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NHL at the halfway pole: Eastern Conference

Montreal Canadiens' Brendan Gallagher celebrates his goal with teammates Max Pacioretty (R),...

Montreal Canadiens' Brendan Gallagher celebrates his goal with teammates Max Pacioretty (R), Francis Bouillon (C), David Desharnais (L), and Josh Gorges (L) against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Toronto February 27, 2013. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:02 PM ET

In the next few days, all the teams in the National Hockey League will be playing their 24th game and hitting the halfway point of this lockout-shortened season. It has been a wild, intense, injury-filled scramble so far, but now we have a decent sample size of what we've got. Here's what we've learned about the teams in the Eastern Conference so far ...

Tomorrow: The Western Conference.

MONTREAL: From worst to first for the Habs this season. Getting top D Andrei Markov and captain Brian Gionta back have been keys. The kids -- Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher and Lars Eller -- have given them depth and energy. F Brandon Prust might be the best free-agent signing in the league and any team with the good Carey Price in nets has a chance to win every game. Second in five-on-five scoring shows how far they've come from depending on their power play.


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