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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


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

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

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)