Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Emergence of Maxim Lapierre For The Canadiens

Centering the Canadiens' newly-formed energy line of Guillaume Latendresse and Tom Kostopoulos, Maxim Lapierre has emerged as a pretty valuable asset for the Montreal Canadiens.

Lapierre, 23, earned the December Molson Cup given to the best player during the month. The St-Leonard native won the Molson Cup for the first time in his career.

Lapierre recorded eleven points in Molson Cup standings after being voted first star of the game once and getting two second-star selections. He notched four goals and three assists for seven points in 13 games.

In December, he even had a “Gordie Howe hat trick” (a goal, an assist and a fighting major penalty) against the Rangers, which the Canadiens face again tonight in Madison Square Garden.

However, Lapierre's not only contributing offensively, he also leads the Habs in face-offs winning percentage with 56%, a 7% increase over last season. Lapierre also regularly kills penalties with linemate Tom Kostopoulos or grinder Steve Begin.

Lapierre, who plays an intense, gritty and strong all-round game, has top notch skating and speed with decent size; he is a player that knows what it takes to win. And now with the great complicity he has with Latendresse and Kostopoulos, Carbonneau is not afraid to use them in every situation, even late during tight games.

But, will Lapierre get as much of ice time when Saku Koivu returns on Saturday against the Capitals, or will he play sporadically on a 4th line once again undermining his blossoming talent?

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