November ends and Carey Price today was named the month’s Molson Cup winner for the second month in a row. It’s no surprise. There are many outside of Montreal who think Price is not only a strong candidate for the Vezina Trophy but also for the Hart.
Price, in a vote among fans, was named a star in ten of his twelve games during the month. He was first or second star four times each and named third star twice. He had a record of 8-4-0 with a 1.59 goals-against average, stopping 373 of 392 shots for a .952 save percentage.
Price also was named the NHL First Star for the week ending on November 14 with a 3-0-0 record, a 1.00 goals against average and a .970 save percentage.
For the Canadiens as a group, November, mirrored the Montreal weather. Up and down.
It began with a loss in Columbus, the team’s second loss in a row, and the only time so-far this season, they’ve suffered back-to-back losses. They bounced back to win in Buffalo, lost in Ottawa and then came back with those four straight wins against Vancouver, Boston, Carolina and Philadelphia. Since then it’s been a pattern of lose-one, win-one the rest of the month.
The Canadiens entered the month of November in first place in the Northeast division and third overall in the league. At the end of the month they are still first in the Northeast and fifth overall in the NHL.
As you might expect, Tomas Plekanec was the top scorer on the team with three goals and ten assists. Brian Gionta came out of his funk, thanks to a move to the Plekanec line. Along with his six assists he led the team with six goals for twelve points and a plus-3 rating. Then it was Michael Cammalleri (4g-4a-=8) and Andrei Kostitsyn (3g-3a=8). The top point-getter among defensemen was the rejuvenated Jaroslav Spacek who scored a goal and six assists..
Some of the other categories –
Power Play – The Canadiens’ power play started the month tied with New Jersey for last place with 3 goals in 39 opportunities and a 7.7%. Since then, thanks to 11 goals in their next 51 opportunities and a 21.5% success rate, the Canadiens now rank 19th overall in the league.
Penalty Killing – Ranked 6th overall in the league on November first (5/45 -88.9%), they are now 2nd. After successfully killing 91 of 101 shorthanded situations (89.1%) for an overall kill percentage of 90.1%.
Plus/Minus – Jeff Halpern/Mathieu Darche/Benoit Pouliot all had a team leading plus-4 rating. The defence pairing of Hamrlik and Spacek led the defence; Hamrlik at plus-3 and Spacek plus-2. For the most part they faced the opponent’s top lines all month, which made their rating look even better.
Blocked Shots – Hal Gill with 30, Roman Hamrlik-29 and Josh Gorges-24.
Hits – In the bodychecking department it was Maxim Lapierre and Andrei Kostitsyn with 31 followed by Travis Moen at 27 and Brian Gionta at 21.
Shots on Goal – Brian Gionta-57 (he scored six times); Michael Cammalleri 33 (4 goals); P.K. Subban – 33 (1 goal) Tomas Plekanec 32 shots (3 goals)