Last month saw the Habs take a bit of a step back from their surprising October performance. However, relative to expectations, several players still put up strong performances, helping them earn a place in the three stars as voted by our readers.
1st Star: Nick Suzuki
What’s a good way to follow up a productive month? Have an even more productive one. That’s what Suzuki was able to bring to the table, albeit with a shooting percentage that simply isn’t realistic to maintain. (Even half of his success rate would be difficult.) Puck luck notwithstanding, the captain was Montreal’s best weapon on the power play, scoring more times with the man advantage than the rest of the team combined and was the anchor to one of the more productive lines in the league last month. So far, so good.
Stats: 13 GP, 8 goals, 6 assists, 14 points, -5 rating, 0 PIMS, 24 shots, 46.15% faceoffs, 21:31 ATOI
2nd Star: Kirby Dach
After spending a good chunk of October in some different roles and lines, Martin St. Louis decided to try Dach on the wing on the top line. He wound up complementing that trio well and he has stayed there since then. Dach didn’t score a lot but worked well as a setup man and going in to win some board battles. Is this the ideal spot for him? If you asked Montreal’s management, probably not but as long as he’s getting strong minutes and having success, they’re going to be happy.
Stats: 13 GP, 3 goals, 9 assists, 12 points, -2 rating, 4 PIMS, 21 shots, 18:24 ATOI
3rd Star: Cole Caufield
I was a bit surprised by the voting here as Caufield was on considerably fewer ballots than his two linemates despite a month that wasn’t much different than October. Technically, November was a better idea of what might be the norm from him moving forward. He was a volume shooter and his shot is good enough that even when he’s covered, it’s still dangerous. It has been quite a while since the Canadiens have had this type of shooting threat on the wing (his off-wing, no less).
Stats: 13 GP, 5 goals, 6 assists, 11 points, -4 rating, 0 PIMS, 51 shots, 18:43 ATOI
Honourable Mention: Kaiden Guhle
Remember the conversations over the summer about whether Guhle should spend some time in Laval or not? Some were certain that he should, while others were adamant that he was NHL-ready. I think we know which side was right. Guhle continued to log heavy minutes at five-on-five with some time shorthanded and even a tiny bit of power play time. He ceded some time to Mike Matheson upon the veteran’s return but that’s not necessarily bad at this point; a lesser role now could better prepare him for a bigger one down the stretch once the sell-off gets going.
Stats: 13 GP, 0 goals, 5 assists, 5 points, -5 rating, 12 PIMS, 8 shots, 27 hits, 19 blocks, 19:46 ATOI