Not every week can be a winning one for the Habs, who lost a close game in Pittsburgh before dropping a tough one vs Colorado. In St. John’s, they had more success than the Canadiens but their week also ended on a tough note, blowing a huge third period lead. After allowing seven goals this week, some questions are starting to be asked about Mike Condon; my Final Thought looks at why those are premature.
Cheers and Jeers
1) Brendan Gallagher. At first glance, you see the struggles of Max Pacioretty and you might think that the first line is scuffling. It’s not, thanks to Gallagher. He has a nice four game point streak going (3-3-6) and is flirting with averaging a point per game. Not bad when the ‘shooter’ on that line isn’t scoring much.
2) Skaters staying healthy. Alexei Emelin’s undisclosed issue that kept him out of the lineup vs Colorado is the first time a Canadiens skater (excluding goalies) missed a game this season due to an injury (in Game 18). Feel free to knock on wood after reading this…
3) Greg Pateryn. He accepted a conditioning stint last week, went and got in game shape, and held his own in his first NHL action of the season against the Avs. That should help his case for getting into another game before too long regardless of Emelin’s status.
1) Tom Gilbert’s untimely penalties in Pittsburgh. I don’t think he has been worthy of all the criticism he has received but when you’re not doing a whole lot, you can’t make things worse by taking multiple penalties late in a game. The penalty kill did quite well to bail him out there.
2) Getting too fancy, something we’re starting to see from P.K. Subban in recent games. We all know he has the skill to make the extra tough plays with some regularity but when he gets too confident, he’ll try to make the tough play instead of making the smart one. Right now, he’s a little too confident and is starting to turn the puck over too often.
3) The surprising first period struggles. Going into the week, Montreal had allowed a total of four first period goals. They allowed five in the past two games alone, two vs Pittsburgh and three vs Colorado. Hopefully that’s just a blip on the radar.
Shootout – Skaters:
Shootout – Goalies:
Goals: Gallagher/Pacioretty/Weise (8)
Assists: P.K. Subban (15)
Points: Tomas Plekanec (17)
+/-: Gallagher/Pacioretty/Subban (+9)
PIMS: Torrey Mitchell (22)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (68)
St. John’s two week home stand got off to quite the memorable start. It’s very rare that an AHL team scores eight goals in a game. It’s even rarer to do so and lose but that’s what happened to the IceCaps against the Marlies. The game tied an AHL record for the highest scoring regulation tie.
News and Notes:
– Heading into Sunday’s games, the IceCaps have taken the most minor penalties of any team in the AHL.
– Nikita Scherbak and Markus Eisenschmid both left Friday’s games with undisclosed injuries. Neither are expected to be available for next weekend’s games vs Syracuse. To take their place on the roster, Angelo Miceli and Mark MacMillan were recalled from Brampton (ECHL).
– Tim Bozon, Josiah Didier, and Dalton Thrower were all assigned to Brampton. Thrower and Didier were subsequently recalled on Sunday.
– After a six point week, Michael McCarron now leads all AHL rookies in scoring.
– Lines from the most recent game:
Carr – McCarron – Thomas
Andrighetto – Hudon – Holloway
McNally – Dumont – Gregoire
Miceli – MacMillan – Fournier
Barberio – Ellis
Bennett – Dietz
Hanley – Lernout
Goals: Michael McCarron (8)
Assists: Bud Holloway (14)
Points: Bud Holloway (19)
+/-: Morgan Ellis (+9)
PIMS: Morgan Ellis (29)
Shots: Holloway/Hudon/Thomas (42)
November 20: Syracuse vs St. John’s
November 21: Syracuse vs St. John’s
I’m a bit surprised by the frustration and questions some fans have after an ugly outing by Mike Condon against Colorado. Yes, some mistakes were made by his defencemen but Condon was far from stellar. He was due for a bad game; frankly, I’m surprised it took him nine games to have one. Lost in the run he has had is that he’s a rookie and a backup goalie. There are going to be ups and downs with most goalies but especially rookie backups that haven’t had a high workload in the minors in the past.
It’s not time to worry about whether or not this is a sign of things to come and that Condon’s a flash in the pan. He’s earned the benefit of the doubt, even if he has a couple of rough outings between now and the time Carey Price returns. Condon has maintained the Habs’ hot start and helped keep them comfortably atop the division in Price’s absence. One bad game doesn’t change any of that. There’s little cause for concern between the pipes right now, even though Condon may be getting a bit tired. Nothing to worry about here.