The second quarter for the Habs was full of more downs than ups but a few players put forth some good performances. Our grades conclude with the goalies and defencemen.
Mike Condon: B+… 15 GP (4-7-2) 2.75 GAA; .902 SV%; 0 SO
Condon did not have a quarter season for the ages, this is true; but, Condon cannot be blamed for much of the teams’ current lack of mojo. He has had a couple of stellar outings, some highlight reel saves and a generally calm, confident demeanor in all but a couple of appearances. Unfortunately he has let in a couple of softies, occasionally suffering from Vesa Toskalitus – where 50 minutes of game-saving magic is followed up by poor rebound control or a whiffed-on slow wrister from the blueline that makes the difference in a tight game. Overall, Condon didn’t steal any games ala Price, but put the Canadiens in a position to win most of them – remarkable in itself considering how poor an effort was witnessed over much of the slump.
Dustin Tokarski: D… 5 GP (1-3-0) 3.15 GAA; .881 SV%; 0SO
Dustin, we hardly knew ye. What we do know is that the team’s decision to replace him with Mike Condon at the beginning of the season seems like it was the right move. As a smaller goalie, the consistent control and athleticism required to replace a reliance on positioning just wasn’t there in the handful of games played last quarter. He always showed up and displayed a positive attitude during his time in Montreal (and St. John’s), but unlike Condon, he doesn’t appear to have even a remote shot at being an NHL starter at this point.
Carey Price: (Incomplete Grade)… 2 GP (2-0-0) 1.50 GAA; .934 SV%; 0 SO
Despite only playing two games, the least games played of the four goalies that suited up for the Habs this past quarter, Carey Price had the second most wins with… two. What else can be said be about the Canadiens’ franchise player? His injury coincided with a colossal drop in the standings. Worth mentioning: it may be his stickhandling prowess that is missed more than anything. As a third defenseman in the Habs’ end, Carey brings a skill that was noticeably absent from the team with him on the shelf.
Ben Scrivens: (Incomplete Grade)… 2 GP (0-2-0) 3.64 GAA; .885 SV%; 0 SO
What else can be said, a very small sample size, but after coming over from Edmonton’s AHL squad in the Kassian deal, Scrivens dropped his first two starts with a pretty pedestrian stat line. He was better than the numbers suggest and was put into a difficult situation, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for a Hammond-like string of wins from a goalie that will likely be battling Zach Fucale for minutes shortly (hopefully) after the all-star break.
P.K. Subban: A-… 20 GP, 0-10-10, +1, 25 PIMS, 0 PPG, 58 SOG
If only a handful of those one-timers had actually gone in, it could have made the difference in too many one-goal games to count. Lack of goal-scoring aside, Subban continues to lead the defence in points (and is fourth in team scoring) while playing an advanced possession game with solid defence. He has not been immune to the occasional off night (and has called himself out for it vocally) but he has also been one of the few reasons to stay excited and hopeful during this offensive drought for the Habs. It’s hard to ask more from him, but unfair or not, at his salary more goals will be expected the rest of the way.
Nathan Beaulieu: B+… 19 GP, 0-5-5, -2, 15 PIMS, 0 PPG, 27 SOG
Nate gets the Brandon Prust award for most blown chances. It’s a testament to his vision and skating ability that he has had so many open looks at the net, but somehow manages to channel his inner Turner Stevenson just before releasing. He looked very good during his move up to the top pairing and while there weren’t many goals created, there were plenty of chances. On a team this starved for offence over the last 20 games, getting chances is just about as good as it gets. His defence seems to be rounding into form and one would hope that Therrien (or whoever replaces him if he gets let go) realizes that this may be an opportunity to rest some of his more experienced teammates (see below).
Jeff Petry: B+… 18GP, 1-3-4, -3, 8pim, 0ppg, 28sog
Jeff is a warrior; he continues right where he left off playing solid defence and effectively moving the puck. He doesn’t possess the wow factor that Subban brings, or the shifty efficiency of Markov, but he is a strong skater with an underrated shot. He needs to get involved offensively on a more consistent basis – which would probably be easier if he wasn’t constantly having to cover for his partners defensively.
Andrei Markov: B-… 20 GP, 0-5-5, -2, 8 PIMS, 0 PPG, 31 SOG
Markov looks tired, which is to say, he looks his age out there most nights. These past 20 games have put to rest any doubt that he shouldn’t be playing 20+ minutes a night. It’s hard to sit him if he wants to be out there, but he needs to be a third pairing guy that can stay fresh and make the most of his special-teams minutes and have something left in the tank for the end of games and potential OT, not to mention the playoffs. His game is all about timing, speed, and precision which is hard to do when you’re basically bag-skating around the rink for most of the night.
Alexei Emelin: B-… 15 GP, 0-2-2, -5, 23 PIMS, 0 PPG, 19 SOG
Remember when he first came over and people thought it was ‘Yemelin’? That’s also when people thought he had offensive upside; both of those myths have been dispelled and that’s okay. Emelin hits, is an underrated skater and when motivated, is exactly the player the Habs need on the second pairing. Problem is, during games where he’s not motivated he is an absolute liability at times. I’ve noticed that his effort often seems to mirror that of the team overall, and at least one of those things needs to change if he’s going to keep getting significant minutes.
Tom Gilbert: C+… 15 GP, 0-0-0, -5, 4 PIMS, 0 PPG, 13 SOG
That Gilbert hasn’t been very noticeable when he was healthy is the best part of his game. He’s not paid to be noticed – he’s supposed to be a minute-eater. Along with the rest of the team, he hasn’t looked great compared to where the year started, but he is still a good third pairing option or mid-shelf trade chip.
Greg Pateryn: C+… 6 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 2 PIMS, 0 PPG, 9 SOG
Pateryn was decent in limited minutes but needs to show more. He has shown the ability to play smart, physical defence and is currently wasting what may be his best opportunity to cement a permanent place on the back end. He is better when highly involved and has been too much of a perimeter player in his own end of late. I would still like to see him get some more looks though, as he does bring an element of punishing play that is rare on the Habs.
Mark Barberio: (Incomplete Grade)… 4 GP, 0-2-2, +1, 0 PIMS, 0 PPG, 3 SOG
Barberio has not looked out of place since getting the call-up. He skates well, moves the puck, gets involved and keeps it simple. It will be interesting to see if he can keep it up over a longer sample size; if he can, Bergevin will have gained some more flexibility when the trade deadline approaches. Basically, he has done exactly what could have been expected, if the same were true for the rest of the team, the playoffs would already be a lock.
Jarred Tinordi: (Incomplete Grade)… 3 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 5 PIMS, 0 PPG, 0 SOG
Tinordi is big, young, skates well, fights and warms pine like a pro. Seriously, he has certainly shown himself to be prone to the occasional defensive lapse – and nobody will confuse him with Lidstrom or Coffey – but it was frustrating that he never got a real chance this season. When he played he wasn`t been noticeably worse than others who have remained in the lineup, but now he’ll get to try to make an impact for Arizona moving forward.