It was a week marked with inconsistency for
both the Habs and Bulldogs. Fortunately for Montreal, they were able to
steal a pair of games, however, Hamilton was not as successful, losing a pair to
division rival Manitoba. The stat of the week looks at shots, something
the Habs haven’t done a lot recently, while the Final Thought looks at 3 issues
the Habs need to improve on for them to contend when the playoffs roll around.
This, plus the return of the regular grades segment, in the Recap.
8.5 – 10: Player has exceeded
expectations for the week, very strong contributions.
6.5 – 8: Player has met expectations
for the week, play has helped or at worse, not hurt the lineup.
5 – 6: Player has performed below
expectations for the week, play has at best not hurt the team, but likely has
had a negative affect.
Under 4.5: Player has had a week to
forget, questions should soon be arising about his future with the organization.
#31 – Carey Price: 8.0
Struggled vs the Sharks, but stole the game in Phoenix, and kept the one in
Anaheim much closer than it should have been. (Season Average:
#41 – Jaroslav Halak: 8.0
There were some shaky moments, but considering he hadn’t played in nearly 2
weeks, a pretty solid performance from the Slovak. (Season Average:
#44 – Roman Hamrlik: 7.5 He was
the most involved defender, mixing things up and actually not making too many
mistakes like some of the others.
(Season Average: 7.32)
#79 – Andrei Markov: 7.5
The offensive game was there, but the defence was a little suspect, but that can
be said for most of the D this week. (Season Average:
#8 – Mike Komisarek: 7.0
Right now, it looks like he’s trying to do a little too much, and it’s hurting
his game. (Season Average:
#71 – Patrice Brisebois: 7.0
Kept things simple for the most part, and actually scored a goal (although he
did cost the team one as well.)
(Season Average: 6.69)
#26 – Josh Gorges: 7.0 A
very up and down week for him. His offensive numbers are improving though,
half of his points have been in the last 6 weeks.
(Season Average: 6.90)
#51 – Francis Bouillon: 7.0
Being paired with Gorges led to some interesting moments, but we’ve seen much
worse from Bouillon this season.
(Season Average: 7.00)
#3 – Ryan O’Byrne: 6.5
He did score, which was nice to see, but his decision making in the defensive
zone was Brisebois-esque at times, leading to a deserved sit down.
(Season Average: 6.63)
#14 – Tomas Plekanec: 8.0 His
impact on this team became even more evident when he was out of Sunday’s game –
he truly is one of the catalysts for the Habs.
(Season Average: 7.74)
#46 – Andrei Kostitsyn: 8.0
He may only have scored once this week, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of
good chances. (Season Average:
#27 – Alexei Kovalev: 8.0 We saw
the good and the downright ugly from him, but once again was the team’s leading
point-getter this week.
(Season Average: 7.93)
#74 – Sergei Kostitsyn: 7.5
When the going got tough, he didn’t get going, he elevated his game instead,
which was very nice to see from the rook. (Season Average:
#11 – Saku Koivu: 7.5 As the
postseason nears, the expectations are going up for the captain, so far, so good. (Season Average:
#84 – Guillaume Latendresse: 7.0
The goalless drought is over finally, let’s hope the next one doesn’t last as
long. (Season Average:
#40 – Maxim Lapierre: 7.0 The drive
is there, and so too is the physical play, and that’s what you need from your
energy players. (Season Average:
#54 – Mikhail Grabovski: 7.0
I’m not going to comment on this alleged "stunt" that he pulled, but aside from
continually being knocked off the puck by a slight breeze, he didn’t look out of
place this week.
(Season Average: 6.72)
#21 – Chris Higgins: 7.0 Out
of his line, he was the weak link, he needs to bury his chances much more
consistently. (Season Average:
#6 – Tom Kostopoulos: 7.0
I like the aggressiveness that I saw offensively, but I was surprised he wasn’t
mixing it up against the tougher Western teams.
(Season Average: 6.75)
#73 – Michael Ryder: 7.0
The offence has once again dried up, but the effort and the hustle are there,
something that couldn’t be said earlier on this season. (Season
#20 – Bryan Smolinski: 7.0
Whether you like him or not (and it seems the majority is in the latter), he at
the very least is getting the job done defensively and on faceoffs; I’m fairly
sure he will still be in the lineup come playoff time.
(Season Average: 6.89)
#32 – Mark Streit: 6.5
Not a week to remember, especially on the PP, where I eventually lost track of
his mistakes when they hit double digits.
(Season Average: 7.07)
#25 – Mathieu Dandenault: 6.0
His outing in Phoenix may be last we see of him for a while after that
(Season Average: 6.95)
The Bulldogs had a hard time doing anything
this week, they could barely score, and the goaltending was suspect at times as
Games 63-64 of the season.
3 Stars: 1) Heshka – MTB 2) Schneider – MTB 3) Jaffray –
3 Stars: 1) Fortunus – MTB 2) Grabner – MTB 3) Genoway –
Neither of the Bulldog games were offensive
explosions, so there’s a whole lot of zeros coming up.
Goals: Locke (21)
Assists: Locke (31)
Points: Locke (52)
+/-: Milroy (+14)
PIMS: Stewart (112)
March 11: Hamilton vs Milwaukee
March 12: Hamilton vs Chicago
March 15: Hamilton vs Toronto
With the Habs struggles to get
shots on net this past week, it only seems fitting to measure who’s tops in
terms of shots taken, and who’s essentially not shooting the puck enough (high
percentage, but low in the rank of shots taken.)
|Christopher Higgins||1||10||Andrei Markov||1||2|
|Alex Kovalev||2||4||Roman Hamrlik||2||5|
|Tomas Plekanec||3||3||Michael Komisarek||3||4|
|Mark Streit||4||12||Francis Bouillon||4||6|
|Saku Koivu||5||9||Patrice Brisebois||5||3|
|Andrei Kostitsyn||6||2||Josh Gorges||6||7|
|Michael Ryder||7||11||Ryan O’Byrne||7||1|
Shtrk: Player ranking in # of
shots taken by position
Sht%rk: Player ranking in
shooting percentage by position
Despite the fact the Habs are fighting for the
conference lead, there are a few issues that need to be addressed, or else it
could be an early exit for the club.
1) Special Teams – For most of the season, the Habs have lived and
died with these, with the PP being strong, and the PK being disastrous.
Right now, the PP has a grand total of around 3 plays they run (and well), good
teams will be able to key on these in the postseason, while if the PK doesn’t
get better soon, the team’s top strength may become its biggest weakness before
2) Scoring Depth – There’s the Plekanec and Koivu trios, and then
very little afterwards. The 3rd and 4th lines will need to pitch in more
offensively come April, all of the top teams have a unit that comes out of
nowhere in the playoffs, who’s it going to be in Montreal?
3) Line combos – It’s all well and good to keep everyone somewhat
fresh, but there comes a point where the lineup needs to be set. Most
playoff teams don’t run a 24-player rotation, and I can’t see the Habs starting
a new trend here. Who are going to be the odd players out?