So, the first half of the season was fun, wasn’t it? No signs of a looming collapse despite a slew of injuries and with Carey Price playing brilliantly, a deep playoff run was merely a formality.
Well, the Canadiens were ruthlessly dragged back down to earth during the third quarter, going 6-11-2 as scoring dried up while defence and goaltending sprung a few leaks. Montreal scored two or less goals over that 20-game period 13 times, five of which they were shutout. They allowed three or more goals 13 times as well. Michel Therrien got the boot, Claude Julien replaced him again and everyone was holding their breath as just making the playoffs became the recurring narrative. Quite the fall and it’s reflected in our third quarter grades up front.
Players must have played in at least five games to receive a grade.
Max Pacioretty A: Without a doubt the lone bright spot for the Canadiens during this slump. He was basically the only forward providing any semblance of consistent scoring. Pacioretty continued to make a mockery of the pundits as he remained in the conversation for the leading goal scorer in the NHL. As captains sometimes have to do during tough times, he put the team on his back offensively. Full marks.
3rd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 9 goals, 9 assists, 18 points, -3 rating, 6 PIMS, 60 shots, 15 sh%
Season Stats: 61 GP, 28 goals, 24 assists, 52 points, +4 rating, 32 PIMS, 188 shots, 14.9 sh%
Phillip Danault B: Danault actually posted slight improvements over his second quarter scoring. He does what he’s asked to do and chipped in with perhaps more scoring than expected since the season began. His two-way play remained an important part of the Canadiens play and was hardly to blame for the team’s shortcomings. He’s not a top-six forward but he filled in above adequately when called upon.
3rd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points, +1 rating, 10 PIMS, 25 shots, 12 sh%
Season Stats: 61 GP, 10 goals, 20 assists, 30 points, -1 rating, 20 PIMS, 93 shots, 10.8 sh%
Alexander Radulov B-: While offensive production didn’t completely halt for Radulov, it did slow down compared to his scoring pace in the first half of the season. While production dipped, his style of play didn’t change. He continued his high energy brand of hockey and appeared to be visibly upset at the team’s fortunes. Pity he didn’t shoot the puck more. He only scored four goals in 20 games, but those goals came on just 21 shots.
3rd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points, -4 rating, 20 PIMS, 21 shots, 19 sh%
Season Stats: 59 GP, 14 goals, 28 assists, 42 points, +3 rating, 54 PIMS, 110 shots, 12.7 sh%
Sven Andrighetto C+: Not too shabby offensively for Andrighetto but he remained a fringe player on this team which is what got him traded. Even with a pretty decent offensive spark during a time when not too many players were scoring, he just couldn’t hold down a regular place in the lineup. Good output from a depth guy in his final games though.
3rd Quarter Stats: 15 GP, 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, 0 rating, 4 PIMS, 18 shots, 11.1 sh%
Season Stats: 25 GP, 2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points, +2 rating, 4 PIMS, 30 shots, 6.7 sh%
Alex Galchenyuk C: Clearly not 100%, or maybe 100% physically but hesitant on trusting his body. Not the same Galchenyuk that picked up where he left off at the end of last season to begin the year. Granted he has a history of knee problems, but this was not a confident player. Unfortunately it coincided with Montreal playing their worst hockey of the season, so he couldn’t even regain his confidence/footing under less scrutiny. More is needed if the Canadiens are going to contend for anything.
3rd Quarter Stats: 15 GP, 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points, -10 rating, 6 PIMS, 22 shots, 13.6 sh%
Season Stats: 40 GP, 12 goals, 18 assists, 30 points, -1 rating, 22 PIMS, 67 shots, 17.9 sh%
Brian Flynn C: A bit of a ‘meh’ quarter for Flynn. He’s been consistent when in the lineup and contributed essentially what he has over each quarter of the season. He has been invisible for stretches of this slump but isn’t the worst one out there either.
3rd Quarter Stats: 17 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, -1 rating, 0 PIMS, 30 shots, 13.3 sh%
Season Stats: 47 GP, 6 goals, 4 assists, 10 points, +3 rating, 4 PIMS, 46 shots, 13.0 sh %
Paul Byron C-: “Breakaway” Byron saw his offensive production come to a screeching halt. After contributing pretty regularly during the first half of the season, Byron slumped during this 20-game stretch. With no secondary, or tertiary, scoring coming from the Byron-type players, it begins to paint a picture of where the Habs scoring may have dried up.
