The Montreal Canadiens have played well thus far, better than some would have given them the benefit of the doubt for.
The following will be my view of how the team has done so far.
The line of : Gionta-Plekanec-Bourque.
Brian Gionta has played well, always around the net, made some good crisp passes so far this season to go with his two goals and three assists for five points.
Tomas Plekanec seems to have become the old Pleky with new coach Michel Therrien. Pleky`s feet are always moving, he`s always around the puck and his six goals and four assists for 10 points are tied for first best on the team (Markov 10points).
Rene Bourque is the player this season so far that all Habs fans were waiting for, always in the traffic areas, goes to the corners and makes noise in front of the opposing team`s net, totals for Bourque so far are 3 goals, 4 assists for seven points.
Line grade : B+ I would give them an A but their faceoff capability is average at best, if Pleky was a better faceoff man this year, an A would be the grade. So far this season, Pleky`s line has taken over the number one line spot.
Next is last year`s number one line of Pacioretty-Desharnais-Cole.
Max Pacioretty has six assists for six points so far. Max started well but was sidelined for a few games due to having an operation to remove his appendix, it should take a couple more games after returning to properly grade him.
David Desharnais started the season poorly, in fact he has only had two good games so far, three goals and two assists for 5 points isn`t indicative as DD accumulated those totals during two games, the rest were abysmal.
Erik Cole is a known slow starter for his whole NHL career, last season was no different, however with only two goals and 2 assists for four points so far, one wonders if Cole is starting slow again or if the performance of his centre (DD) is the cause of his woes.
Line grade C+. DD`s non faceoff winning last year and this year is catching up to him along with his small stature as a centre, possibly the reason Cole has started slowly this season. Max P missed a few games so lets see how the line picks up in the next few game with all members back.
Next we have the kid line: Gallagher-Galchenyuk-Prust.
Alex Galchenyuk was the Habs third overall selection in 2012 draft, should have been first overall but had a knee injury which saw him play only a few games for the Sarnia Sting last season.
Galch has played beautifully so far only one goal but 6 assists for 7 points and learning the NHL game very well in the process. Cheers from the fans everytime he touches the puck.
Brendan Gallagher has four goals and two assists so far, looks to be Galch`s winger now and in the future, might be a devastating combo when they really learn the NHL game. Bright future follows those who create them, Glach and Gally are doing so right now.
Brandon Prust has one goal and two assists so far playing with the kids, but his role on that line is to protect and make room for the kids, which he is doing very well up to now.
Prust also has defended the team and thrown his weight around enough for teams to notice so far this season.
Line grade : An excited B. This line has what it takes to be a good one moving forward, talented young centre, sniper and grinder. Faceoffs are a problem but with the age of Galch, faceoffs will come in the future. This line`s future is promising.
Lastly we have: Moen-White-Armstrong.
Travis Moen has one assist and has been disappointing so far this season. Not many hits, a fight which he lost and not much else.
Ryan White has, well, done his job, but not with his brain unfortunately. White is now allowed to fight under current coach Therrien, however he seems to think that he can “lose his cool” whenever it suits him. Such is not the case as the Habs lost one game as a direct result of his double minor and gave the momentum to another team which subsequently the Habs lost in a shootoout. White has one goal.
Colby Armstrong is another disappointment this year so far, with no points and nothing really of mention. Sure he was hired to be an energy player on the fourth line, not much energy so far save one game.
Line grade C-. This line has potential, it could if used properly disrupt any team and annoy many opposing players however with the exception of the Habs home opener against the Maple Leafs (in which they were the best line) this line hasn`t shown very much of anything.
Defensive pairings will be my next post, along with an overall summary.
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