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Grading the East after one-third of the season

The Canadiens have maintained their position atop the Atlantic division, even while starting Dustin Tokarski (No. 35) and Mike Condon in place of Carey Price. Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

One week ago, Montreal Canadiens goalie Mike Condon, who is sharing time in net with Dustin Tokarski while Carey Price recovers, faced the Bruins for the second time this season. After beating them once, Boston got the upper hand in game two. At the end of November, he played the Devils twice. He won the first game, lost the second. Same result for his two games against the Senators.

Condon, one of the great stories of the first third of the NHL season, is now adjusting as teams make adjustments to him the second time through. He’s seen a slightly different approach taken when teams see him again.

“A little bit, some guys are shooting a lot more,” Condon said when we chatted last week.

The reason?

“They saw my rebounds might have been an issue,” he said. “I’ve corrected that ... it’s a feeling-out process once they’ve played you. I’m getting more comfortable every day just as I’m sure they’re getting more comfortable with me.”

Partly because of Condon’s early success following Price’s injury, the Canadiens were one of the most successful teams in the first portion of the NHL season and, in handing out grades at the NHL’s first intermission, earn a rock-solid A for their ability to stay on top of the Atlantic without the league’s best goalie.