Montreal Canadiens (A) 25-10-6 Sure they have had some bumps and the power
play has not been there but how do you argue with a record that has them on pace
for 112 points. Last year the Canadiens were 20-13-8 at this time and had scored
6 fewer goals and allowed 8 more goals.
Power Play (D) The d is for disjointed, something is wrong and although
the Canadiens have scored 6 power play goals in their last 3 games who knows if
the problem is fixed. They are currently ranked 24th in the league and that is
just not acceptable with the firepower they have. Last year as we are all aware
the Canadiens had the league’s most lethal power play.
Penalty Kill (B+) Ranked 11th in the league and could be a whole lot
better if not for some trouble with soft clearing attempts up the middle of the
ice. Last year the Canadiens had the 15th ranked penalty kill.
Carey Price (A) 16-4-5 Carey has kept the Canadiens in many games they
had no place being in and is currently riding a twelve game streak in which he
is unbeaten in regulation. Carey also earned his first All Star birth. Price is
7th in goals against average with a 2.30 mark and has a .921 save percentage
which is good enough for 9th in save percentage. Carey is currently injured for
the second time this season. Last year after 25 decisions Price was 13-9-3.
Jaroslav Halak (B) 9-6-1 Jaroslav has had an interesting season thus far.
He played very well in his first 10 games but got little help offensively and
won just three of those games; those three wins came in the games in which he
allowed just one goal. Since then however he has won six of his last seven and
not once has he held the opposition to less than 2 goals. Halak ranks 22nd in
save percentage and 26th in goals against average.
Marc Denis (NA) Has played just a period this year and he looked terrible
deep in his crease and flopping around like David Aebischer. But 1 period is not
fair to use as judgment.
Robert Lang (A) 16-16-32. Lang leads the Canadiens in both goals and
points and is a +11 thus far. Most had Lang coming to Montreal in a support role
and that seemed to be the case for the first 10 games in which Lang had 3 goals
and 3 assists. Since then Lang has become the Habs go to offensive centre. Last
year after 41 games Lang had 13 goals and 18 assists and was a +11.
Andrei Kostitsyn (B-) 13-12-25 It appears Andrei Kostitsyn is
establishing himself as a slow starter and hot finisher. Andrei had just 3 goals
and 4 assists in his first 20 games. Since then he has scored 10 and added 8
assists in his last 17 games. Andrei missed 4 games because of two injuries one
a lower body injury and the second a concussion. This year the key for Andrei
has appears to be separation from Alex Kovalev which whom he thrived with last
year. Last year after 37 games Andrei had 11 goals and 12 assists.
Sergei Kostitsyn (C+) 8-10-18 Sergei has had a bit of the sophomore slump
and got away from the style of play which made such an important player last
season. Sergei like many of the Canadiens have improved their game since the
injury bug hit and players have been recalled from Hamilton. He has been
scratched from the line up three times this year. Last year after his first 38
games Sergei had scored 9 goals and added 11 assists. On an positive note Sergei
has nine points in his last 11 games.
Tomas Plekanec (C) 9-11-20 Tomas continued where he left off from last
years playoffs, uninspired and playing like a little girl as he said in last
year’s playoffs. In his first 32 games, Plekanec had only 6 goals and 7 assists,
terrible for a player who scored 69 points last year and was the Canadiens top
offensive centre. Plekanec has only 2 power play goals this season but has 3
short handed goals already a career best. Last year after 41 games Plekanec had
scored 12 goals and added 20 assists.
Alex Kovalev (A-) 11-21-32 Alex has been working hard and playing well
all season long but like many of the Habs has only recently has he been rewarded
for his play. Kovalev’s power play points are not there but he has produced well
at even strength and has a +11 rating because of it. Since having the C sewn on
the front of his sweater the Canadiens are 9-3-1. Last year after 41 games Alex
was dominating on the power play and had scored 21 power play points and 38
points total but was just a +4.
Max Pacioretty (A) 2-2-4 Although he has only played 5 games Max seems to
have found a perfect spot on Kovalev’s left wing. Max plays a solid north south
game and goes to the net hard which is exactly what Alex needed. Pacioretty has
progressed very quickly for a player who played his first pro game this year.
Pacioretty will have to continue his soild play even after the high of his first
call up wears off.
Maxim Lapierre (A) 8-5-13 Lapierre has been a perfect 4th line centre all
season long and has picked up the slack since Koivu went down with an injury.
Lapierre is the Canadiens best face off man and ranks 14th in the league at
54.4%. Last year after 38 games Lapierre had 5 goals and had six assists. Of
note Lapierre recorded his first career hat trick against the Florida Panthers.
Guillaume Latendresse (C) 7-9-16 Guillaume Latendresse found himself in a
similar position to Sergei Kostitsyn early in the year as both started red hot
but were scratched and having trouble finding their game since November.
Recently he has found life on a line with Maxim Lapierre and Tom Kostopoulos on
what looks like to be the Canadiens energy line. Gui helps them dominate down
low and is getting a lot of puck time. Last year after 34 games he had 11 goals
but just 2 assists.
Tom Kostopoulos (A-) 3-9-12 Despite a couple of games where Tom was not
his usual self causing havoc and out working every player on the ice, he has
been wonderful in every aspect of the game. Of his 12 points, 5 have come in the
last 7 games. Last year after 37 games Tom had 3 goals and 4 assists.
