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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Montreal Canadiens Three Stars of the Week - Jan 27 - Feb 2, 2014

montreal canadiens habs tricolore 3 stars nhl

After dropping 4 straight games, and 5 of their last 6, the Canadiens got back on track in their 4 games last week, going 2-1-1. Carey Price stole the show on Tuesday, making 36 saves in Montreal's 3-0 win over the Hurricanes. Peter Budaj was up to task in Boston on Thursday, he put in a 34 save performance, backstopping the Habs to a 4-1 victory. The offense cooled off on the weekend when the Canadiens played a pair of matinees against the Lightning and Jets, they dropped both games 2-1, but earned a loser point for taking the Bolts to overtime.

Here's a look at the standout performers from last week.

First Star: Carey Price

Carey Price had a 5-game stretch of allowing 4 goals or more heading into last week's action, but recovered well enough to allow 4 goals total in the 3 games he played. Price started the week off with a shut out against the Hurricanes and then played a pair of weekend games less than 24 hours apart against the Bolts and the Jets, making 34 saves on Saturday and 33 on Sunday. Price only allowed one regulation goal against the Lightning, a redirected pass that PK Subban pushed towards the net. On Sunday, Price probably would have liked to get back the second goal he allowed against Winnipeg, which Michael Frolik buried after Price mishandled the puck along the goal line. Price finished the week with a 1-1-1 record and a .963 save percentage.

Second Star: Brendan Gallagher

Brendan Gallagher was his usual pesky self throughout last week, battling for space in front of the crease and frustrated goalies wherever he went. The Canadiens' spark plug picked up a goal and 3 assist in 4 games, and was the game's First Star Thursday in Boston, and the Second Star against the Hurricanes on Tuesday. He was the most visible Habs player on Sunday against the Jets, despite not finding the scoresheet, and was a regular target of defenseman Mark Stuart, who has an extra 5 inches and 35 pounds on Gallagher.

Third Star: Brian Gionta

Montreal's captain ended the week on a 3-game point streak, with 2 goals and an assist in his last 3 matches. Gionta set up Daniel Briere for the tying goal against the Lightning on Saturday, forcing overtime and earning the Habs at least one point. He was the only Canadien to find the back of the net against Al Montoya and the Jets on Sunday. Gionta also deflected a Tomas Plekanec shot for a power play goal against the Bruins on Thursday.

Honorable Mention: Peter Budaj

The Habs' back up goalie played just one game last week, but he got the job done against the division leading Bruins, stopping 35 of the 36 shots he's faced. The win helped Budaj bring his GAA under 2.00, he's now at 1.97 in that department to go along with a .926 save percentage, both those numbers have him on pace for career bests.

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