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December had some ups and downs for the Habs who had some of their best and worst outings of the season.  Meanwhile, a handful of players had strong months statistically, earning them a spot in our monthly three stars as voted by our readers.

1st Star: Nick Suzuki – Offence was hard to come by for a lot of players but Suzuki had his best month of the year and one of his best as an NHL player from a points perspective.  He led the way in assists (tied) and points while having the best faceoff month of his career.  Even with his linemates not producing a whole lot, the captain found a way to be a consistent presence on the scoresheet while playing a reliable defensive game.  They’ll take more months like this from him.

Stats: 13 GP, 5 goals, 9 assists, 14 points, -2 rating, 4 PIMS, 36 shots, 59.9% faceoffs, 21:45 ATOI

2nd Star: Josh Anderson – It was only a matter of time before he got one.  After going goalless for a quarter of the season, Anderson’s scoring touch came back as he led the Canadiens in goals.  While that probably isn’t sustainable, neither was that long of a scoring drought.  It was nice to see him finally get rewarded for some of the prime scoring chances he generated as he showed that he can still be an impactful player in this lineup.  Now, the goal is to do this a bit more consistently and avoid another long drought in the second half of the season.

Stats: 13 GP, 6 goals, 3 assists, 9 points, -3 rating, 11 PIMS, 37 shots, 15 hits, 16:34 ATOI

3rd Star: Juraj Slafkovsky – Statistically speaking, this wasn’t a month that really stood out for the sophomore winger.  But it was how he played that earned him this nod.  Slafkovsky got an opportunity on the top line and wasn’t just a passenger; he played a big role in their success with some strong board battles and good puck possession while showing a considerable level of improvement in his hockey sense.  This is the type of player the Habs were banking on getting when they picked him first overall.  The points still need to come but it’s clear to see the progress being made.

Stats: 13 GP, 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, -2 rating, 11 PIMS, 17 shots, 19 hits, 18:18 ATOI

Honourable Mention: Mike Matheson – Once again, Matheson logged heavy minutes while being Montreal’s top producer from the back end, tying Suzuki for the team lead in assists.  Yes, there are some in-zone struggles, some of which stem from playing the type of minutes he is.  But he has also shown himself to be a catalyst offensively on a team that doesn’t have many of those.  Some have wondered if he could be a trade candidate with the prospects that they have coming but that would surprise me; I think Matheson is someone they’d like to keep around for a while.

Stats: 13 GP, 1 goal, 9 assists, 10 points, +3 rating, 12 PIMS, 31 shots, 22 blocks, 26:18 ATOI