April was a tough month for the Habs as with a compressed schedule, injuries and fatigue started to take a significant toll. Offence was hard to come by but the club still managed to hang onto a playoff spot thanks to some key contributors.
First Star: Nick Suzuki
Thrust into a major role centring one of the Canadiens’ top two lines in his sophomore season, Suzuki has performed admirably. Still just 21, he is rapidly developing into a tremendous two-way centre with significant offensive upside. He went (very) cold after a red hot start but has recently started to pick up the points again and has returned to playing a more assertive, confident game. While the early season comparisons to Patrice Bergeron may have been slightly premature, it’s clear that the sky is the limit for Suzuki.
Stats: 17 GP, 5 G, 8 A, 13 PTS, -2 rating
Second Star: Tyler Toffoli
Toffoli has been leading the scoring charge for the Habs all season long, and finds himself among the league leaders in goals, finishing with 28 – a 44-goal pace in a full season. He has fit in very well with his new team and could prove to be a valuable mentor for some of the up and coming talent in the system. His recent Players’ Tribune article is worth a read for any Montreal fan and should keep you excited for what’s to come.
Stats: 16 GP, 8 G, 3 A, 11 PTS, -11 rating
Third Star: Jake Allen
Allen has stepped in admirably in the absence of Carey Price, who has missed significant time with a concussion. Though the stats aren’t overly exciting, Allen has played well and battles every night to keep the Habs in games where they have failed to provide much in the way of goals to support his efforts. Though he’s better suited to playing as a backup these days, Allen is the consummate teammate and is a massive upgrade over some of the team’s most recent options. He doesn’t come cheap though the extension that kicks in next year is entirely reasonable and Allen is a fantastic insurance policy.
Stats: 13 GP, 6-7-0 record, 2.79 GAA, 0.900 save %
Honourable Mention: Josh Anderson
Though he hasn’t always lit up the scoreboard this season, there’s no denying that Anderson brings it every game and his desire is second to none, save for (maybe) Brendan Gallagher on the Canadiens. His physicality and ability to drive the net are welcome additions to the team’s forward group while his tenacious forechecking and slight mean streak can give opponents fits. No one on the team was scoring much last month but it’s abundantly clear that the Habs are a better, more dangerous team with Anderson on the ice.
Stats: 17 GP, 6 G, 2 A, 8 PTS, -3 rating