Just past the mid-term point of the season, this is the first of two HabsWorld progress report cards on the players. This article will focus on the goalies and defencemen.
Carey Price – Grade: B+
Carey Price had a second quarter performance which was rather un-Price-like. From around the early part of December, his performance declined as indicated by a higher than usual save percentage and goals against average. Both of these statistics dropped into the bottom third of the league when compared to other NHL starters. Despite this, Montreal’s record remained steady to keep them among the top few teams in the Eastern Conference. In my opinion, I’ve noticed Price has dropped to the ice more frequently recently and successful shooters have paused a little longer to either shoot high or pass to an open opponent for a goal. For games where the Habs have held a lead, Carey has usually kept them in those games the majority of the time, starving off opponents when they got their scoring chances. Perhaps Price’s “slump” could be attributed to the extra games he faced for the World Cup?
2nd Quarter Stats: Games 16, Wins 8, Losses 5, OT Losses 3, 0 Shutouts, GAA 2.49, Save Pct .912
Season Stats: Games 30, Wins 20, Losses 6, OT Losses 4, 2 Shutouts, GAA 2.12, Save Pct .929
Al Montoya – Grade B+
Despite playing in only five games in the second quarter, Montoya improved in both his goals against and save percentage. Al has been steady in the nets when called upon, and from all accounts a great teammate. I’d like to see him start a few more times in the next quarter of the season to help take the load off of Carey Price.
2nd Quarter Stats: Games 5, Wins 2, Losses 1, OT Losses 1, 0 Shutouts, GAA 2.20, Save Pct .926
Season Stats: Games 12, Wins 5, Losses 4, OT Losses 2, 1 Shutouts, GAA 2.76, Save Pct .911
Shea Weber – Grade A
Shea’s offensive output curtailed in the second quarter of the season. The opposition have keyed in on his big slap shot and he’s using it very little. It’s been debated that after his shot broke teammate Brendan Gallagher’s hand in December, that he’s been reluctant to use it. It’s also been debated that he may be hiding a minor injury to reduce the shot’s effectiveness. Regardless, his position as the team’s #1 defenceman has been cemented with the team, as Weber has been used in all key situations. The power play first wave, penalty kill, and shutdown situations against the opponent’s top line see Weber on the ice nearly all the time. His defensive play has not suffered, as he’s been very effective.
2nd Quarter Stats: Games 20, Goals 2, Assists 7, -1, PIM 16, PPG 1, GWG 0, Shots 45, 32 Hits, 38 Blocked Shots
Season Stats: Games 41, Goals 10, Assists 16, +16, PIM 26, PPG 8, GWG 3, Shots 100, 83 Hits, 86 Blocked Shots
Andre Markov – Grade A
A lower body injury (believed to be the groin) meant Markov only played in 10 games during the second quarter. As such the Habs have struggled in power play situations, where Markov’s vision and passing skills have been missed.
2nd Quarter Stats: Games 10, Goals 0, Assists 4, +2, PIM 6, PPG 0, GWG 0, Shots 13, 15 Hits, 17 Blocked Shots
Season Stats: Games 31, Goals 2, Assists 19, +7, PIM 12, TOI 21:57, Shots 44, 21 Hits, 32 Blocked Shots
Jeff Petry – Grade B+
With Markov out of the lineup, Petry has helped the team out offensively with Markov out of the lineup. Jeff has more than doubled his goals scored and assists during the second quarter. His defensive play has been steady most games, but he still has the occasional bad shift or bad play that really stands out, sometimes costing the team on the scoreboard.
2nd Quarter Stats: Games 20, Goals 5, Assists 7, +9, PIM 6, PPG 1, GWG 1, Shots 59, 35 Hits, 30 Blocked Shots
Season Stats: Games 40, Goals 8, Assists 13, +14, PIM 16, PPG 2, 1 GWG, Shots 96, 78 Hits, 74 Blocked Shots
Alexei Emelin – Grade B+
Emelin has continued his steady play for the second quarter of this season. He’s stayed as Shea Weber’s partner for five on five situations, and often is his partner for the first wave of the penalty kill. Alexei is at his best when he surprised an opponent with a bone crushing check, usually of the legal variety. That style makes him hated by all 29 other teams, which is a nice advantage to have for the Habs, who he leads again with hits.
2nd Quarter Stats: Games 18, Goals 0, Assists 0, -1, PIM 14, PPG 0, GWG 0, Shots 23, 66 Hits, 25 Blocked Shots
Season Stats: Games 39, Goals 1, Assists 3, +5, PIM 39, Shots 43, 136 Hits, 68 Blocked Shots
Nathan Beaulieu – Grade B
Beaulieu has risen to the second pairing with Petry due to the injury to Markov. Nate has improved the consistency of his play during the second quarter, but he occasionally blows an obvious defensive assignment leading to a goal against or a near score. This has lead the coaching staff to trust him less, and other players usually get some additional responsibilities. Beaulieu has to continue to improve his game with respect to consistency in order to permanently stay out of the bottom pairing. He has the skills to do this, and it’s time to prove it and rise on the depth chart.
2nd Quarter Stats: Games 15, Goals 1, Assists 7, +9, PIM 12, PPG 0, GWG 0, Shots 34, 17 Hits, 28 Blocked Shots
Season Stats: Games 35, Goals 2, Assists 12, +15, PIM 25, GWG 1, Shots 57, 39 Hits, 63 Blocked Shots
Mark Barberio – Grade B
Barberio started the season on the farm team, and was called up in late November. Since then he’s been a healthy scratch for only 3 games, and has been penciled into the lineup on a regular basis since December 17th. Mark has been used in the bottom pairing and been an above average defender. A decent skater who has good passing ability to get the puck out of the zone. On the defensive side, he’s a good backliner who has worked hard to minimize risks, which was a previous label he had to deal with. Mark will occassionally be overmatched when facing the opponents top line, usually on the road. But that is something common with every #6 defenceman in the NHL.
2nd Quarter Stats: Games 16, Goals 0, Assists 2, +2, PIM 4, PPG 0, GWG 0, Shots 23, 7 Hits, 16 Blocked Shots
Season Stats: Games 17, 0 Goals, 2 Assists, +1, 6 PIM, 23 Shots, 8 Hits, 19 Blocked Shots
N/A grades: Zach Redmond, Ryan Johnston, Greg Pateryn, Joel Hanley