What a difference a week makes. After all but taking themselves out of contention with three straight losses after the All-Star game, the Habs have clawed their way back into the race with four straight wins. Starting with a 3-0 win against the Jets last Sunday the Habs have gone on to earn victories against the Pens, Isles and Leafs. The team had their fair share of standout performers last week, finally making it difficult to pick the three, or four, that stood out most.
Here’s a look at this week’s stars:
First Star: Carey Price
Ok, so maybe this choice wasn’t so hard. Price had two shutouts last week, went a perfect 4-0-0, didn’t give up a goal in the first two periods of any game, stopped 118 of 122 shots and gave up only two goals in eight rounds of penalty shots Tuesday against the Pens. Not good enough? Price also chipped in offensively, getting an assist on Mathieu Darche’s breakaway goal. For these reasons and more Price is this week’s number one star.
Second Star: Max Pacioretty
Pacioretty’s breakout season continued last week. The 23 year old lit the lamp five times, including a hat trick Thursday against the Isles, and now leads the team with 23 goals and 42 points. Patches also unloaded a whopping 18 shots in the last four games, 10 against the Isles alone, and is now in the league’s top ten for shots on goal.
Third Star: Tomas Plekanec
It’s been a tough season for Plekanec so far, although usually reliable defensively, Pleks is a team low -12 this year and is second on the team to P.K. Subban in penalty minutes with 44. Still, Plekanec does deserve some of the credit for Montreal’s league leading penalty kill efficiency and he is tied for third on the team in points with 39 (11g, 28a). If the Canadiens can continue to get the type of performances from their most used forward as they did last week, this team might just be alright. Plekanec had a goal, four assists and the shootout winner against the Penguins and finished the week with a plus-2 rating.
Fourth Star (Honourable Mention): Scott Gomez
It took just over a calendar year, but Scott Gomez finally found the back of the net. His third period goal against the Islanders put the Habs up 3-0 at the time, but ended up counting as the winner after the Canadiens surrendered a pair of late game goals. It was his only shining moment of the week, in fact, the 7 million dollar man has seen his ice time slashed dramatically because of his less than stellar play. This week Gomez earns a mention for accomplishing something many fans in Montreal had stopped hoping for, next week, he’ll have to earn it.