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Danault: Mr. 300 and counting

Habs center is on pace for another career season as he gets set for his 300th NHL game on Wednesday

by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL /

MONTREAL - It's rather fitting that center Phillip Danault is enjoying what looks to be like another career season in the year that Guy Carbonneau was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

After all, Danault shares a connection to the three-time Stanley Cup winner and former captain in that he was the winner of the Guy Carbonneau Trophy as the QMJHL's best defensive forward in 2010-11 while with the Victoriaville Tigres.

The 26-year-old, who's set to play the 300th game of his NHL career on Wednesday, is also linked to Carbonneau in that his name has been bandied about as a possible candidate for the Selke Trophy, handed to the NHL's best defensive forward. It's an award that Carbonneau knows all too well, as he won it three times himself and was nominated for it six times in a seven-year span.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Espionn��s par une l��gende des Canadiens��� 😱When a Habs legend sneaks up on you...#GoHabsGo

December may be a tad early to start talking about trophies and awards, but one thing is clear: as Danault gets ready to clear another milestone, he has cemented himself even further as a crucial member of this Montreal Canadiens team.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Tout le monde/Everyone: woo!Phil Danault: 𝙂𝙊𝙊𝘿 𝙎𝙏𝙄𝘾𝙆 𝙇𝙀𝙃𝙆𝙔 😂#GoHabsGo

In October, the Victoriaville native tied for fifth in the League in faceoffs won with Mark Scheifele and Niklas Backstrom. His 57.9% win rate on the draw in November, meanwhile, was tied for fourth in the NHL among players having taken at least 200 faceoffs.

As of Wednesday, Danault had the seventh-most faceoff wins in the League when his team was leading (83), and was ranked eighth in draws won when the game is close (154).

Danault tied Joel Armia and Jeff Petry for the team lead in hits in November with 34, and he leads all forwards - and is second on the team - in differential this season with a plus-8.

And that's to say nothing of what he's provided on offense. Danault enters his 300th career contest riding a four-game points streak, and can match a career high if he gets a point against Ottawa to extend the run to five games. That would be the second time he'd have done so this season, mind you, after he collected seven points (1G, 6A) in five straight games from November 12-20.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Phil n���allait quand m��me pas d��cevoir Tuna.Tuna found Danault alone in front, and Phil didn't disappoint.#GoHabsGo

The 6-foot-1, 201-pounder led Montreal with nine helpers in November, which included his 100th career assist against New Jersey on November 16 and his 100th as a Hab on November 30 against Philadelphia.

With seven goals, 17 assists, and 24 points in 31 games, Danault is on pace for a 19-goal, 45-assist, 64-point season, which would beat his previous career highs of 13 goals, 41 assists, and 53 points.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: �� la derni��re (fraction de) seconde. ���Buzzer beater.#GoHabsGo

When he's on the ice with linemates Tomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher, the trio has combined for a Corsi For of 59.8% and a Shots For rate of 60.2%, both well above the team's 53.8% and 53.2%, respectively.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: ������ 90-24-11 ������#GoHabsGo

He's also been a contributing factor towards the Habs' improved showing on the power play: among players having taken at least 20 draws with the man advantage, Danault ranks first in the League with a 73.1% win rate.

Here's to you, Phil, and here's to 300 more. Congrats!

The Canadiens welcome the Ottawa Senators to the Bell Centre on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, click here.

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