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- January hasn't been a kind month for Lars Eller. He has just 12 points in 44 games, his lowest PPG average of any month.
The Habs managed to keep pace in the Atlantic Division in the second quarter of the season despite inconsistent and sporadic contributions from many of their forwards. Fortunately, there were some players who stood out amongst the rest in a positive way; which of those forwards earned our top grade for the second segment of the season?
Notes: Players must have played in at least 25% of Montreal's games (5 out of 20) to receive a grade. Stats are as of games played through December 31st.
Rene Bourque: D+: His return to the lineup was seen at first as a welcome one but Bourque has continued to struggle since coming back from injury. The most consistent part about his game is his inconsistency in the varying levels of hustle that we see on a shift-to-shift basis. I know he gets moved around the lineup a lot but he has to be better, a lot better.
2nd Quarter Stats: 8 GP, 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point, -2 rating, 2 PIMS, 10
hits, 2 blocks, 10 shots
Season Stats: 29 GP, 6 goals, 1 assist, 7 points, -3 rating, 16 PIMS, 32 hits, 7 blocks, 52 shots
Michael Bournival: C-: After being one of Montreal's sparkplugs early on, the rookie was reduced to a low minute depth player. There's nothing wrong with Bournival's effort and he does the best with the very limited ice time he's getting. Given that he is now a 4th liner most nights when he's actually in the lineup, a trip to Hamilton for a few weeks to get some more consistent playing time is probably what's best for his development.
2nd Quarter Stats: 16 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, -5 rating, 6 PIMS,
18 hits, 9 blocks, 23 shots
Season Stats: 34 GP, 6 goals, 5 assists, 11 points, -1 rating, 10 PIMS, 38 hits, 26 blocks, 56 shots
Daniel Briere: C-: Quite honestly, I don't think he has been given a fair shot from the coaches. If he didn't play well, he got his ice time lowered. That's fine, but that also happened when he did play well. That said, he hasn't been good enough often enough to justify getting a regular role in the top six and it will be incumbent upon him to send the message to Michel Therrien that he deserves more ice time.
2nd Quarter Stats: 18 GP, 3 goals, 2 assists, 5 points, -5 rating, 6 PIMS,
8 hits, 2 blocks, 24 shots
Season Stats: 29 GP, 5 goals, 5 assists, 10 points, -4 rating, 14 PIMS, 15 hits, 3 blocks, 44 shots
David Desharnais: A-: He was Public Enemy #1 early on (and still is to some) but Desharnais turned his year around in recent weeks. He looks more comfortable with the puck on his stick and isn't forcing as many passes through as he was early. Defensively he's still lacking but there were a lot more positives than negatives from him.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 4 goals, 13 assists, 17 points, +1 rating, 8 PIMS,
5 hits, 4 blocks, 24 shots
Season Stats: 39 GP, 4 goals, 14 assists, 18 points, -1 rating, 14 PIMS, 8 hits, 17 blocks, 45 shots
Lars Eller: C: Eller got off to a great start to the season but he was one of many who underachieved in this quarter offensively. On the defensive side of things he still played well which has kept him from getting moved down in the lineup or benched. Offensive inconsistency has been a knock on him since he joined the Canadiens and that is once again the case this year.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, -4 rating, 8 PIMS,
27 hits, 15 blocks, 29 shots
Season Stats: 41 GP, 9 goals, 10 assists, 19 points, -1 rating, 26 PIMS, 69 hits, 33 blocks, 76 shots
Alex Galchenyuk: B-: He too has had a rough stretch of games but he was one of the few players who scored on at least a semi-regular basis. The split of the vaunted 'EGG' line affected all three players negatively and Galchenyuk surprisingly struggled when moved up with more offensively talented linemates. The one plus side of his hand injury is that he'll be nice and rested for the stretch run in March/April.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 6 goals, 2 assists, 8 points, -5 rating, 10 PIMS,
14 hits, 8 blocks, 31 shots
Season Stats: 41 GP, 10 goals, 13 assists, 23 points, -4 rating, 18 PIMS, 33 hits, 18 blocks, 76 shots
