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It has been a while since this could be said
but wins were hard to come by this past week.  The Habs were only able to
manage one win in three games although that one victory secured them a playoff
spot while the Bulldogs lost all three of their contests.  My Final Thought
discusses the new two year deal for Peter Budaj and why he should continue to be
a strong fit for the team moving forward.

Cheers
and Jeers

Cheers to…

1) The team for making their way back to the
playoffs after a disastrous 2011-12 campaign.  Not many saw this coming
back in January; it’s quite the accomplishment for the Canadiens.

2) Peter Budaj, who continues to put up strong
performances regularly.  By no means is it time to ponder a goalie
controversy but the coaching staff should feel more comfortable when they need
to go to him down the stretch.

3) Rene Bourque, for returning to the lineup
playing the exact same way he was at the beginning of the year.  He has
been aggressive with his shot while playing a physical game.  Getting him
back to 100% playing shape for the postseason will be huge.

Jeers to…

1) Carey Price’s outing against Toronto. 
Three goals allowed on four shots isn’t going to cut it.  Perhaps debuting
a new set of pads against a team you historically have struggled against wasn’t
the best idea after all.

2) The remnants of last years’ top line who now
are struggling to produce.  Max Pacioretty has just three goals in his last
19 games while David Desharnais has two in that span.  Desharnais is
picking up the odd assist here and there but the duo that has worked so well
together dating back to their days in Hamilton needs to pick things up soon.

3) The notable lack of creativity on the
powerplay.  Plan A is get the puck to the point for the shot.  That’s all well
and good except that Plans B through F are the exact same.  When the
defence
pairing changes, the PP becomes effectively useless as there is little movement
from the forwards and the replacement defencemen aren’t as good as Subban and
Markov.  Variety is always good and the Habs’ powerplay needs some soon.

StatPack:

SKATERS


#

Player

GP
G A +/- PIM SH TOI
8 Brandon Prust 3 0 1 E 12 2 36:16
11 Brendan Gallagher 3 1 1 -1 2 6 46:16
14 Tomas Plekanec 3 0 1 E 0 8 51:28
17 Rene Bourque 3 1 0 E 2 10 41:06
21 Brian Gionta 3 0 1 -1 2 4 47:46
24 Jeff Halpern 3 0 0 -2 0 0 35:49
26 Josh Gorges 3 0 0 -2 0 3 63:44
27 Alex Galchenyuk 3 1 2 +2 2 6 36:48
32 Travis Moen 3 0 0 -1 0 6 35:20
40 Nathan Beaulieu 3 0 1 +3 0 6 44:58
44 Davis Drewiske 3 1 0 +2 0 3 49:14
51 David Desharnais 3 0 2 -2 0 3 49:30
55 Francis Bouillon 3 0 0 E 9 6 55:53
67 Max Pacioretty 3 0 2 -1 2 11 52:01
73 Michael Ryder 3 0 2 -1 0 6 47:45
76 P.K. Subban 3 1 1 -3 4 13 74:49
79 Andrei Markov 3 1 1 -4 0 7 71:56
81 Lars Eller 3 2 0 +1 0 8 46:34

GOALIES


#

Player

Record

SV%

GAA
30 Peter Budaj 1-0-0 .923 1.66
31 Carey Price 0-2-0 .806 5.16

Scoring
Leaders:

Goals: Michael Ryder (16)
Assists: P.K. Subban (23)
Points: Ryder/Subban (34)
+/-: Prust/Subban (+13)
PIMS: Brandon Prust (102)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (140)

Schedule:

April 15: Philadelphia vs Montreal
April 17: Montreal vs Pittsburgh
April 18: Tampa Bay vs Montreal
April 20: Washington vs Montreal

The Dog
Pound

Hamilton had a chance to play spoiler to some
teams battling it out for a spot in the postseason,  Instead, they lost all
three games in one of their uglier weeks of the year.

News and
Notes:

– Steve Quailer suffered a concussion in the
first of two Lake Erie games.  He is out indefinitely.  Patrick
Holland and Michael Bournival left Sunday’s loss with undisclosed injuries.

– Sebastian Collberg signed his widely
anticipated PTO contract on Sunday.  He is expected to play in Hamilton’s
next game on Friday.

