The Habs had their busiest week of the year so far but they just kept on winning, extending their winning streak to seven straight in the process. In St. John’s, the IceCaps finally got to play at home and split a pair of games against one of their division rivals.
Torrey Mitchell: He’s had a very nice start to the season but there’s no way his scoring touch is going to last. He actually did this last season too, scoring five goals in October before falling off a cliff going more than two months between goals. I’m even a bit concerned about his work in the faceoff dot; he’s around 60% so far which is great (especially given everyone else’s struggles) but that mark is way above his career average (more than 10% higher). It could be a rough few weeks ahead as he starts to revert closer to his normal numbers.
Tomas Plekanec: Every year it seems like there’s one player who seems to get off to a real slow start offensively and this year it appears that it’s Plekanec’s turn. After missing on frankly too many chances, he was moved onto more of a defensive role which may not be the worst thing for him. Regardless of his production or lack thereof, he is Montreal’s top defensive centre and so far at least, he has been strong in that area. That said though, with a cap hit of $6 million, defence alone isn’t going to cut it.
Shea Weber: It’s hard not to be happy with how he has played so far. His more conservative style of play has fit in well so far while that booming shot of his came in quite handy this week. I’m a bit concerned with how much they’re using him; I’d like to see the team find a way to give Pateryn an extra couple of minutes to take some of the workload off of Weber. Yes, he has played 25-26 minutes a night in the past but if the hope is to have a nice playoff run, it would be handy to take a bit of the pressure off; even at this stage of the year, it can make a difference later on.
Goals: Gallagher/Mitchell/Weber (4)
Assists: Galchenyuk/Pacioretty/Weber (4)
Points: Shea Weber (10)
+/-: Shea Weber (+12)
PIMS: Alexander Radulov (18)
Shots: Brendan Gallagher (31)
After a six game road trip to start the season, the IceCaps had their home opener among a pair of games against Rochester. While they won the home opener, they dropped the second game to split with the Amerks.
News and Notes:
– Jacob de la Rose has a fractured finger and missed both games against Rochester. He’s also expected to miss at least the next week of action. Max Friberg (undisclosed injury) was considered to be a game-time decision for Friday but didn’t play either game. He’s day-to-day.
– The IceCaps thought better of their plan to keep three goalies around and assigned Zach Fucale to Brampton of the ECHL.
– Connor Crisp continues to be a healthy scratch and has played just one of eight games so far this season. One would hope that if this continues much longer, he too will get to go to the ECHL to get some game action.
– Lines from last game:
Andrighetto – Terry – Carr
Hudon – McCarron – Scherbak
Matteau – Audette – Farnham
Broll – MacMillan – Gregoire
Hanley – Barberio
Samuelsson – Lernout
Parisi – Didier
Goals: Charles Hudon (5)
Assists: Mark Barberio (6)
Points: Chris Terry (9)
+/-: Didier/Gregoire/Hanley (+2)
PIMS: Broll/McCarron (24)
Shots: Charles Hudon (25)
November 1: Utica vs St. John’s
November 2: Utica vs St. John’s
November 5: Toronto vs St. John’s
November 6: Toronto vs St. John’s
It’s hard to complain about much of anything right now with the Habs but I’m already getting a bit concerned with the power play. Yes, it’s operating at a nice 21.9% right now but it looks an awful lot like the power plays of previous years. Basically, get the puck to the point for a hard shot; that seems to be plans A and B and as we’ve seen the last few years, that only works for so long. We’ve seen Alex Galchenyuk score on his off-side with the man advantage several times and Max Pacioretty is one of the better snipers in the league. I’d like to see some efforts made to get them a bit more involved instead of trying to force feed Weber. There’s no doubt that his shot is an asset but mixing it up a bit more and getting some of the forwards more involved should help the power play sustain its improved start to the season.