Kyle Chipchura (B) 0-2-2 Not a whole lot to judge him on as he has only
played 6 games and never played more than12 minutes but he has been a decent 4th
line centre and has picked up 2 assists this season. Kyle had 2 goals and zero
assists in his first 6 games last season. Kyle will need to work harder and
improve his 40% face-off percentage if he wants to stay in Montreal when players
start returning from their injuries.
Steve Begin (B+) 5-4-9 Offensively Begin has had a great start but only
after being a healthy scratch did his determination return. Begin leads all
Canadiens in hits and has been a tenacious penalty killer. Last year after 31
games Steve had 3 goals and 4 assists.
Matt D’Agostini (B) 6-2-8 Matt came up and lit a spark under the
Canadiens but after his first 11 games he has pulled a vanishing act. In those
first 11 games Matt had all of his points and was shooting the puck every chance
he got. Now he is holding on to the puck too long and appears to be a pass first
player. Matt has also been on the wrong end of the +/- scale recently as he is a
-8 in his last 10 games.
Saku Koivu (A) 7-15-22 Saku was having a great start prior to his lower
body injury. Koivu has been his usual self in the face of circle and was a also
a +11 to start the year off. After 28 games last year Saku had 5 goals and had
15 assists. Koivu has been practicing and appears close to returning to the line
up; he will more than likely take the place of Kyle Chipchura but will have to
earn his ice time with the way the team is playing.
Chris Higgins (D) 5-4-9 Higgins started very well scoring 4 goals and
adding 3 assits in his first 7 games but since then had gone ice cold, scoring
just 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 14 games. Higgins had 8 goals and 5 assists
in his first 21 games last year. He may be distracted this year with his name
swirling in the papers in numerous possible trade rumours but that is no excuse
for his poor play. At this time many must wonder if D’Agostini and or Pacioretty
bring more to this team than he can.
Alex Tanguay (A) 10-16-26 Alex has been getting his name on the score
sheet but since mid November had not been noticeable on the ice. Tanguay does
have two game winning goals in the shootout. If only Tanguay played every game
like it was a Saturday night, in 11 Saturday games he has 7 goals and 7 assists.
Last year after 34 games Tanguay had 7 goals and 21 assists.
Georges Laraque (D) 0-2-2 Laraque has not been able to shake a groin
injury that has nagged him all season long. He’s had a few good shifts this year
and a good game or two but in his 17 games this year he really has been a non
factor. Laraque had 1 goal and 2 assists in his first 17 games last year.
Ben Maxwell (C) 0-0-0 Pretty much a non-factor in each of the seven games he played. More than likely was a combination of not a lot of ice time and even less confidence. For the most part he played a pretty safe but did have a couple of nice shifts against the Capitals in his first game.
Andrei Markov (A) 6-25-21 Andrei being healthy and playing near 25
minutes per game is a major reason the Canadiens find themselves near the top of
the conference. He has been unable to keep the Canadiens power play on top of
the league as no suitable trigger man has emerged. Markov is headed to the All
Star game for a second straight year. Last year after 41 games Markov had 10
goals and 19 assists.
Mike Komisarek (B+) 1-3-4 Not his best start to the season but you can
tell he is important when you look at the Canadiens record with and without him.
18-4-3 with him in the line up and 7-6-3 without him. Komisarek has been great
at shutting down star players when matched up against them. Last year after 25
games Komisarek had 3 goals and 3 assists but points are the least of his
Roman Hamrlik (B) 2-13-15 Not as good as last year but his mistakes are
still few and far between. He has been trying more offensively this season and
opened the ice up at even strength. Montreal has not lost in regulation when
Hamrlik has recorded a point. Last year after 40 games Hamrlik had 2 goals and
Josh Gorges (A+) 1-7-8 Josh has progressed again so very much and had a
fabulous first half. When Komisarek went down he joined Markov on the top paring
and did not miss a beat. Josh is the 6th best defenseman in the league with a
+16. Josh also scored his first goal in a Canadiens uniform after 89 games. Last
year Gorges had 4 assists and was a -5 after 41 games.
Patrice Brisebois (B+) 3-9-12 Patrice has been a pleasant surprise and
his risky play has rarely cost the Canadiens. Patrice is just 16 games from
reaching 1,000 for his career. He’s also been very disciplined averaging less
than 1 penalty every 9 games. Last year after 37 games Patrice had a -4 rating
and had 3 goals and 6 assists.
Francis Bouillon (B+) 3-3-6 Francis has had his best year in quite
sometime, he has been healthy and rarely has been dominated by bigger forwards.
Bouillon has also been his usual self along the boards eliminating countless
forwards that try to go around him. Last year after 36 games Bouillon had just 3
Mathieu Dandenault (B+) 0-2-2 Not good at forward but when Komisarek went
out Dandenault looked great on defence before he broke his arm. At the very
least if Carbonneau does not believe he can help on defense he definitely
improved his trade value. Last year after 20 games Mathieu had 3 goals and 2
Yannick Weber (NA) 0-0-0 Yannick has played in just 1 game this year.
Ryan O’Byrne (C+) 0-3-3 Everyone will remember and talk about his own goal against the Islanders for a long time but Ryan still has a lot of untapped potential. He had an up and down season and is now back in Hamilton but he is about as far along as Komisarek was at this point in his career. Last year after 22 games Ryan had 1 goal and 4 assists.