 1998 MTL 2 BUF 3  
May 10th, 1998 MTL 3 BUF 6  
May 12th, 1998 BUF 5 MTL 4  
May 14th, 1998 BUF 3 MTL 1  
Buffalo won best-of-seven series 4-0