Brendan Gallagher: C+: Not unlike last year, Gallagher is driving the net with reckless abandon. Unlike last year (and the beginning of this one) though, it hasn't been translating to goals. Gallagher went through the longest goalless drought since his rookie WHL campaign in this stretch of games. Towards the end of December, he started to show some signs of developing some chemistry with Desharnais and Pacioretty which could pay off in 2014.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, +2 rating, 9
PIMS, 8 hits, 11 blocks, 46 shots
Season Stats: 40 GP, 10 goals, 8 assists, 18 points, +5 rating, 28 PIMS, 23 hits, 23 blocks, 109 shots
Brian Gionta: B-: The captain is one of many who has had issues tickling the twine but, despite the frustration from the fans, continues to be one of Montreal's more consistent point producers, even in this stretch. Gionta's shot has been concerning as it's lacking in velocity and aim but to his credit, he has helped out in other ways. Some want to see him benched or his role reduced but I wouldn't expect that to happen any time soon.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 1 goals, 10 assists, 11 points, +4 rating, 6
PIMS, 10 hits, 10 blocks, 32 shots
Season Stats: 40 GP, 5 goals, 15 assists, 20 points, +2 rating, 14 PIMS, 22 hits, 24 blocks, 82 shots
Travis Moen: B: He still may not be fighting as much as some might want him to but Moen's defensive game was particularly impressive in this stretch while he did make more of an effort to throw his weight around. His chemistry with Plekanec has really done wonders for the Habs' penalty kill...maybe all of those times the two inexplicably played together 5-on-5 in past years is starting to pay off?
2nd Quarter Stats: 16 GP, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, +3 rating, 9
PIMS, 32 hits, 21 blocks, 15 shots
Season Stats: 36 GP, 1 goal, 6 assists, 7 points, +2 rating, 23 PIMS, 51 hits, 27 blocks, 32 shots
Max Pacioretty: A+: Although it's always puzzling to see a player with a 'Cy Young statline,' Pacioretty had a fantastic second quarter to the season and was amongst the NHL's top goal scorers over that span. At a time where the team is struggling to score, his breakthrough has been even more important. He and Desharnais have once again become the Habs' most potent offensive duo.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 15 goals, 2 assists, 17 points, +4 rating,
21 PIMS, 19 hits, 9 blocks, 77 shots
Season Stats: 32 GP, 17 goals, 4 assists, 21 points, -1 rating, 18 PIMS, 31 hits, 17 blocks, 119 shots
Tomas Plekanec: B+: I'm not one to start nicknames but 'Mr. Reliable' seems fitting for him. Plekanec went through a couple of dry spells in terms of point production and faceoff consistency but his work in his own end - particularly shorthanded - was quite strong. When Plekanec did score, they were usually important goals as well.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 7 goals, 4 assists, 11 points, +4 rating, 6
PIMS, 7 hits, 11 blocks, 56 shots
Season Stats: 41 GP, 13 goals, 11 assists, 24 points, +7 rating, 14 PIMS, 19 hits, 26 blocks, 109 shots
Brandon Prust: C: Prust didn't have a huge impact in the first quarter and the same could be said for this one. He isn't fighting as much (I find this to be a good thing) but his aggressiveness has also been stifled, leading to speculation he's not quite 100% recovered from his shoulder woes. At the very least he is still logging good minutes for a fourth liner, even if they are of the 'safer' variety.
2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, -4 rating, 23
PIMS, 30 hits, 18 blocks, 12 shots
Season Stats: 30 GP, 4 goals, 3 assists, 7 points, -1 rating, 44 PIMS, 45 hits, 23 blocks, 25 shots
Ryan White: C: Montreal's fourth line centre played a bit better in these past few weeks despite a drop-off at the faceoff dot. White has become a quality penalty killer for the Habs which has kept him in the lineup most nights. His physical play has taken a dip but on the flip side, he's more disciplined which balances it out somewhat. With Galchenyuk now hurt, White should see more of a regular role when he returns to the lineup.
2nd Quarter Stats: 14 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, -3 rating, 4
PIMS, 31 hits, 12 blocks, 10 shots
Season Stats: 32 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, -6 rating, 27 PIMS, 55 hits, 26 blocks, 29 shots
N/A: George Parros (not enough GP)
- Habs 2nd Quarter Grades: Defencemen and Goaltenders posted by B. La Rose
- First Quarter Grades: Forwards posted by B. La Rose
- First Quarter Grades: Goalies & Defencemen posted by Matt Dilworth