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The Habs are past the third quarter point of the season so it’s time for the third quarter grade report for their forwards. The team push to keep in the playoff race is intensifying with strong competition for the two Wild Card positions.

Players must have played in at least 5/21 games to receive a grade.

A Max Domi Max continues to lead the team in scoring. His scoring rate matched his 2nd quarter production while he continues to improve his faceoff skills. Regarding the latter, while he is not yet hitting the 50% average, his progress from the beginning of the season gives hope that he will eventually get there. A lack of playing time at centre while in Arizona prevented him that opportunity.

3rd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 6G, 9A, 15 Points, +5, 31 PIM, 41 Shots

B+ Tomas Tatar. Tatar keeps his scoring production level steady for the third quarter, exactly matching his points from the previous one. His playing minutes vary between a regular first and second line forward, while his defensive play was somewhat better which makes his overall productivity impressive.

3rd Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 6G, 8A, 14 Points, +6, 6 PIM, 57 Shots

B+ Phillip Danault Despite the juggling Danault faces between the first, second, and third lines, he continues to produce offensively at a personal best rate for his time in the NHL, smashing his previous career high for points. He’s done this while typically being given the defensive checking assignment against the opposition’s best line.  Although he may not be a finalist for the Selke this season, he should garner a lot of votes for that award.

3rd Quarter Stats: 19 GP, 4G, 10A, 14 Points, +5, 10 PIM, 26 Shots

B+ Brendan Gallagher The pulse of this Habs team, Brendan gives his all every shift and every game. This quarter was his best one to date with respect to his goals and points, as well as his defensive game. The Habs next captain, the ‘C’ that will eventually be sewn to the front of his sweater, will represent not only the title “Captain” but also “Consistent”.

3rd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 11G, 5A, 16 Points, +6, 6 PIM, 2 PPG, 78 Shots

B Jesperi Kotkaniemi The ‘Kid’ bumped up his goal scoring during the third quarter, It seemed like the All-Star weekend followed by the bye week, provided Jesperi with a huge rest which he used to rejuvenate his offensive game. In the first 4 games after that combined break, he scored a goal in each one.

3rd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 7G, 4A, 11 Points, +4, 12 PIM, 27 Shots

B Andrew Shaw Shaw suffered a neck injury which kept him out of the lineup for most of this quarter. When he was back in the lineup, he was very effective, earning time in the top two lines, and scoring at a higher rate than he usually manages. Andrew may be considered as the Habs representative for the Masterson trophy.

3rd Quarter Stats: 6 GP, 1G, 3A, 4 Points, +3, 17 PIM, 9 Shots

B Jonathan Drouin Drouin continues to be consistently inconsistent, which is maddening to the fans and coaches who see the talent he has. He scored nine of his thirteen points in three consecutive games during this quarter. It appears that the coaches have asked him to be more focused on the defensive side of the game, and there are times when he makes a smart play to break up the opposition on a backcheck or taking away a pass. Jonathan continues to be the type of player that makes you want more.

3rd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 4G, 9A, 13 Points, -2, 10 PIM, 53 Shots

C+ Joel Armia Armia’s presence in the lineup continues to be one part mentor (for fellow Finn Jesperi Kotkaniemi) and one part penalty killer. Armia is not strictly one dimensional in that sense, as he managed to shoot the puck very frequently, at a 2.5 shots per game pace. Although he did not manage many points in this quarter, his size and presence remain a valuable commodity on this team.

3rd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 3G, 2A, 5 Points, +4, 2 PIM, 50 Shots

C Paul Byron Byron had a few setbacks this season, missing six games due to a forearm injury and a three-game league suspension. When he’s in the lineup, he continues to be a strong forechecker and a constant threat during shorthanded situations to break out of the defensive zone on an opponent’s turnover. His scoring was down this quarter but his effort level remained consistent.

3rd Quarter Stats: 11 GP, 2G, 4A, 6 Points, +4, 4 PIM, 15 Shots

C Nate Thompson A quiet trade pick up from Los Angeles, Nate is the only fourth line player who has played worth a damn. Thompson is strong in the faceoff dot, managing just over 53%. He seems to have decent hockey sense, keeping on the right side of the puck most of the time in defensive situations but with little offensive ability.

3rd Quarter Stats: 5 GP, 0 Points, 0 +/-, 6 Shots

D Michael Chaput Another fourth line casualty, Chaput also found himself in and out of the lineup due mostly to his inconsistency. Coach Claude Julien has mentioned this season that although he does not expect much offence from his fourth line players, he does expect them not to be scored upon. As a whole, all of the players in that slot performed poorly. To add insult to injury, Chaput’s faceoff prowess dived below the 46% mark, which is a skill he previously excelled above the 50% line.

3rd Quarter Stats: 12 GP, 1 A, 1 Point, -4, 4 PIM, 12 Shots

D Charles Hudon Yet another struggling fourth liner, Hudon was rumoured to request a trade, likely with the hope that he would get more ice time. The one thing that is keeping him in the NHL is the fact he would be subject to waivers.

3rd Quarter Stats: 9 GP, 1 A, 1 Point, -1, 2 PIM, 14 Shots

D Nicolas Deslauriers What’s more to say. Nic provides some much-needed size and some toughness to the lineup, which must appeal to Julien. Deslauriers got into more games than any other Habs fourth liner. He does enjoy hitting the opposition but seems to provide little else.

3rd Quarter Stats: 16 GP, 0 Points, -8, 9 PIM, 12 Shots

F Kenny Agostino This past quarter Kenny appeared to do a 180 with respect to his game. He struggled mightily with his intensity, and his offensive output dried up worse than the Sahara desert. He was a healthy scratch for five out of his last six games with the Habs before being placed on waivers and claimed by New Jersey.

3rd Quarter Stats: 10 GP, 0 Points, -3 22 PIM, 4 Shots

F Matthew Peca Similar to Agostino, Peca practically disappeared during the third quarter. The coaching staff appear to be losing confidence with Peca, and if the farm team’s top forwards had been healthier, he may have been another forward lost to waivers. Matthew’s ability to play centre may have helped keep him around, at least for now.

3rd Quarter Stats: 10 GP, 0 Points, -4, 11 Shots

F Artturi Lehkonen In what must be his worst stretch of games since donning the Habs jersey as a pro, Arturri appears to be snake bitten when it comes to scoring. He has managed to have several golden opportunities, including two open net chances. His defensive play remains very good, but the lack of scoring has forced the coach to demote him to the fourth line.

3rd Quarter Stats: 20 GP, 0G, 3A, 3 Points, +2, 8 PIM, 38 Shots