Montreal’s offence wasn’t sharp but the Habs
did just enough to win three of their four games this past week. In
Hamilton, the Bulldogs had a pair of games against the AHL’s weakest team and
took advantage by winning both. There’s lots of talk about adding a top
forward or defenceman with the deadline approaching; my Final Thought looks at
another possible addition that could really pay dividends.
1) Carey Price. Two goals allowed in
three games and two of those games were 1-0 victories so it’s not as if he’s
getting much in the way of support either. This type of run he’s on
(allowing more than two goals just once since December 9th) can’t be sustained
forever so enjoy it while it lasts. When it does end, the offence can in
turn steal him a few wins.
2) Max Pacioretty’s timeliness. He’s
being asked to carry a lot of the load (too much in my opinion) at both the
offensive and defensive end which has to wear him down as the game progresses.
Despite that, he came up with a pair of huge game winning goals to add to his
ever-growing total. It’s always good to have a high quality sniper but
even better when he has a knack for the timely tally.
3) Christian Thomas. It seems to be that
time of the year where a few different youngsters are going to see a bit of NHL
action to assess their readiness. When Thomas got his chance last season,
he didn’t fare well. This time around is a different story. His
speed is causing some issues for defenders while he’s playing more aggressive
than we’ve seen in the past. The points aren’t there but he nonetheless is
making a good impression.
1) Overplaying depth guys. With all due
respect to Dale Weise, he’s not a player who should be seeing top six ice time.
Yet, he played as much (one second more, actually) as Alex Galchenyuk. He
averaged under one minute less per game than Brendan Gallagher and only seconds
less per game than David Desharnais. When the team is struggling to score,
wouldn’t it make more sense to play the offensively-skilled players more and the
complementary players less?
2) Setting Michael Bournival up to fail.
We’ve all seen enough of him to know his strengths and weaknesses. He’s
not much of a gritty player yet the fourth line seems to be his home where he
sees George Parros-like ice time. Five minutes a night isn’t enough for
him to accomplish much of anything or even help his development. If this
lack of ice time is going to continue, send him to the minors so he can at least
play regularly. Right now, the Habs are tanking his development and his
trade value. Barring a major injury, it can’t get any worse.
3) Letting up way too early which is what the
Habs did on Sunday. With due respect to Arizona who played hard and
deserved the win, Montreal keeps failing to learn from past losses to weak
teams. It is not going to work if they only try hard for short periods of
time. It hasn’t worked well yet and it won’t moving forward. The
Canadiens are only three points out of first place in the league. It’s
losses like this and the ones to Buffalo that have cost them top spot so far.
Goals: Max Pacioretty (23)
Assists: Markov/Subban (22)
Points: Max Pacioretty (40)
+/-: Max Pacioretty (+23)
PIMS: Brandon Prust (90)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (182)
It was a weak week schedule wise as the
Bulldogs only had two games, both of which were against the AHL’s worst team.
To their credit, Hamilton took advantage, winning both games.
– Jarred Tinordi and Eric Tangradi both
returned to the lineup. However, Nick Sorkin missed both games with an
unspecified upper body injury. He’s listed as day-to-day.
– Charles Hudon may not have scored in the two
games against Iowa but he did put up a hat trick in the AHL All-Star Classic en
route to being named co-MVP (with Utica goalie Jacob Markstrom).
– The Bulldogs are on a season-best six game
win streak. Mike Condon finds himself on a personal five game streak,
allowing just seven goals in that span.
– Lines from the most recent game: (Note
that with eleven forwards, the lines were frequently juggled.)
Bowman – Hensick – Andrighetto
Carr – Hudon – Macenauer
Tangradi – de la Rose – Dowell
Bakker – Gill
Tinordi – Drewiske
Allen – Pateryn
Bennett – Dietz
|Jacob de la
Goals: Dumont/Hensick (12)
Assists: Charles Hudon (26)
Points: Charles Hudon (37)
+/-: Davis Drewiske (+12)
PIMS: Joe Finley (103)
Shots: Gabriel Dumont (111)
February 6: Iowa vs Hamilton
February 7: Hamilton vs Lake Erie
With the trade deadline now a month away,
there’s lots of talk about what the Habs need to add to help put them over the
top. The common consensus is that they need another top four defenceman or
a top right winger. While both of those would be nice adds, there aren’t a
lot of reasonably-attainable options. Those that are available are
carrying a hefty price tag so perhaps the target should be set a bit lower.
What we’ve learned over the past little while
with some of the youngsters getting a chance is two things. One is that
none of them appear to be ready to handle full-time top nine minutes while the
other is that Dale Weise and Brandon Prust are going to have infinite
opportunities to play big minutes until a better option is found. Marc
Bergevin may be wise to seek a couple of 2nd/3rd line forwards that not only
could give those lines a bit of a boost but also should force Therrien to put
the checkers back in a checking role. It’s not a perfect solution but the
acquisition cost should be more manageable while getting the likes of Prust and
Weise into much more ideal roles. It’s certainly worth looking into.