A balanced attack is something that played an instrumental role in the Habs’
success in the third quarter of the season. No fewer than six players up
front averaged over half a point per game and more often than not it was a
different line that was scoring from game to game. Our third quarter
grades conclude with the forwards.
Stats are as of games played through April 3rd.
Colby Armstrong: C: The timing of his season-ending injury (although
there is hope that he would be available to play in the postseason) couldn’t
have been worse as Armstrong was playing his best hockey of the season at the
time. He was passable when moved up to the third line (even though he
played too much in that role) and finally managed to pot a couple of goals as
3rd Quarter Stats: 11 GP, 2 goals, 0 assists, +4 rating, 4 PIMS, 14 SOG,
11 hits, 5
Season Stats: 35 GP, 2 goals, 3 assists, +2 rating, 12 PIMS, 31 SOG, 34
hits, 20 blocks
Michael Blunden: C-: He was brought up to provide a physical presence
like he did last season. Instead, he was barely noticeable on the ice.
He certainly didn’t make any glaring mistakes but he more or less was just
killing time out there. Last year, that would have been mildly acceptable
but this year, more is required.
3rd Quarter, Season Stats: 4 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, -1 rating, 4 PIMS,
4 SOG, 2 hits, 1 block
David Desharnais: B-: His faceoff percentage is slowly improving while
his production wasn’t bad either. Still, I often find myself waiting to
see more from him. Last year he had much more of an impact on the ice,
whether it was handling the puck or even when he was backchecking.
Re-discovering last years’ form would be huge for Desharnais.
3rd Quarter Stats: 12 GP, 2 goals, 5 assists, +1 rating, 4 PIMS,
17 SOG, 2 hits, 7
Season Stats: 36 GP, 9 goals, 13 assists, even rating, 20 PIMS, 54 SOG, 13
hits, 17 blocks
Gabriel Dumont: B-: Although I find it laughable that some want to
pencil him into a full-time roster spot after just a handful of games, he has
certainly earned some praise. He plays with an edge and doesn’t back down,
those are always elements that will help a team. His lack of size has
proven to be problematic at times but as a potential injury fill-in down the
stretch, the Habs should be comfortable using him.
3rd Quarter, Season Stats: 8 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, even rating, 13 PIMS,
13 SOG, 16 hits, 6 blocks
Lars Eller: C: There were games when Eller seemingly could dominate at
will but there were quite a few more where he had way too little of an impact on
the game. I’ve found that he has become too puck-dominant lately and would
be better suited utilizing his wingers more often. If he can do that, I
think he can finish the year on a high note.
3rd Quarter Stats: 12 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, -4 rating, 8 PIMS,
28 SOG, 25 hits, 11
Season Stats: 34 GP, 4 goals, 13 assists, +1 rating, 26 PIMS, 35 SOG, 64
hits, 25 blocks
Alex Galchenyuk: C+: He is starting to find his second wind and is
regaining some of his lost confidence after he struggled following his quick
start to the season. If only he could hit the net with his devastating
shot now. I’d like to see him get a bit of powerplay time to try to get
his offensive game going.
3rd Quarter Stats: 12 GP, 0 goals, 3 assists, +1 rating, 6 PIMS, 20 SOG,
9 hits, 7
Season Stats: 36 GP, 3 goals, 13 assists, +8 rating, 16 PIMS, 58 SOG, 18
hits, 19 blocks
Brendan Gallagher: B+: He hasn’t been as dominant as he was early on
but he still is finding ways to produce consistently. His physical game
has fallen by the wayside although given what he goes through standing around
the net, I’m not sure that’s necessarily a bad thing. A final quarter like
this past one would go a long way to boosting his hopes at the Calder Trophy.
3rd Quarter Stats: 12 GP, 5 goals, 3 assists, even rating, 2 PIMS, 35 SOG,
4 hits, 10
Season Stats: 32 GP, 11 goals, 10 assists, +10 rating, 21 PIMS, 86 SOG,
hits, 20 blocks
Brian Gionta: B: Although it appears to be trendy to criticize the
captain, he provided the secondary offensive boost that they need from him.
He and Ryder have played well off each other for the most part despite the fact
they play the same position and have been crossed up a few times as a result.
He’s doing his job out there though despite the criticism.