3rd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points, 0 rating, 8 PIMS, 18 shots, 11.1 sh%
Season Stats: 60 GP, 14 goals, 15 assists, 29 points, + 9 rating, 24 PIMS, 70 shots, 20 sh%
Tomas Plekanec C-: It has not been a good season for Plekanec offensively. It wasn’t good during the first half of the season and it got a lot worse during the following 20 games. It looks as if he’s been stripped of the offensive capabilities he’s had over his career. Still very serviceable in the two-way game but he shouldn’t be playing as a first or second line centreman until he rediscovers some kind of scoring touch.
3rd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 3 goals, 2 assists, 5 points, -4 rating, 4 PIMS, 31 shots, 9.7 sh%
Season Stats: 61 GP, 7 goals, 16 assists, 23 points, +4 rating, 16 PIMS, 107 shots, 6.5 sh %
Andrew Shaw C-: Looked to be finding his rhythm after returning from his concussion during the second quarter, but any momentum he had has been wiped away during this miserable 20-game run. His point production was down and he’s taken a few costly penalties that clearly didn’t sit well with the former head coach. He must be more disciplined and find a way to contribute offensively if/when the Canadiens get out of this funk.
3rd Quarter Stats: 18 GP, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points, -9 rating, 39 PIMS, 29 shots, 6.9 sh%
Season Stats: 47 GP, 8 goals, 12 assists, 20 points, +3 rating, 97 PIMS, 87 shots, 9.2 sh%
Torrey Mitchell C-: It has been a steep decline offensively for Mitchell since the beginning of the season. Granted, he started off like a bat out of hell and those numbers were never going to be sustained over a full season. However, no goals when you’re a regular isn’t pretty. He has looked shaky defensively as well, but on a team that’s been leaking goals, who hasn’t.
3rd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, -2 rating, 6 PIMS, 16 shots, 0.0 sh%
Season Stats: 61 GP, 7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points, +5 rating, 33 PIMS, 53 shots, 13.2 sh%
Michael McCarron C-: Regression for the big forward as he played less games than the previous quarter and subsequently saw what little offence he produced diminish even further. At this point it’s unclear what his role is. He does have staying power at the moment, so someone is liking what they see. Shortcomings aside, when he gets his feet going, you could see why he remains with the team.
3rd Quarter: 9 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, -3 rating, 14 PIMS, 11 shots, 0 sh%
Season Stats: 21 GP, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, 0 rating, 30 PIMS, 26 shots, 3.8 sh%
Artturi Lehkonen D+: A big step backwards for the rookie after having a very good first half of the season. Like most of his teammates, the offensive production dried up but other aspects of his game fell as well. He hasn’t been able to get himself into the same scoring positions as he did earlier in the season, which was a big, and positive part, of his game. He looks to have lost some confidence on the defensive side of the puck as well. He’s there to score and he’s not close to scoring right now.
3rd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 3 goals, 2 assists, 5 points, -6 rating, 0 PIMS, 40 shots, 7.5 sh%
Season Stats: 52 GP, 11 goals, 5 assists, 16 points, -2 rating, 6 PIMS, 107 shots, 10.3 sh%
Daniel Carr D: He just never seems to do enough to merit a stay on the team. Is serviceable when he’s up but he has no staying power. Not being able to make a case with the slew of injuries the team had makes for more disappointment for the young man.
3rd Quarter Stats: 7 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, -1 rating, 0 PIMS, 7 shots, 14.3 sh%
Season Stats: 33 GP, 2 goals, 7 assists, 9 points, +4 rating, 6 PIMS, 44 shots, 4.5 sh%
Jacob De la Rose F: Talk about underwhelming when the chips are down. The team’s not playing well, you have a chance to stand out when everyone is in a funk and you lay an egg. Nine times. It boggles the mind that a player who once looked like he would push for top-six minutes has fallen off the boat. Here’s a big, talented guy who had some scoring upside unable to crack a lineup devoid of big guys and scoring. Disappointing.
3rd Quarter Stats/Season Stats: 9 GP, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 points, -3 rating, 4 PIMS, 4 shots, 0 sh%
N/A: Brendan Gallagher; David Desharnais; Charles Hudon, Chris Terry, Nikita Scherbak, Bobby Farnham