It was a week of ups and downs for the Habs
with more of the former than the latter as the team won two of its three games.
The same can be said for Hamilton as the Bulldogs picked up a pair of key
victories as they fight for a playoff spot. There are many who are hoping
to see more of Jiri Sekac in the second half of the year but my Final Thought
looks at why that’s not likely to happen.
1) Max Pacioretty’s hot streak. Although
his goal streak came to an end after an impressive six games, his run of points
remains intact and sits at seven games. With most of the offence drying up
lately (aside from Saturday’s win against the Islanders), this burst of
production couldn’t have come at a better time.
2) 1st period production. Seriously.
While the Habs on the season have been pitiful when it comes to scoring goals in
the first period, they have been much better as of late. In their last
seven games, they have seven first period goals and have scored in six of those
games. That’s a good sign.
3) Tomas Plekanec. Yes, the four point
game was particularly nice but before that mark, he was one of the few Habs who
was putting up points over the past couple of weeks. Prior to Saturday, he
had five points in his previous six games. Clearly, he and Pacioretty like
1) The hubbub over Alex Galchenyuk moving back
to the wing. This comes really as no surprise. He wasn’t playing all
that well and he was taking a beating while doing so. That’s usually a
recipe for something to change. This was his longest stint as a centre and
he’ll learn from it. This isn’t a permanent change by any stretch.
He’ll be back at his natural position before the season is out.
2) Montreal’s top defensive pairing.
Considering they combined for seven points, this may seem like an odd time to
say this but they need to be split up for a bit. In the defensive zone,
they are often way too nonchalant and the focus isn’t there as often as it needs
to be. I think they’re too comfortable playing together. How
do you solve that? Split them up for a bit, get them focused again, and
then put them back together.
3) Following up the good with bad. The
Canadiens made a nice comeback in Columbus (in a game they also played quite
well) and then followed it up with a dud of an effort the next night. When
you’re vying for the lead in the division (and the conference), that’s not
supposed to happen. A little more consistency after the All-Star break
would help their chances moving forward.
Goals: Max Pacioretty (21)
Assists: Andrei Markov (20)
Points: Max Pacioretty (38)
+/-: Max Pacioretty (+22)
PIMS: Brandon Prust (83)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (160)
The Bulldogs were able to make up a bit of
ground in the Western Conference standings after a pair of wins vs Grand Rapids.
They sit tied for 8th in the conference (though the 8th place Griffins have
three games in hand) heading into action on Sunday.
– Jarred Tinordi returned to action after
missing only three games as a result of his injuries sustained in a fight last
– Shane Bakker was released from his PTO
earlier in the week but signed his second one on Sunday night. Sahir Gill
has also returned; he received his second and final PTO of the year and suited
up on Saturday.
– Daniel Carr has six points in his last nine
games. This is just speculation on my part but I wouldn’t be shocked if
he’s the next forward to get a shot with the Habs once Christian Thomas is
– Lines from the most recent game:
Carr – Hensick – Andrighetto
de la Rose – Hudon – Dumont
Macenauer – Dowell – Sorkin
Nevins – Gill – Fournier
Tinordi – Drewiske
Allen – Pateryn
Bennett – Dietz
|Jacob de la
Goals: Charles Hudon (11)
Assists: Charles Hudon (25)
Points: Charles Hudon (36)
+/-: Bournival/Drewiske/Hudon (+6)
PIMS: Joe Finley (99)
Shots: Gabriel Dumont (100)
January 23: Toronto vs Hamilton
January 24: Hamilton vs Toronto
One of the complaints among the many that
ensued following Michel Therrien’s 100th different set of line combinations
(yes, I may be exaggerating that a bit) was the lack of utilization of rookie
winger Jiri Sekac. The Czech forward has played around 12 minutes per game
recently and there are quite a few who want to see him play more. My
advice? Don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen.
We’ve seen it many times before, young players
get eased into their roles and don’t see substantial jumps in their playing time
(particularly PP minutes) for quite a while. They did it with Galchenyuk,
Gallagher, and Beaulieu, among the other youngsters who have seen time with the
big club. If they weren’t willing to fast track a high end prospect in
Galchenyuk, they won’t do so with Sekac.
He’s averaging around 14 minutes a night for
the year which is decent third line minutes so it’s not as if he isn’t getting
any playing time. I’d expect that to continue in the second half,
especially when you consider that his career high in games played is only 58;
there will be wear and tear as the stretch run approaches and it’s logical to
expect them to manage or even reduce his ice time to keep him fresh. There
will be a time when Sekac gets a boost in TOI. That time will be next
season, not now.