Before the season began, not many people expected the Montreal Canadiens to be successful or compete for a playoff spot. 

After the team traded both Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk during the offseason, many wondered where the team's offense would come from. 

While offense has been a problem on the powerplay, it hasn't during 5 on 5 action as the Habs are one of the best teams during 5 on 5 action. 

In his latest"31 Thoughts" column, Elliotte Friedman shared an opinion he got from one NHL executive on why the Habs' are successful this season compared to last year. 

"One executive on Montreal: “They play so much harder than last season.” He pointed out they picked up four out of six points when Antti Niemi replaced Carey Price for three straight games just before New Year's, and should have beaten Tampa Bay - which was the loss"

It's an interesting point considering that both Pacioretty and Galchenyuk were called out multiple times during their time in Montreal for their "compete" level. 

Source: Elliotte Friedman 31 Thoughts