Montreal Canadiens ups and downs: Week 11

Al Bello

Your weekly Habs trends, accounting for the second week of December.

In case you missed it, check out last week's ups and downs to see where players are coming from.

Habs Trends through week 11
Goalies Trend Notes
Carey Price Down_medium
Price got shelled against Los Angeles, even though none of the goals can really be put on him, he was mercy pulled and saw his weekly save percentage drop to .906, the lowest week of the season. Price rebounded instantly with a .958 save percentage the following two games though, so even though the trend is down, it's really a one game blip.
Peter Budaj Down_medium
Budaj fared no better than Price against LA, but put in a very solid performance against Florida in a game where the Habs were dominated. His week was also the worst of his season, registering a .897 save percentage.
Defensemen

P.K. Subban Up_medium
After a rough week where it was speculated that Subban was suffering from some sort of injury, P.K. was back to being the top defenseman on the team, dominating possess, especially against the Flyers, when no other Canadiens player managed to do much. He also broke a long pointless streak, and should have had 2 points but his assist in Philly was taken away.
Andrei Markov Up_medium
Markov struggled a bit more than Subban did, but he was mostly back to form after a really rough stretch. Markov somehow didn't record a point during this stretch, probably because the Canadiens scored 4 goals in 4 games, but almost all of the good looks seemed to have Markov involved somehow.
Josh Gorges Dash_medium
Gorges had an excellent game against the Islanders, helping shut down the Tavares line in his best game since early November. However there were three other games, in which Gorges got slaughtered, as is the usual since he was paired with Emelin.
Alexei Emelin Up_medium
It's easy to trend up from the bottom, but we shouldn't ignore that Emelin finished the week with two of his three best games of the entire season. The tide turning for Emelin would be a huge positive for the Habs, but we need a lot more than a couple good games to really convince us.
Raphael Diaz Down_medium
After a series of excellent performances where Diaz carried both Bouillon and Murray to the best games of their seasons, Diaz crumbled in the final three games, getting out-shot 45-27 against weak teams in the Flyers, Islanders, and Panthers.
Francis Bouillon Down_medium
Bouillon is undoubtedly a better even strength option than Douglas Murray. However he's the worse special teams option because he's a disaster on the PP and Murray has been better on the PK. So it's a matter of picking your poison, and Therrien has decided on Murray.
Douglas Murray Down_medium
Diaz isn't carrying him as well anymore, so Murray has been exposed. With 18 games played this season, with a 190 even strength minutes played, Murray has been on the ice for 9 goals against, and zero goals for. He is a giant black hole of garbage hockey.
Davis Drewiske Injured_medium
Nothing to say about the injured Drewiske.
Forwards
Tomas Plekanec Dash_medium
The offense has dried up a bit for the Habs' top forward this year, which was bound to happen eventually. He's still on pace for a 26 goal, 26 assists season in extreme tough minutes, which is awesome. Other players need to step up for when Plekanec experiences the ebbs after the flows. The plus side for Plekanec was that he had a solid possession week.
Brian Gionta Up_medium
Only one point for Gionta on the week, although it should have been two, as he had his assist taken away in Philly as well. The captain is doing all the right things, keeping mostly to the right side of the possession game in tough minutes, but can't catch a break. Only Galchenyuk and Plekanec have more points than him so far this season among Habs forwards, yet he gets more criticism than anyone.
Daniel Briere Dash_medium
Bounced around constantly, even though he had a couple of good games, Briere doesn't seem to have a place with the Montreal Canadiens. The rumours of a trade request are usually something we'd brush off, but considering the lack of opportunity he's been given in comparison to David Desharnais, would it really be that surprising?
Lars Eller Up_medium
Responding to a period of heavy struggles, Eller was the Canadiens' best possession player last week, playing with a variety of linemates, he made it work with everyone. The Habs were dummied in possession on the week, but while Eller was on they outshot the opposition 52-39, a 57% share. No points in 7 games for Eller, but it isn't for lack of trying.
Alex Galchenyuk Up_medium
Three of the Habs' last four goals have come off of the stick of Galchenyuk, with young forward now up on the top line with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta. Galchenyuk has been an absolute force the last four games, outshooting the opposition 70-55. 19 years old, and poised to be the best forward on the team. He's pretty good.
Brandon Prust Down_medium
Prust's play has been up and down for the last couple of weeks, but mostly down. After ending last week with a 1st star effort against Buffalo, he went out and performed significantly below team average in four straight games. I probably wouldn't be so harsh with Prust if I didn't already know the heights at which he's able to reach.
David Desharnais Down_medium
One great play in a week's worth of work is not enough, even if the play in question was truly excellent. Desharnais set up the overtime winner for the Habs' only win this week, but outside of it he was atrocious. Soft on the forecheck, passes to nowhere, it's same old, same old.
Max Pacioretty Down_medium
Two bad games and two good games from Pacioretty as he was forced to carry not only Desharnais, but Briere as well. Pacioretty is a damn good player, but it seems like he can't consistently carry both those guys, and his style of play needs an effective forechecker, which neither of them are. Max has been plagued by being the only finisher on his line all season, but still, 3 assists in 26 games is not good enough.
Brendan Gallagher Down_medium
Gallagher is a possession demon. He's a had a below team average Corsi percentage twice in the last 24 games, which is absolutely absurd, yet here he sites with just just 1 goal and 1 assist in 13 games. It's not good enough, and you could tell this week that frustration is setting in.
Ryan White Down_medium
Not a good week at all for White, as the team was outshot 27-7 with him on the ice, though he was lucky to be on for just a single goal against. The fourth line needs to stick together without the constant interjection of Parros in order to recapture that lightning in a bottle.
Travis Moen Down_medium
Moen's first rough week in essentially the whole season, as the surprising veteran saw the team be outshot 32-22 while he was on the ice. He was still the best fourth liner on the team, as he has been all season, and maintains the highest Fenwick on the roster at 53.7%.
Michael Bournival Dash_medium
Back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for poor reasons, Bournival struggled at first while being bounced around the lineup. When he was united with Eller and Gallagher, they were the Habs' best line against Florida, the only one able to maintain a solid forecheck.
Rene Bourque Injured_medium
Bourque is still injured, however Therrien has hinted that the banged up winger could be back early this week, which means that he could possibly be in the lineup on Tuesday.
George Parros Injured_medium
A second concussion in just nine games played and six fights, things don't look great for the veteran enforcer's future. It's probably time to ask the question, should he retire?

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