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Team Reset

Montreal Canadiens season snapshot awards

Price named MVP; Weber top defenseman, comeback player after overcoming injuries

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

With the NHL pausing the 2019-20 regular season on March 12 due to the concerns surrounding the coronavirus, NHL.com is taking stock of each of the League's 31 teams.

Today, the award-worthy candidates for the Montreal Canadiens at the pause:

The hopes of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in three seasons appear dim for the Montreal Canadiens, who are 10 points behind the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference wild-card race.

But there have been some positives for the Canadiens, primarily a reliable veteran goalie and the emergence of a rookie forward.

To showcase those performances this season, here are their top players in various categories:

 

MVP

Carey Price has long been a workhorse goalie for the Canadiens, and this season the 32-year-old started an NHL-high 58 games and played an NHL-most 3,439:49. Since he debuted in 2007-08, two NHL goalies have played more minutes than Price: Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Marc-Andre Fleury of the Vegas Golden Knights. This season, Price made 1,595 saves on 1,755 shots, each second to Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets (1,656 saves on 1,796 shots), and is tied for fifth in the NHL with four shutouts.

Video: MTL@OTT: Price makes 30 stops in Canadiens' 3-0 win

 

Rookie

Nick Suzuki is sixth among NHL rookies with 41 points (13 goals, 28 assists) in 71 games and his five power-play points in February were tied for second with Dallas Stars forward Denis Gurianov behind Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (six). The 20-year-old is the only forward among four rookies (Ethan Bear, Edmonton Oilers; Matt Roy, Los Angeles Kings; Adam Fox, Rangers) to play every game for his team. Suzuki should be a pillar for many seasons, making him a worthwhile gamble for the Canadiens when they acquired him and forward Tomas Tatar in a trade with the Golden Knights for forward Max Pacioretty on Sept. 10, 2018.

Video: ANA@MTL: Suzuki beats Gibson with wrister for PPG

 

Defenseman 

Shea Weber revived his career at the age of 34 after a foot injury limited him to 26 games in 2017-18 and offseason knee surgery caused him to miss the first 24 games last season. Weber leads the Canadiens in ice time per game (24:00) and is on pace for 42 points, which would equal his total from his last full season (2016-17).

Video: VAN@MTL: Weber cranks home heavy slap shot

 

Defensive forward

Joel Armia is third on the Canadiens in hits (146) and first in takeaways (47), making the most of his size and strength (6-foot-4, 213 pounds) to work the dirty areas and win puck battles. Armia leads the Canadiens with three shorthanded goals and has averaged 1:37 per game on the penalty kill, fourth among Montreal forwards. 

Video: DAL@MTL: Armia puts home rebound to kick off scoring

 

Comeback player

This also goes to Weber, who was on pace to play his most games since 2016-17. He sustained a left ankle injury on Feb. 4 that was supposed to keep him out 4-6 weeks, but he returned to play Feb. 18 after missing six games. Weber has 36 points (15 goals, 21 assists) in 65 games and was chosen to play in the NHL All-Star Game for the seventh time.

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