3rd Quarter Stats: 12 GP, 3 goals, 5 assists, +6 rating, 0 PIMS, 25 SOG,
5 hits, 2
Season Stats: 36 GP, 10 goals, 10 assists, +5 rating, 4 PIMS, 89 SOG, 27
hits, 14 blocks
Jeff Halpern: B-: After reading about how much he had struggled with
the Rangers this year, I was a little concerned when Montreal claimed him off of
waivers. Fortunately, Halpern has provided the boost the team hoped for
both at the faceoff dot and the penalty kill. So far, so good.
3rd Quarter Stats (with Montreal only): 5 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, +1 rating, 2 PIMS,
3 SOG, 10 hits, 3
Season Stats: 35 GP, 1 goal, 2 assists, -4 rating, 8 PIMS, 16 SOG, 46
hits, 16 blocks
Travis Moen: C: Although he still isn’t the player he was when he
first came to the Habs, this was the first stretch of games this season where he
showed some signs that his gritty game is still there. He continues to
play well in his own zone and at least these past few weeks has made a bit more
of an impact physically. Small steps for sure but it’s a step in the right
3rd Quarter Stats: 12 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, even rating, 16 PIMS,
6 SOG, 23 hits, 2 blocks
Season Stats: 35 GP, 2 goals, 2 assists, -2 rating, 32 PIMS, 19 SOG, 61 hits, 15 blocks
Max Pacioretty: B: Last years’ sniper isn’t sniping but is still
putting points on the board at a better pace than last year. The Erik Cole
trade seems to have eliminated some of the edge to Pacioretty’s game, no longer
is his line now one where they could crash and bang. Rediscovering that
edge would likely go a long way towards helping him find his goal scoring rhythm
3rd Quarter Stats: 12 GP, 3 goals, 7 assists, even rating, 2 PIMS, 49 SOG, 13 hits,
Season Stats: 32 GP, 11 goals, 19 assists, +6 rating, 20 PIMS, 121 SOG,
hits, 10 blocks
Tomas Plekanec: A-: Even though he didn’t play with Ryder too much
during his first stint with the Canadiens, the two of them developed some quick
chemistry. As a result, Plekanec’s line has been the dominant one and the
centre has been a large reason why. Not only are his playmaking skills
setting up lots of chances but he shoots enough to keep defenders honest as
3rd Quarter Stats: 12 GP, 3 goals, 9 assists, +7 rating, 2 PIMS, 28 SOG,
4 hits, 4
Season Stats: 36 GP, 13 goals, 14 assists, +6 rating, 18 PIMS, 106 SOG, 17
hits, 14 blocks
Brandon Prust: C+: The rust is there for the rugged forward after
missing a few weeks due to a shoulder issue. He is, however, improving
with each game so it’s reasonable to hope that he can get back to his
early-season form before too long. Cutting down his minutes slightly and
easing him back may not be a bad way to go.
3rd Quarter Stats: 4 GP, 1 goal, 0 assists, -1 rating, 5 PIMS, 6 SOG,
5 hits, 4
Season Stats: 28 GP, 5 goals, 5 assists, +12 rating, 86 PIMS, 33 SOG, 65
hits, 20 blocks
Michael Ryder: A: He always has been a streaky scorer, even dating
back to his original days with Montreal. These past few weeks, he has been
on quite the hot streak and has quickly become one of the Habs’ most dangerous
offensive threats. Even more impressive is that he has been doing this
while playing on his opposite wing.
3rd Quarter Stats: 11 GP, 7 goals, 3 assists, +2 rating, 4 PIMS, 31 SOG,
6 hits, 7
Season Stats: 35 GP, 13 goals, 15 assists, +3 rating, 14 PIMS, 80 SOG, 26
hits, 14 blocks
Ryan White: D: Getting hurt certainly didn’t help his cause but when
he was in the lineup, he was doing very little to justify keeping his spot when
other injured players return. He needs to quickly discover the ‘line’
between going over the edge, which he did too often early on this year, and
playing passively which he has done lately.
3rd Quarter Stats: 5 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, +1 rating, 2 PIMS, 2 SOG,
8 hits, 5
Season Stats: 22 GP, 1 goal, 0 assists, +2 rating, 52 PIMS, 13 SOG, 40
hits, 15 blocks
N/A – Rene Bourque (DNP)