After struggling through the end of the regular season with a compressed schedule and injuries, the Canadiens pulled off the unlikely upset of the Maple Leafs in the first round to close out May. The first star here was one of the more obvious choices in a while, but Montreal’s depth is a major factor in their playoff success thus far.
First Star: Carey Price
To the surprise of no one, Carey Price was the runaway first-star selection for the month. After returning from an injury at the end of the season, he’s been at his absolute best this postseason. At this point, we shouldn’t be surprised – he’s a proven big-game player, and his playoff performances over the past several years have been tremendous. Price always gives the team a chance to win, and when he is on it is easy to see the confidence it gives the whole group.
Regular season stats: N/A
Playoff stats: 7 GP, 4-3 record, 2.24 GAA, 0.932 save %
Second Star: Nick Suzuki
After a very strong performance in the bubble last season, Suzuki has again been very strong in the playoffs, with his two-way game and elite offensive skillset coming to the forefront. It was a bit of an up and down season for the young centre, but he re-found his stride in May and continued his strong play into the postseason. He’s an important part of a group of young forwards that looks to be a strong core for the future, alongside Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Cole Caufield, and Jake Evans. He could easily end up being the best of the bunch and his blossoming chemistry with Caufield should have all Montreal fans excited.
Regular season stats: 7 GP, 3 G, 5 A, 8 PTS, -1 rating
Playoff stats: 7 GP, 2 G, 2 A, 4 PTS, -1 rating
Third Star: Tyler Toffoli
Toffoli has been arguably the Habs’ most consistent and dangerous forward all season. His 28 goals were good enough for seventh in the NHL during the regular season, signifying just how good he’s been. Toffoli started off slowly in the series again the Maple Leafs (who didn’t), but has since turned it up and is clicking on a line with Suzuki and Caufield. The emergence of that line allows Phillip Danault and company to focus on shutting down the opposition’s top scorers. Suffice to say, with seven wins in a row at the time of writing, the formula appears to be working.
Regular season stats: 6 GP, 2 G, 4 A, 6 PTS, 0 rating
Playoff stats: 7 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 5 PTS, -3 rating
Honourable Mention: Joel Edmundson
A cheap trade/signing that went relatively under the radar to start the season, Edmundson has proven to be an extremely valuable member of the defence, particularly in the playoffs. He plays a steady, stay-at-home game and rarely makes a mistake. He was also among the league leaders is +/- (+28) and no matter what you think about that stat, there’s no denying that that is a good thing, especially when considering Mikko Rantanen, Leon Draisaitl, and Shea Theodore are some of the other leaders.
Regular season stats: 6 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 PTS, +1 rating
Playoff stats: 7 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS, -1 rating