The road was kind to the Habs this past week as they picked up a pair of key victories away from the Bell Centre. Meanwhile, home ice continues to not provide St. John’s with any sort of advantage although they did pick up three of four points.
Paul Byron: With his scoring now dried up, it’s time for the Habs to start working him back towards the fourth line. He’s still a decent defensive player but there are others that can be plugged into that role. He’s at his best when he can exploit people with his speed and I think he’ll get more chances to do so right now on the fourth line which typically goes against weaker competition. Considering how ineffective Montreal’s fourth line has been lately, he’d also give that trio a much needed boost.
Andrei Markov: I have to admit I’m conflicted when it comes to rooting for him on the top pairing. On the one hand, he’s a better fit than Alexei Emelin and Nathan Beaulieu is way too inconsistent to trust him in a top pairing role. On the other hand, at his age, playing him more than they have all season long doesn’t seem like an ideal strategy for too long of a period. It’s a short-term fix and hopefully they’re not viewing as the solution for the rest of the year.
Andrew Shaw: I’ve been hard on him this year so it’s only fair to give him credit when credit’s due. Shaw has been better the last few games and isn’t running around as much out there. The agitating side of his game is always going to be there but he’s a lot more effective when it’s not the only element he brings to the table on a nightly basis. That’s starting to be the case a bit more often now.
Shootout – Skaters:
Shootout – Goalies:
Goals: Max Pacioretty (29)
Assists: Alexander Radulov (28)
Points: Max Pacioretty (53)
+/-: Shea Weber (+10)
PIMS: Andrew Shaw (97)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (194)
There were some highs and lows in the final two games of this home stretch. St. John’s blew a third period lead in both games but were able to come back to win the second one while losing the opener in overtime.
News and Notes:
– Josiah Didier’s stint in the ECHL didn’t last long. He played one game with Brampton before being recalled to St. John’s to continue to serve as a healthy scratch.
– The IceCaps are one of only two AHL teams to have two 20 goal scorers (Charles Hudon and Chris Terry). The other team is the league-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
– There are a total of just 13 players with 20 goals. Only two of them have played under 40 games and both of them are the IceCaps’ players (Hudon has 21 in 36 games, Terry 21 in 38).
– Lines from last game:
Hudon – Terry – Scherbak
Matteau – de la Rose – Friberg
Veilleux – Audette – Farnham
Broll – MacMillan – Gregoire
Hanley – Redmond
Lowe – Johnston
Brouillette – Lernout
|20||Jacob de la Rose||2||0||0||+1||4||4|
Goals: Hudon/Terry (21)
Assists: Chris Terry (29)
Points: Chris Terry (50)
+/-: Joel Hanley (+7)
PIMS: Bobby Farnham (115)
Shots: Chris Terry (119)
March 3: St. John’s vs Rochester
March 4: St. John’s vs Toronto
March 5: St. John’s vs Toronto
If you want to get an idea of what the Habs may have planned in the next few days, watch the waiver wire on Monday and Tuesday. While it’s true that there are no roster limits past the deadline, it’s important to remember that the limit is lifted at 3:01 PM EST on deadline day, not before. Until then, teams have to be at 23 or lower.
Currently, the Canadiens are at the max of 23 and only one player – Michael McCarron – is waiver exempt. If they add one player, he’ll be the one to go down but if they have designs on adding two or more players between now and then, they don’t have the roster space to do so unless they either send someone the other way in the trade or someone through waivers.
As a result, it wouldn’t be surprising to see David Desharnais placed on waivers either Monday or Tuesday (waiting until Wednesday would be too late). It’s pretty safe to assume that he’ll clear so there’s no risk. By doing so, they could ‘paper’ him down to St. John’s at the deadline if they are able to add a couple of players (McCarron is set to have the same thing happen to him) and then recall Desharnais once 3:01 hits, assuming he’s still in the organization by then. Yes, they’d lose one of their four post-deadline recalls (McCarron would also count as one if he’s recalled after) but this way, they wouldn’t have to necessarily lose anyone off the current roster to make it happen.
If Desharnais (or Sven Andrighetto, or anyone else really) isn’t on waivers by then, it might be a sign that GM Marc Bergevin is only looking to make one addition by the deadline or he’s looking to move players off the active roster as well. The waiver wire won’t give away exactly what the Habs intend to do between now and Wednesday but it might provide fans with a bit of a sneak peek.