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What a difference seven days makes.  One
week ago, things weren’t looking too rosy for the Habs who had lost three
straight but now their fortunes have reversed after a perfect 3-0 effort. 
The Bulldogs’ fortunes haven’t changed – they’re still miles away from the
postseason – but they too were 3-0.  There also was a trade this past week,
my Final Thought looks at the deal in more detail.

Cheers
and Jeers

Cheers to…

1) Tomas Plekanec, a model of consistency once again this year.  Rarely
is there a variation in terms of his play from game-to-game; sure he has a few
great nights and some bad ones but in a season where everything is crammed in, a
reliable and consistent contributor is even more valuable than usual.

2) Brendan Gallagher, who seemed to spark Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais. 
Even though he’s now out with a concussion, the brief time he spent with them
yielded quite arguably the others’ best efforts on the season.  If that’s
enough to get them going again, he will deserve a lot of credit.

3) Raphael Diaz, for playing strong throughout the week despite being used an
awful lot (and that’s with lowered PP time).  Honestly he’s playing more
than I think anyone would like but he is handling the minutes better than I
expected.

Jeers to…

1) Whichever coach made the decision to put P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov on
the same PP unit (it could be Therrien or Gallant).  Both need the puck on
their sticks to be useful and we all know that when Subban is out there, he
doesn’t defer.  It makes sense in late game situations but they need their
own units to be most effective.  The PP has struggled as of late and I
believe this is a notable part of the reason why.

2) The offensive attack in the 3rd period which, after an empty netter
against the Flyers, moved the Habs barely out of a tie for dead last in the
league for goals scored in the final stanza.  Add that to the fact the team
is near the top in most 3rd period goals allowed and it’s pretty easy to see
that closing out games is still a problem.

3) Erik Cole, for failing to get it done
offensively (he has hit the scoresheet just once in the past nine games). 
Yes, he is doing other things out there to help but at the end of the day, he’s
not one of the highest paid forwards for his hitting ability.  We’re now
more than 30% into the year and he needs to get better fast.

StatPack:

SKATERS


#

Player

GP
G A +/- PIM SH TOI
8 Brandon Prust 3 0 0 -2 4 4 44:50
14 Tomas Plekanec 3 1 1 +2 2 10 59:49
17 Rene Bourque 3 1 1 +3 2 7 51:50
20 Colby Armstrong 3 0 1 +1 0 2 32:02
21 Brian Gionta 3 1 2 +2 0 8 57:23
26 Josh Gorges 3 0 1 +3 4 5 62:43
27 Alex Galchenyuk 3 0 1 +1 0 4 33:32
32 Travis Moen 3 1 0 +2 5 1 35:27
51 David Desharnais 3 1 0 E 0 4 53:34
55 Francis Bouillon 3 0 0 -1 2 0 51:30
61 Raphael Diaz 3 0 1 +2 0 4 69:02
67 Max Pacioretty 3 0 2 +2 4 10 32:59
72 Erik Cole 3 0 0 -2 2 6 48:14
73 Brendan Gallagher 3 1 1 +2 2 7 33:23
74 Alexei Emelin 3 0 0 +2 2 4 57:14
76 P.K. Subban 3 1 1 E 2 8 59:41
79 Andrei Markov 3 0 0 +1 0 6 71:51
81 Lars Eller 3 0 2 +2 0 5 38:15

GOALIES


#

Player

Record

SV%

GAA
30 Peter Budaj 1-0-0 .947 1.00
31 Carey Price 0-2-0 .940 1.42

SHOOTOUT
– SKATERS

# Player G/ATT
27 Alex Galchenyuk 0/1
51 David Desharnais 1/1

SHOOTOUT
– GOALIES

# Player SVS/ATT
31 Carey Price 3/3

Scoring
Leaders:

Goals: Tomas Plekanec (7)
Assists: Raphael Diaz (10)
Points: Tomas Plekanec (12)
+/-: Galchenyuk/Gallagher (+7)
PIMS: Brandon Prust (71)
Shots: Tomas Plekanec (44)

Schedule:


February 18: Carolina vs Montreal
February 19: Montreal vs New York (R)
February 21: New York (I) vs Montreal
February 23: New York (R) vs Montreal

The Dog
Pound

They probably have dug themselves too deep of a
hole to climb out of but with a perfect 3-0 week, the Bulldogs were able to chip
away at the points deficit between them and the final playoff spot in the West. 
Several more perfect weeks will be needed to get back into the thick of things
though.

