After a disastrous month, the Montreal Canadiens organization decided to forgo the monthly tradition of awarding a Canadiens player the Molson Cup. The recognition, normally given to that month’s MVP, was apparently too great of an honour to be given to any particular player in January. HabsWorld, while not necessarily feeling any different about Montreal’s ineptitude, still saw fit to recognize the few decent performances.
1st Star: P.K. Subban
Despite his team’s lack of success, it was a good month for P.K. Subban. In addition to leading all Montreal skaters in points, assists, powerplay points and tallying at a point-per-game pace, he was Montreal’s lone representative at the NHL All-Star Game. At the Nashville event, P.K.’s natural charisma and exuberance were on center stage; he entertained mightily and won the breakaway competition as well as recording an impressive 102.3 mph slapshot, which was ranked 3rd overall behind Shea Weber and Steven Stamkos.
Stats: 3G, 8A, 11P, 5 PPP, Minus 3 Rating
2nd Star: Brendan Gallagher
Brendan Gallagher’s return from injury was welcomed by the Canadiens and their fans alike, as they had missed the unique qualities that the tenacious winger brings on a consistent basis. Gallagher’s return coincided with the Winter Classic, and his insertion into the line-up had an immediate impact; the Canadiens played their best hockey in weeks, and “Gally” registered a goal and an assist. Gallagher’s offensive contributions ranked him second on the team in scoring, and his 36 shots on goal trailed only Max Pacioretty.
Stats: 3G, 4A, 7P, 36 SOG, Minus 3 Rating
3rd Star: Daniel Carr
Although it shouldn’t prove as devastating to Montreal as the injury to Carey Price, Daniel Carr’s knee injury and subsequent absence won’t help the Canadiens in their hunt to make the playoffs. Carr’s 3 points in January weren’t very impressive (outside from Subban, no one impressed in that department), but his simple game created scoring chances on a fairly regular basis. With Carr expected to miss 3 months with his knee injury, it seems unlikely that we’ll see him suit up again this year, but his play over the past few months indicate that he might play a more significant role next year.
Stats: 1G, 2A, 3P, Minus 2 Rating
Honourable Mention: Mike Condon
It’s a sad state of affairs when a goalie can record decidedly average numbers, and have that be seen as a positive. But in light of Montreal’s freefall in January, Mike Condon’s play was respectable, and his stats might have been impressive if Montreal didn’t offer the opposition glorious scoring chances on a nightly basis. If nothing else, January should always provide Condon with at least one happy memory, as winning the Winter Classic in front of his family and hometown should be something he’ll cherish forever.
Stats: 3W-4L-1OTL, 2.36 GAA, .905 SV%