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Montreal Canadiens ups and downs: Week 8

The great thing about SB Nation is that we have a ton of content creators with great ideas to share, and this one comes from Japers' Rink. We'll be breaking down the entire Habs lineup in this way every week.

Davey's finally trending up.
Davey's finally trending up.
Greg Fiume

This looks a bit weird beginning over a quarter of the way through the season, but a great idea is a great idea. Huge stick tap to the amazing Japers' Rink for creating this kind of weekly review.

The idea of this is to simply show how each player on the Canadiens is trending compared to the week before, in an easily digestible format.

Let's get to it, shall we?

Habs Trends through week 8
Goalies Trend Notes
Carey Price Up_medium
As hard as it is to believe, Price has been even better lately, with a .951 save percentage over his last five starts, and he's finally over .500 on the season, even though judging a goalie by wins is pretty nonsensical.
Peter Budaj Down_medium
Trending down is really the only place you can go when your save percentage is so high, so I wouldn't take this as a bad sign for Flanders. He still won his start against Washington, a playoff team, and put up a .926 save percentage.

P.K. Subban Up_medium
Subban put up three points in three games, phenomenal possession numbers, and shut down Sidney Crosby. Subban was on for two goals against in 71 minutes of ice time, but he was on for twice as many Habs goals. He's also been doing this while starting over 70% of his shifts in the defensive zone. You listening, Team Canada?
Andrei Markov Up_medium
Remember when I said in the summer that the Habs shouldn't trade Markov? This season shows exactly what I was talking about. Paired with Subban he's been a possession monster, leading the team. He put up a near identical stat line to Subban last week, also with three points, also in tough minutes, and slightly better possession.
Josh Gorges Down_medium
Gorges has been struggling to compensate for Emelin's rusty play so far, but he did manage to put up 2 assists. That said, Gorges' main responsibility is defense, and although he was pretty lucky at even strength last week, his play has suffered a bit.
Alexei Emelin Dash_medium
Emelin doesn't have anything else to compare him to really, so we'll go with no change at all. His return hasn't been amazing, with just a 37.1% Fenwick, but his impact has been huge. Murray is out, and opponents clearly hesitate crossing the blueline with Emelin out there.
Raphael Diaz Up_medium
Moving down the lineup has been huge for Diaz, who has put up positive possession relative to the team for three straight games after being in the negatives for eight straight in tough minutes. He also registered his first assist in 5 games against Pittsburgh.
Francis Bouillon Up_medium
It's easy to trend up when you're at rock bottom, but with Diaz helping him out Bouillon has gone from a possession black hole to merely below average. Bouillon was a healthy scratch for the first time under Therrien this week, and although the excuse was that he's old, hopefully that means it could happen in the future.
Douglas Murray Dash_medium
Diaz made him look a lot better against Washington, but Murray is obviously on the outside looking in, and I don't think anything outside of a huge run of injuries would change that.
Davis Drewiske Injured_medium
Drewiske is the last Habs player on the injured reserve, yet to play a game this season. Some people have probably forgotten he's around.
Tomas Plekanec Up_medium
Plekanec's line was blown apart against Washington, but they held rock solid against Minnesota and Pittsburgh, and Plekanec was one of the main reasons Crosby was a non-factor. He also put two points on the board.
Brian Gionta Up_medium
Like Plekanec, Gionta wasn't very good against Washington, but he was excellent in the two other games. He only put one assist on the board and is mired in a 10 game goalless drought, but the play is there, and that should change soon.
Danny Briere Up_medium
Two goals in three games and positive possession in tough minutes against three playoff teams. Small sample sizes be damned, that's better than I ever expected to get from Briere this season. If he can keep that up, he might be worth his contract this season.
Lars Eller Down_medium
As I noted yesterday, Eller job has become a lot tougher lately, and his line is struggling to handle it. No points in 4 games isn't the worst cold streak, but his possession numbers have cratered over that time too.
Alex Galchenyuk Down_medium
Like Eller, Galchenyuk has struggled in tougher minutes and away from Gallagher, but he did manage to score a goal against the Wild. I wouldn't worry much about these guys though, they're too talented to not figure it out really soon.
Brandon Prust Down_medium
Prust did manage an assist last week, but he's been struggling since returning from his shoulder injury. The same thing happened last season, because he probably pushes it and comes back too early. He should get better with time though, and until then he's still solid defensively.
David Desharnais Up_medium
Has Desharnais scored yet? YES!! Three points in three games since being reunited with Pacioretty, and a sharp increase in his possession metrics. I really don't think we're out of the woods yet with Desharnais, but hopefully I'm wrong.
Max Pacioretty Up_medium
#PaciorettyWeek was a resounding success, with Max putting up 5 goals in three games and easily being the Canadiens' best forward. Not only was Pacioretty awesome, but he ripped all the people who've been criticizing him for things they don't understand, which endears him to me even more.
Brendan Gallagher Dash_medium
Gallagher played pretty well coming off of an illness, but he's pretty much always awesome so this is just par for the course. His possession numbers have held steady, but two assists in five games is a bit cold for him.
Ryan White Up_medium
White got an assist! That might not seem like a big deal, but it was his first in two seasons. He was also on the ice for two Habs goals, and only one against. The possession numbers aren't nice, but they haven't been for awhile.
Travis Moen Up_medium
Moen's stellar play this season was finally rewarded against Washington as he broke the goose egg and scored his first of the year. It's no surprise that Markov and Subban are leading the way for the Habs in possession, but right behind them is Moen. Crazy.
Michael Bournival Down_medium
Bournival was doing more than fine on the top line in tough minutes, then he got demoted, and began to struggle. Could be that Bournival is just going through the normal rookie ups and downs, but he's been notably less effective lately. With that said, he still put up a goal and an assist in just 24.2 minutes of ice time the last three games.
Rene Bourque Injured_medium
Bourque is still day-to-day with a lower body injury, and in the meantime he may find himself without a spot to return to.
George Parros Dash_medium
A healthy scratch, which is going to be par for the course for most of the season. Great guy, not a good hockey player at this level.

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