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December was a tough month for the Habs when it came to picking up wins.  A few players had some strong showings, earning themselves one of our three stars as voted by our readers.

1st Star: Cole Caufield – As a team, the Canadiens struggled to score last month.  Individually, Caufield was the main exception as he potted nine of them.  For comparison, only one other player had four while everyone else was at three or fewer.  Caufield’s line didn’t have anywhere near the type of success they did earlier in the season as defences have started to key in on them more so Caufield being able to score at a pretty high rate in spite of that is a bit more impressive.

Stats: 15 GP, 9 goals, 0 assists, 9 points, 0 PIMS, -7 rating, 41 shots, 3 PPG, 17:25 ATOI

2nd Star: Arber Xhekaj – The voting was quite close as he almost beat out Caufield; Xhekaj was on the highest percentage of ballots for the month but Caufield had the most first-place votes which gave him the narrow edge.  Forget the backstory, the rookie has carved out a full-time spot in the lineup and last month, he started to work his way into a bit more playing time on some nights while picking up a few extra points along the way.  It’s a gradual but steady uphill line when it comes to Xhekaj’s development in the first half of the season and there are many hoping that it will continue in the second half.  Could a spot in the top four come his way at some point?

Stats: 15 GP, 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, 18 PIMS, -1 rating, 23 shots, 41 hits, 14:58 ATOI

3rd Star: Kaiden Guhle – While Xhekaj gets a bit more of the spotlight, Guhle has been the one playing with very quiet consistency throughout the season and December was no exception.  With Mike Matheson’s return being short-lived, the 20-year-old was back on the top pairing before too long.  Is that the right role for him?  Of course not, especially at this stage of his career.  But while he isn’t the flashiest, he has been one of Montreal’s steadiest players.  They’re really going to miss him over the next couple of months (if not longer).

Stats: 14 GP, 1 goal, 5 assists, 6 points, 0 PIMS, -6 rating, 18 shots, 28 blocks, 21:24 ATOI

Honourable Mention: Nick Suzuki – Suzuki had a tough month, especially by the standards he has set over his time with the Habs.  However, a tough month for him was still a pretty good one when compared to the rest of the team as he led Montreal in assists and was second to Caufield in points.  I’ve mentioned before that I’m concerned that he’s getting used a bit too much although Sean Monahan’s injury certainly isn’t helping in that regard.  All things considered, he’s handling the workload relatively well, even if the production has dipped compared to the start of the year.

Stats: 15 GP, 3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points, 12 PIMS, -8 rating, 21 shots, 47.1% faceoffs, 21:09 ATOI