News and
Notes:

– Peter Delmas was recalled for Saturday’s game
vs Houston with Robert Mayer being recalled to Montreal.  As Mayer was sent
back down Sunday, Delmas was also re-assigned back to Wheeling.

– Jarred Tinordi and Michael Bournival both
returned from injuries sustained last week.  However, Frederic St. Denis
and Steve Quailer remain out with lower body injuries.

– Stefan Chaput’s goal against Toronto snapped
a 21 game goalless drought (he scored the following game as well).

– Approximate lines from the most recent game:

Forwards:

Blunden – Tenute – Holland
Bournival – Dumont – Leblanc
Murovich – Chaput – Stortini
Hagel – Fortier – Avtsin

Defence:

Beaulieu – Pateryn
Ellis – DeSantis
Tinordi – Stejskal

Results:

February 12:
Hamilton
3, Toronto 2

February 15:
Hamilton
3, Hershey 2 (SO)

February 16:
Hamilton
4, Houston 2

StatPack:

SKATERS


#

Player

GP

G

A

+/-

SH

PIMS
2 Greg Pateryn 3 1 0 E 6 5
3 Antoine Corbin 1 0 0 E 0 0
5 Jarred Tinordi 2 0 2 +2 2 0
6 Joe Stejskal 3 0 1 +2 1 2
8 Nathan Beaulieu 3 1 0 -1 4 0
10 Stefan Chaput 3 2 0 -1 8 2
11 Joey Tenute 3 0 3 +2 6 4
12 Zack Stortini 3 0 1 E 6 17
14 Michael Blunden 3 1 1 +3 7 0
15 Kyle Hagel 3 0 0 E 6 7
16 Olivier Fortier 3 0 0 +2 4 2
18 Michael Bournival 1 3 0 +2 6 0
19 Daultan Leveille 2 0 0 E 2 0
20 Louis Leblanc 3 1 0 E 9 4
27 Tyler Murovich 3 0 0 -3 3 2
37 Patrick Holland 3 0 2 E 5 0
40 Gabriel Dumont 3 0 3 +1 11 12
44 Morgan Ellis 3 0 0 +1 1 4
58 Jason DeSantis 3 0 2 E 2 0
67 Alexander Avtsin 3 0 1 -1 0 2

GOALIES


#

Player

Record

SV%

GAA
29 Robert Mayer 2-0-0 .934 1.93
34 Dustin Tokarski 1-0-0 .923 2.00

SHOOTOUT
– SKATERS

# Player G/ATT
8 Nathan Beaulieu 0/1
10 Stefan Chaput 1/1
20 Louis Leblanc 1/1
37 Patrick Holland 0/1
40 Gabriel Dumont 1/1

SHOOTOUT
– GOALIES

# Player SVS/ATT
29 Robert Mayer 3/5

Scoring
Leaders:

Goals: Gabriel Dumont (15)
Assists: Gabriel Dumont (15)
Points: Gabriel Dumont (30)
+/-: Joonas Nattinen (+6)
PIMS: Zack Stortini (169)
Shots: Brendan Gallagher (117) (Active Leader: Gabriel Dumont with
109)

Schedule:

February 18:
Rochester vs Hamilton
February 22: Rochester vs Hamilton
February 24: Milwaukee vs Hamilton

Final
Thought

I’m a fan of the trade that went
down earlier in the one, a deal that saw the Habs and Lightning swap third
string netminders.  Montreal acquired Dustin Tokarski while Tampa Bay added
(for the second time) Cedrick Desjardins.  Neither are likely to see any
significant NHL time this season but next year, that could be another story.

We all know Peter Budaj has been
shaky so far this year (although he was a bit better against the Flyers) and if
that continues, he probably won’t be offered a contract for next season. 
The UFA goalie market for the what the Habs can offer (low playing time and thus
likely a low salary) is pretty thin so it stands to reason that Tokarski could
very well be a potential option.  Prior to the Lightning acquiring Anders
Lindback, it was widely believed that he was going to get the first chance to be
the second goalie (with Mathieu Garon) and his play in the AHL this season
shouldn’t change that mindset. 

Is Tokarski a shoo-in for the job
next year?  Hardly.  (Heck, a lot of us said that about the last
goalie acquired for Cedrick Desjardins and that one didn’t turn out as
expected.)  But, is he a more viable option for the role than Desjardins, a
goalie who was quickly losing playing time to Robert Mayer?  He most
certainly is which makes this deal a win in my books.  Plus, it’s nice to
look at the goalie depth chart and actually see a youngster with NHL potential. 
It has been a while since that could be said about someone in the system (Price
being the most recent).

If you have any questions/comments, please feel
free to drop me a line at [email protected]