The Habs had even more injuries this past week with Brendan Gallagher and Paul Byron going down but they kept piling up the wins. In St. John’s, they managed to pick up three points despite their weakest lineups of the year thanks to those injuries.
Sven Andrighetto: At this point, it’s starting to look like this could very well be his last chance in the NHL. If he can’t make the most of this current opportunity with so many regulars out of the lineup, he’s probably not going to make it period. He was okay against Toronto but okay isn’t going to be good enough if he wants to make a positive impression not only on the Habs but any other teams around the league. It’s now or never for Andrighetto.
Nathan Beaulieu: He and Jeff Petry are both at the top of their games at the moment and Beaulieu’s play in particular has made losing Markov a bit easier to stomach in the short-term. The key now for him is avoiding the unnecessary mistakes that will inevitably bump him back down the lineup as we’ve seen in the past. He’s shown glimpses of the player many have waited for. Now, can he turn them into more than just glimpses and do that more consistently? A big pay day awaits him if he can.
Max Pacioretty: After going cold in November (in part due to playing through a break in his foot), we’ve seen the other side of Pacioretty’s streakiness. Since the calendar turned to December, he has lit the lamp 14 times in just 17 games. He and Alexander Radulov are really carrying the attack right now and while it’s unlikely that Pacioretty will continue at this pace, his prowess has allowed the Habs to stay afloat while dealing with their injuries. When he goes into his next slump (and he will), he has earned a lot of patience from the fans.
Goals: Max Pacioretty (19)
Assists: Alexander Radulov (21)
Points: Max Pacioretty (34)
+/-: Beaulieu/Weber (+17)
PIMS: Andrew Shaw (58)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (127)
The IceCaps wrapped up their longest road streak of the season on a winning note despite icing their worst lineup of the year by far.
News and Notes:
– With all of the injuries and recalls (add Connor Crisp and Josiah Didier to the injured list), the IceCaps signed four players to PTO deals – forwards Anthony Camara, John McCarron (Michael’s older brother), and Alexandre Ranger as well as defenceman Reggie Traccito. With Yann Danis back, Bryan Pitton was let go from his tryout deal while winger Brandon MacLean was released on Sunday as well.
– St. John’s signed defenceman Julien Brouillette to a one year contract covering the rest of the season. He was previously on a PTO deal and after being a scratch early on, has worked his way up to the number one pairing alongside Joel Hanley.
– Charles Hudon rejoined the IceCaps late in the week and while he didn’t play, he appears to be getting closer to returning to the lineup.
– A pair of IceCaps were named to the North Division All-Stars, defenceman Mark Barberio and goalie Charlie Lindgren. However, it’s unlikely that Barberio will be able to participate as he’ll be in Montreal for the foreseeable future.
– Lines from last game:
Matteau – Audette – Friberg
Broll – de la Rose – Gregoire
Veilleux – Eisenschmid – Ranger
Camara – MacMillan – McCarron
Hanley – Brouillette
Parisi – Lernout
Samuelsson – Racine
|20||Jacob de la Rose||3||0||1||-1||6||2|
Shootout – Skaters:
Shootout – Goalies:
Goals: Hudon/Scherbak/Terry (10)
Assists: Chris Terry (16)
Points: Chris Terry (26)
+/-: Brett Lernout (+7)
PIMS: Stefan Matteau (83)
Shots: Sven Andrighetto (62)
January 13: Hartford vs St. John’s
January 14: Hartford vs St. John’s
With a little more than half the season to go, there’s a good chance that this past road trip will ultimately fly under the radar at the end of the year. It shouldn’t. I don’t want to call it the trip that saves their season but between the schedule and the litany of injuries, this could have easily sent them into a tailspin. Instead of being only a couple of points ahead of the rest of the pack in the division if they had struggled, they have a double digit lead on everyone but Boston (who they’re nine points ahead of with three games in hand). No one’s counting their chickens early after what happened last year but the Habs find themselves with a nice little cushion to work with in terms of making the playoffs. With the injuries they have, they’ll certainly need it at some point and they have a road trip better than many could have realistically expected to thank for it.