While the Habs fell short of making the playoffs, they still had some strong performers for the stretch run. Our fourth quarter grades begin with the goalies and defencemen.
Players have played in 5/20 games to receive a grade.
Carey Price – B: There weren’t many nights when Price wasn’t at his best and there weren’t many when he stole the game either; there were just a few each way. For the most part, he gave them steady goaltending which was a big factor in them hanging around the playoff race as long as they did. Of course, for $10.5 million, that’s the expectation so while he played well for the most part, it’s hard to justify going any higher with this grade.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 10-8-0 record, 2.39 GAA, .918 SV%, 1 SO
N/A: Antti Niemi (1 GP), Charlie Lindgren (1 GP) – Niemi’s last game was one to forget and his time has come to an end with the team. Lindgren had some good and bad moments in his lone contest and it will be interesting to see if they look to add a more proven option or if they feel it’s time for him to be Price’s backup.
Brett Kulak – A: He certainly finished up his season on a high note. After being a fixture on the third pairing, he earned himself a promotion to the second pair with Petry and made the most of it. He got on a bit of hot streak offensively down the stretch which certainly provides some intrigue about if he has another gear to his game. After looking like a filler player, he’s likely to get a qualifying offer this summer.
4th Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 3-7-10, +5, 18 PIMS, 41 shots
Victor Mete – B+: A good showing to finish out his season. Mete seemed to solidify his spot on the top pairing and unlike earlier in the year, he did a better job of earning that spot over getting it by default. He missed what seemed like a dozen glorious scoring opportunities but it’s time to come to the realization that he’s not going to be a big scorer in the NHL, even when he’s in his prime.
4th Quarter Stats: 21 GP, 0-5-5, +1, 2 PIMS, 20 shots
Jeff Petry – B: There were moments where he looked like he was starting to slow down but it’s certainly understandable. He had logged heavy minutes early when Shea Weber was out and with Weber slowing down over the final weeks, Petry was starting to take the heaviest workload again. All in all, his offensive numbers dipped a bit but he still was a big factor for the Habs down the stretch.
4th Quarter Stats: 21 GP, 3-5-8, +3, 8 PIMS, 46 shots
Christian Folin – C+: It took a few games for Folin to get into the lineup after being acquired but when he got there, he didn’t lose his spot. He had a couple of rough nights (he and Benn didn’t make for an ideal pairing for teams with speed) but all in all, he wasn’t half bad and posted positive possession numbers. If he’s willing to take a cheap deal again this summer, I could see the Habs at least considering bringing him back.
4th Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 0-4-4, +1, 11 PIMS, 27 shots
Shea Weber – C: Even though he said otherwise at the end-of-season media session, I think he was playing through something. How else could he have slowed down that much, that fast to the point where Petry started playing more than he did? It was nice to see Weber be a lot more aggressive with his shot and he scored some big goals but overall, his play was a little disappointing for the playoff push.
4th Quarter Stats: 21 GP, 5-5-10, +1, 8 PIMS, 76 shots
Jordie Benn – C: The left side does not suit him well. Benn wasn’t bad by any stretch but he went from someone that was making a positive impact on the right side to someone that simply ate a few minutes and hoped not to get too exposed on the left. Not the best of finishes to his season.
4th Quarter Stats: 21 GP, 1-5-6, +3, 8 PIMS, 28 shots
N/A: Mike Reilly (3 GP) – The emergence of Kulak as a regular player likely spells the end of Reilly with the Habs. He’s a restricted free agent this summer but looks like a candidate to not be tendered a qualifying offer as he’s eligible for arbitration.
The grades for the forwards will appear next week.