The Canadiens have passed the one quarter mark of the season and find themselves in a battle for first overall. Our grades begin with the goaltenders and defencemen.
Carey Price – Grade: A . Comments: Carey Price had an awesome start to this season, basically picking up where he was at last season. After 7 games he was 7-0-0, with a 1.29 GAA and .961 save percentage. His next two starts he allowed an uncharacteristic 9 goals against then went on the injury reserve list with a lower body injury. After a 3 week hiatus, he returned and looked a little rusty but strong overall. Now we’ll see how long he’ll miss with that lower body issue getting re-aggravated.
1st Quarter Stats: Games 10 , Wins 8 , Losses 2 , 2 Shutouts , GAA 2.11 , Save Percentage .934 .
Michael Condon – Grade: A- . Comments: Michael has had a very strong start to his rookie season. He was undefeated in is first seven games, five as the primary starter when Price was injured. His next four starts he was 1-2-1 with 13 goals against. Considering he is still adjusting to the NHL and was thrust into the starter’s role while doing so, he deserves much credit.
1st Quarter Stats: Games 11, Wins 7, Losses 2, OT Losses 2, GAA 2.23, Save Percentage .913
P.K. Subban – Grade: A . Comments: Pernell Karl has simplified his game offensively, relying less on his big booming shot at every opportunity to use it, and more on looking to pass to a team mate. The results have been a decline in goals but his points are on pace for a career season. His shot totals are also on pace for a career high, indicating that this new strategy is resulting in more actual shots to the net and fewer blocked and deflected ones.
1st Quarter Stats: Games 21, Goals 1, Assists 16, +10, 16 PIMS, 1 PPG, 51 Shots
Andrei Markov – Grade: A . Comments: Andrei set a personal career best already this season with a 5 point game, which also tied a team record for most points on the road [with Sheldon Souray]. Markov has provided his usual steady defensive game with minimal mistakes, while kicking in timely offence as P.K.’s usual partner.
1st Quarter Stats: Games 21, Goals 2, Assists 14, +6, 6 PIMS, 2 PPG, 27 Shots
Jeff Petry – Grade: B+ . Comments: Jeff has continued to provide solid play in both sides of the ice. Since joining Montreal before last season’s trade deadline, he has fit in very well with the rest of the team settling into the second pairing. He usually leads the second wave of the power play and chips in time killing penalties. This season he’s been partnered mostly with Alexei Emelin until Emelin’s recent injury, and the two have formed a steady duo.
1st Quarter Stats: Games 21, Goals 3, Assists 6, +5, 6 Pims, 1 PPG, 2 GWG
Alexei Emelin – Grade: B+ . Comments: Alexei is much improved over the previous season, especially when he’s paired with Jeff Petry. His defensive play and decision making in his own zone are enhanced during the first quarter. Emelin has bumped up his physical play a little, picking his spots when to take out an opponent.
1st Quarter Stats: Games 17, 2 Assists, +4, 14 Pim, 8 Shots
Tom Gilbert – Grade: B+ . Comments: Tom as a third pairing defenceman has worked out well. So far this season Gilbert has been in the top 5 in the league for completing a pass from the defensive zone. His offensive production has not been much, but his defensive play has been generally good with a minimal amount of mistakes.
1st Quarter Stats: Games 21, 1 Assist, +9, 6 PIMS, 18 Shots
Nathan Beaulieu – Grade: B+ . Comments: Nathan has continued to impress as a starter this season. He’s not hesitant to stick up for teammates physically when it warrants it. His offensive game has gradually improved, given his 3rd pairing minutes with limited power play time.
1st Quarter Stats: Games 21, 2 Goals, 5 Assists, +6, 19 PIMS, 1 PPG, 21 Shots
Greg Pateryn – Grade: N/A. Comments: Greg finally had a chance to get into the lineup after Alexei Emelin’s injury and has made the most of it. Pateryn adds more physicality to the team when he plays and has underrated puck handling and passing skills.
1st Quarter Stats: Games 4, +1, 2 PIMS, 3 Shots