The Habs finished the week strong against the Sens after a pair of poor outings against non-playoff opponents. Things weren’t as positive for the IceCaps as their week was highlighted by a massive collapse that could cost them dearly in their push for a playoff spot.
Andrei Markov: I know he’s on a nice little run as of late (and looked fantastic against Ottawa on Saturday) but let’s hold off on the extension talk for now. I’m certainly not against bringing him back for another year but if I’m GM Marc Bergevin, I want to see what type of shape Markov’s in after what they hope will be a long playoff run. How he fares at that time should be a much greater factor in their decision to bring him back (or for how long) than a strong stretch of games in mid-to-late March.
Andreas Martinsen: It’s a bit surprising that he’s drawing the short straw most nights as he hasn’t looked out of place in his limited action. Claude Julien is rotating his depth players to keep them all in playing shape but it would be nice to see Martinsen get another game or two himself. He’s not likely an option to play as soon as the postseason gets underway so this is the time to evaluate him to see if Bergevin thinks he’s worth keeping around next year.
Al Montoya: I really don’t know why the team doesn’t play well in front of him, particularly on home ice. Montoya has fantastic numbers at the Bell Centre this year, a 1.08 GAA and a .962 SV% in five games (four starts) and has won only one of them despite posting two shutouts. In general, it would be nice to see Montoya get a few more starts before the playoffs just to keep him fresh but also to help the team get used to playing in front of him as for whatever reason, they haven’t had their best effort a lot of nights when he’s between the pipes.
Goals: Max Pacioretty (33)
Assists: Alexander Radulov (33)
Points: Max Pacioretty (61)
+/-: Shea Weber (+17)
PIMS: Andrew Shaw (108)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (249)
Although the IceCaps picked up four of eight points against some quality opponents this past week, it will be remembered for one of the biggest collapses in recent memory. St. John’s had a four goal lead with a minute to go in the second period on Tuesday and wound up losing 5-4 in OT. (They followed that up with another blown lead the following night, costing them another point in the process.)
News and Notes:
– Zach Redmond returned to the lineup from his mystery injury on Tuesday and then left that game with another mystery injury, missing the next three games as a result. There’s no word on how much time he’ll miss, or how long it will be before the team actually indicates what the problem might be.
– After rolling through January and February, Charles Hudon has tailed off this month. In 12 games this month, he has just two goals and two assists.
– Lines from last game:
Hudon – Terry – Carr
Matteau – de la Rose – Friberg
Scherbak – Audette – Farnham
Veilleux – MacMillan – Gregoire
Hanley – Lernout
Lowe – Johnston
Brouillette – Didier
|20||Jacob de la Rose||4||1||1||-2||7||0|
Shootout – Skaters:
Shootout – Goalies:
Goals: Chris Terry (25)
Assists: Chris Terry (31)
Points: Chris Terry (56)
+/-: Keegan Lowe (+13)
PIMS: Bobby Farnham (133)
Shots: Chris Terry (163)
March 31: Binghamton vs St. John’s
April 1: Binghamton vs St. John’s
While the Habs won’t run into bad teams in the playoffs, their performance against struggling squads should still be a significant concern heading into these final couple of weeks. Every team is going to have the odd off night here and there but it’s starting to get to the point where you can almost expect a bad outing when they take on someone well behind them in the standings. There’s a concerning lack of motivation on an all-too-frequent basis here. If it’s happening now, it’s certainly possible that it could happen in the postseason even though they’ll be playing teams that are comparable in talent. Montreal’s in the stretch run of the season and they’re battling for top spot in the division; there should be plenty of motivation in that alone. Having frequent off nights cannot happen at this time of the year, not if they have plans on winning some rounds. It’s hard to drastically change any habits this late in the season but this is something that Claude Julien would be wise to add to his ‘to-fix’ list over the next couple of weeks.