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HabsWorld’s 3 Stars – January 2011 Edition

The votes were cast and January was the most tightly
contested 3 Stars voting so far.   Two of December’s 3 Stars were
pushed to the side, as neither Scott Gomez nor Mike Cammalleri made the cut for
the past month, thus allowing for some new faces to receive the honours.  All in all, Mathieu
Darche, David Desharnais, Scott Gomez, Max Pacioretty, Tomas Plekanec, Benoit
Pouliot, Carey Price, P.K. Subban, Yannick Weber and James Wisniewski all received
votes, but as always, there was only one true victor.

Here are your selections for January’s 3 Stars:

#1 – Tomas Plekanec (11 GP – 5 Goals – 4 Assists –
9 Points – +4 Rating)

Perhaps influenced his Molson Cup honours for January,
HabsWorld’s readers agreed emphatically that Tomas Plekanec was the Canadiens’ #1
star.  January featured a nice bounce-back month for the skilled Czech, as
he rebounded from a sub-par December to lead the Canadiens in goals and tie for
points and game-winning goals.  Furthermore, his plus/minus and shots were
second on the team by a slim margin.  This may all sound like business as
usual for Plekanec, but it is made all that more impressive by the fact that his
usual line-mate, Mike Cammalleri, was only present alongside Plekanec for 6
games before succumbing to injury.  Although Plekanec may have been snubbed
for the NHL’s All-Star Game, it is clear that Plekanec is truly one of the most
valuable players for Montreal.

40% of 1st Star votes, 6% of 2nd Star votes, 6% of
3rd Star votes

#2 – James Wisniewski (11 GP – 0 Goals – 9 Assists
– 9 Points – -2 Rating)

In his first full month with the Canadiens, Wisniewski
singlehandedly breathed some life into the Andrei Markov-less powerplay. 
His howitzer from the point, lethal to anyone in its path, opened up time and
space for his teammates; as a result, "The Wiz" led all Canadiens with 6
powerplay points.  Wisniewski also demonstrated that he is willing to pay
the price for his team, as he led the Canadiens in blocked shots with 21. 
Although Wisniewski’s defensive game has been more exposed as he has been given
more ice-time than usual, Pierre Gauthier’s acquisition seems to be paying
dividends thus far; the goals scored with Wisniewski on the man-advantage have
indubitably led to points in the standings.

19% of 1st Star votes, 21% of 2nd Star votes, 21% of
3rd Star votes

#3 – P.K. Subban (11 GP – 3 Goals – 5 Assists – 8
Points – +1 Rating)

With the injuries to Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges, P.K.
Subban has become a key cog in the machinery that drives Montreal’s defense. 
Playing alongside Hal Gill in even-strength situations, and with James
Wisniewski on the powerplay, January was a revelation for the rookie defender. 
His 8 points in January were good for 2nd on the team, and P.K.’s overtime
game-winning goal fended off what could have been a stunning comeback by the
Calgary Flames.  Moreover, P.K. was invited to the Skills Competition at
the All-Star Game in Raleigh, and certainly didn’t disappoint in the Breakaway
Challenge.  As a rookie, it is expected that Subban’s game will fluctuate
over the season, but the positives definitely outweighed the negatives in the
month of January.

11% of 1st Star votes, 23% of 2nd Star votes, 23% of
3rd Star votes

Honourable Mention – Max Pacioretty (11GP – 4
Goals – 3 Assists – -2 Rating)

Not even a James Wisniewski slapshot could keep Max
Pacioretty off the HW 3 Stars for the 2nd month running.  Narrowly beating
out Carey Price for a place on the list, Pacioretty was a force to be reckoned
with in the month of January; a fact made more impressive after he suited up
with bruised ribs after being carted out of a game on a stretcher. 
Pacioretty’s drive and tenacity was further evidenced after he led the Canadiens
in both shots on goal (41) and hits (22) over the month, and he finished second
only to Tomas Plekanec in goals scored.  Even in light of these
accomplishments, it seems that "Patches" can only get better, and that Montreal
may have finally found that power forward that has eluded them for so long.

11% of 1st Star votes, 21% of 2nd Star votes, 21% of
3rd Star votes.

Be sure to return for next month’s installment of
HabsWorld’s 3 Stars.  Thanks to all that voted!