– The Habs weren’t the only team to allow four
goals on five shots in a first period this past week.  The same thing
happened to Dustin Tokarski in Friday’s 6-2 loss to Lake Erie.

– The Bulldogs have been shutout eleven times
this season.

– Approximate lines from the most recent game:

Forwards:

Hudon – Tenute – Holland
Kristo – Bournival – Belzile
Archambault – Nokelainen – Leblanc
Hagel – Stortini – Quailer

Defence:

Tinordi – Stejskal
St. Denis – Pateryn
DeSantis – Ellis

Results:

April 12:
Lake Erie
6, Hamilton 2

April 13:
Lake Erie
3, Hamilton 2

April 14:
Oklahoma City
4, Hamilton 0

StatPack:

SKATERS


#

Player

GP

G

A

+/-

SH

PIMS
2 Greg Pateryn 3 0 0 -2 9 2
4 Adam Ross 1 0 0 E 0 0
5 Jarred Tinordi 3 0 0 -5 3 9
6 Joe Stejskal 3 0 0 -6 2 2
7 Peter Merth 1 0 0 E 0 0
11 Joey Tenute 3 0 1 -3 4 15
12 Zack Stortini 2 0 0 E 0 2
13 Steve Quailer 1 0 0 E 0 0
15 Kyle Hagel 3 1 0 E 5 4
18 Michael Bournival 3 2 0 -1 7 4
20 Louis Leblanc 3 0 0 -3 6 2
24 Danny Kristo 3 0 2 -3 2 2
26 Petteri Nokelainen 3 1 0 -4 6 0
32 Frederic St. Denis 3 0 0 -1 0 0
37 Patrick Holland 3 0 0 -4 9 2
44 Morgan Ellis 3 0 0 -1 4 2
47 Alex Belzile 3 0 0 -3 2 7
53 Charles Hudon 4 0 1 -4 7 4
54 Brady Vail 3 0 2 +2 3 2
56 Olivier Archambault 3 0 0 -3 2 0
58 Jason DeSantis 1 0 0 E 2 0

GOALIES


#

Player

Record

SV%

GAA
29 Robert Mayer 0-1-0 .857 3.09
34 Dustin Tokarski 0-1-0 .200 19.02
50 Jacob Gervais-Chouinard 0-1-0 .898 3.36

Scoring
Leaders:

Goals: Gabriel Dumont (16)
(Active Leaders: Bournival/Holland with 10)
Assists: Nathan Beaulieu (21) (Active Leader: Michael Bournival with
19)

Points: Gabriel Dumont (31) (Active Leader: Michael Bournival with 29)
+/-: Joonas Nattinen (+6)
PIMS: Zack Stortini (222)
Shots: Louis Leblanc (154)

Schedule:

April 19:
St. John’s vs Hamilton
April 20: Hamilton vs Rochester
April 21: Rochester vs Hamilton

Final
Thought

It’s funny how quickly things can
change, especially in a shortened season.  Two months ago, many were
calling for Peter Budaj’s demotion but now, many are applauding the two year
extension that was given to him, one that sees his cap hit increase by $250,000
as well.  Although I was hoping to save a bit of money on the backup goalie
for next year (Montreal is spending just over 12% of the 2013-14 salary cap on
goalies which is a bit of a high percentage), I’m among those that are happy
with the deal.

There are two elements I want in a
backup goalie for Carey Price, who despite some recent rough patches, is still
rightfully entrenched as the starter for the foreseeable future.  The first
is that the player knows his role – he knows he won’t be the starter and won’t
complain about playing time if he sits for an extended period of games. 
The second is the ability to competently play consecutive games in the event of
injury – some backups typically struggle when they have to shoulder the load and
play worse than they would in single game situations.

Budaj not only provides both of
these elements (he still is just a couple years removed from either being the
starter or in a platoon in Colorado) but he also has, by all accounts, been a
terrific player in the dressing room as well.  In terms of quality veteran
goaltenders, there’s not much more really that can be asked for.  The
contract is a bit more expensive than a run-of-the-mill veteran backup but at
the same time, Budaj brings more to the table than that type of player. 
Both this season and last, Montreal has had above average goaltending. 
It’s nice that this should be the case for the next two years as well.

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