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The Canadiens are finally gathering some respect as a top team in the Eastern Conference although there is a still a debate in some quarters as to whether or not they are a serious contender. While they have slipped from the top position in the NHL which they occupied at
the quarter point of the season they are still in a dogfight with Tampa Bay for first in the Atlantic
Division. The team has stopped giving up the ugly blowout losses that plagued them earlier in the
year though unfortunately, the powerplay is still a concern. While some observers are still questioning whether or not Les Canadiens are a “true contender,” the wider consensus, bolstered by an impressive road winning streak
at the halfway point, is that this is a team on the rise.

Players must have played in at least five games to receive a grade.

Max Pacioretty A: Max is slightly behind last year’s goal scoring pace which saw him score 39 goals, but he has increased his assists totals significantly since Desharnais
was moved off of his line. He is still their leading scorer and is on pace for 36 goals and 30 assists. Pacioretty continues to play a strong defensive game and he is a consistent threat to score short-handed. So far, Max is making a strong case to be named the Captain next season.

2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 8 goals, 7 assists, 15 points, +9 rating, 4 PIMS, 71 shots

Alex Galchenyuk A-: To the delight of most fans, Galchenyuk was finally shifted to centre
for more than just a single game and is playing an excellent two-way game
(though since then has been moved back to the wing). Although he has cooled off in the last few
contests, he continues to dazzle with his skills and work ethic.

Quarter Stats:
20 GP, 5 goals, 9 assists, 14 points, +5 rating, 9 PIMS, 34 shots

Tomas Plekanec A-: After a blazing start, Plekanec’s scoring touch has cooled significantly. Nevertheless, he is still an elite penalty killer and plays a hard two-way game and could still crack 60 points.

2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 4 goals, 7 assists, 11 points, +3 rating, 14 PIMS, 53 shots

Brendan Gallagher B: Gallagher has stepped up his offence slightly since signing his new contract. He plays a complete game of hustle, agitation and grit that infuriates goalies and defensemen throughout the league. He continues to provide net presence and distract opposition goalies, but he has managed to avoid the penalties that threatened to derail his effectiveness earlier in the season. His compete level often leads to turnovers and extended offensive pressure.

2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points, +8 rating, 4 PIMS, 49 shots

Brandon Prust B-: As noted in the first quarter review Prust plays a very valuable role on the team. He is the only player on the team to fight regularly in
defence of his teammates and he is excellent as a penalty killer and grinding down the opposition. However, his offensive production has been minimal, although he has been shooting more, and he often seems to turn over the puck in the offensive zone. Is this the feared decline of the physical player who often fights bigger opponents or is he simply banged up and playing through yet another nagging injury?

2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, +3 rating, 48 PIMS, 39 shots

Dale Weise B-: Weise has not been able to sustain his scoring heroics from the first quarter but he is still effective in relatively limited minutes and his 69 hits
at the midway point is second on the team behind Alexei Emelin.

2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 1 goal, 5 assists, 6 points, +7 rating, 5 PIMS, 23 shots

David Desharnais B-: Desharnais successfully handled the move from first-line centre to second or third line winger and dispelled the fear that he would be ineffective when not centering Pacioretty. He is much better defensively that he is often given credit for and his puck possession game continues to improve. Now that Desharnais is on the wing he is actually looking to shoot first instead of always looking to pass.

2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points, -5 rating, 14 PIMS, 45 shots

Jiri Sekac C+: Sekac has been effective in spurts. When he is on, he uses his size well, hits hard, plays sound
defence and cuts to the net with the puck like no one else on the team. In those occasional games when he is not on, he is invisible. He is having a decent rookie season and was rewarded with a trip to the All-Star Game
to participate in the Skills Competition. When, if, he puts it all together he will be a force.

2nd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points, +4 rating, 16 PIMS, 18 shots

Lars Eller C: Eller shows flashes of brilliance but seems incapable of translating his apparent talent into consistent production. In fairness, Eller has been hampered by injury and
is effective physically. Is he a top six forward or a third-liner? Eller is running out of opportunities to prove he is more than a third-liner.

2nd Quarter Stats: 15 GP, 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, +6 rating, 4 PIMS, 26 shots

Manny Malhotra C: As discussed in the previous rankings Malhotra is difficult to grade as he excels in the faceoff circle and in the defensive game, but produces almost nothing offensively. This lack of
offence led to him spending a couple of games as a healthy scratch. It would really help the team if he could chip in a few points occasionally.

2nd Quarter Stats: 17 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, -5 rating, 4 PIMS, 9 shots

Michael Bournival C: Bournival has played 9 games since his return to injury and he has added speed and energy to the 4th line while chipping in some timely goals.

2nd Quarter Stats: 9 GP, 2 goals, 1 assists, 3 points, +1 rating, 0 PIMS, 16 shots

Sven Andrighetto C: Andrighetto started strongly with points in his first three games but was held off of the score sheet after that. He showed some excellent skills and hustle, but was often knocked off the puck.

2nd Quarter Stats: 12 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, even rating, 4 PIMS, 9 shots

P-A Parenteau C-: Parenteau’s offensive struggles have continued this quarter and his production was not helped by the “upper body” injury that was actually a concussion. This quarter his shootout prowess was not really a factor and he continues to disappoint. Can a visit to the press box be far away if this lack of production continues?

2nd Quarter Stats: 17 GP, 1 goal, 4 assists, 5 points, -6 rating, 8 PIMS, 30 shots

Eric Tangradi N/A: Tangradi showed very little in his limited stint in Montreal. He did not have much of a physical presence and he contributed nothing offensively. While trading for him was beneficial for the cap, it
is hoped we never see him with the Habs again.