Forty games into the regular season, the Montreal Canadiens find themselves in 8th place in the Eastern Conference of the NHL with 45 points, thanks a 21-16-3 record.  If you look at that record at face value, I think it reflects the talent level on this club and the tooth-and-nail dogfight the Habs will be in over the final 42 games of the regular season as they look to secure a playoff spot.

If you extrapolate those numbers, the Canadiens will fall well short of the 99 points that General Manager Pierre Gauthier had his sights set on, at the start of training camp.  At this rate, they’ll be hard-pressed to climb into the mid-90s, in terms of point production.  Last season, the Canadiens clawed their way into post-season play with 88 points.  That’s NOT going to cut the mustard, this year.

Here’s a player-by-player assessment of the Habs as they prepare to turn the page on the first half of the season (in the order of point production.)

Tomas Plekanec:  A solid two-way contributor who has earned his paycheck.  I’d like to see him get closer to a point-a-game clip than the 32 points he has picked up in 39 games. But this durable, hard-working performer brings his “A” game on most nights.  The proof will be in the pudding, at playoff time.  A-

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