While the All-Star break and bye week took away some of the spotlight, the Habs had some strong performances in February which helped lead them to a winning record. Here is who our readers voted for as the stars of the month.
1st Star: Mike Matheson – It has been a season of stops and starts for the veteran in his first year in Montreal but last month, he was healthy the entire time. Boy, did it show. He was deployed in heavy minutes in all situations and played like a legitimate top-pairing defenceman. Meanwhile, in a season where the Habs haven’t had much in the way of consistent production from their blueliners, Matheson was Montreal’s leading scorer which helped earn him nearly 70% of first-place votes.
Stats: 9 GP, 3 goals, 5 assists, 8 points, +7 rating, 2 PIMS, 22 shots, 17 blocks, 24:19 TOI
2nd Star: Jake Allen – The break seemed to do Allen a lot of good as he has been much sharper as of late. This falls within his typical career trajectory where the more he plays, the more he struggles but when his minutes are managed, he’s still an above-average goalie. The end result last month was Allen keeping the Habs in some games they probably shouldn’t have been in to the point where they were able to win some. The Habs aren’t necessarily expecting to see this from him all the time but keeping things respectable is the goal; he did just that last month.
Stats: 5 GP, 4-1-0 record, 2.00 GAA, .937 SV%, 1 SO
3rd Star: Nick Suzuki – Suzuki actually had the most second-place votes for February on the heels of leading the team in goals but Allen’s edge in first-place votes was enough to place him just ahead of the captain. Suzuki also clearly came back recharged from the break, not unlike last season when he was worn down around the midway mark before finding a new gear late in the year. That might be tougher this time around with his linemates ranging from underachieving veterans to rookies but Suzuki made the most of it last month.
Stats: 9 GP, 4 goals, 3 assists, 7 points, +7 rating, 0 PIMS, 22 shots, 44.8% faceoffs, 20:19 TOI
Honourable Mention: Josh Anderson – The veteran spent a good chunk of the month on the top line which, to be frank, isn’t really the best spot for him but injuries largely forced their hand. Despite being miscast in that spot, Anderson had a decent month. Notably, he was considerably less physical than usual. With everyone else seemingly going down due to injury, perhaps that’s not the worst idea, especially when they’re playing out the stretch.
Stats: 9 GP, 3 goals, 2 assists, 5 points, +4 rating, 21 PIMS, 31 shots, 12 hits, 17:38 TOI