The past week was a strong one for the Habs who followed up a loss to Chicago with a pair of key wins against the Sens to preserve their division lead. In St. John’s, the IceCaps doubled their win streak to four games and clawed their way back into the last playoff spot in the North Division.
Nathan Beaulieu: I appreciate that he didn’t give the usual cliché-filled answer but complaining about being sat down for one game wasn’t smart. Claude Julien said with seven healthy defencemen, they’d try to get a bit of a rotation going to keep everyone fresh. That means someone has to sit, including Beaulieu once in a while. It’s not that big of a deal. In fact, the only reason it got as much attention as it did was when he decided to complain about it. Not his finest hour although to his credit, he has played well in both games since then.
Carey Price: It’s nice to see him back in form but in particular, it’s nicer to see that the Habs aren’t asking him to make 40 saves a night and stop a boatload of high end chances. The offence might not be there for Montreal every night but it’s not resulting in a ton of chances for the opponents either. While some credit the break and the coaching change for Price looking more like himself, I wouldn’t overlook this either – he’s just not as busy most nights as he was earlier on this year.
Alexander Radulov: The timing of his reported contract requests couldn’t have come at a worse time. Not only was an eight year ask unrealistic but it comes on the heels of what has quite frankly been a mediocre stretch of games from him. Radulov has scored just three goals in 20 games and needs to be lumped in with the rest of the players not named Byron or Pacioretty that aren’t scoring enough right now. This is why the Habs were right to not hand him an extension back in January.
Shootout – Skaters:
Shootout – Goalies:
Goals: Max Pacioretty (33)
Assists: Alexander Radulov (33)
Points: Max Pacioretty (60)
+/-: Shea Weber (+17)
PIMS: Andrew Shaw (103)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (242)
The first part of this home stand was by far the easiest for St. John’s and they took care of business, beating Rochester in two straight games to keep pace in what is quickly becoming a tight postseason race (one that they’re in by merely a single point).
News and Notes:
– Daniel Carr missed both games while tending to a family matter. He’s expected to be available on Tuesday in their first of two games against Lehigh Valley.
– Zach Redmond’s mystery injury kept him out of both games but officially, he remains listed as day-to-day. Markus Eisenschmid, who had been day-to-day with an undisclosed injury for six weeks, has been given the green light to return to the lineup.
– Joel Hanley has matched his career high in points with 17 which was set back in 2014-15 with Portland.
– Lines from last game:
Hudon – Terry – Scherbak
Matteau – de la Rose – Farnham
Veilleux – Audette – Friberg
Camara – MacMillan – Gregoire
Hanley – Lernout
Lowe – Johnston
Brouillette – Didier
|20||Jacob de la Rose||2||0||0||+1||4||0|
Goals: Chris Terry (24)
Assists: Chris Terry (31)
Points: Chris Terry (54)
+/-: Joel Hanley (+12)
PIMS: Bobby Farnham (120)
Shots: Chris Terry (149)
March 21: Lehigh Valley vs St. John’s
March 22: Lehigh Valley vs St. John’s
March 25: Hershey vs St. John’s
March 26: Hershey vs St. John’s
It hasn’t been pretty for Alexei Emelin as of late. He has looked like a player who has no confidence and is trying to do too much (which results in him taking himself out of the play and making things worse). While some are using this as proof that the Habs should go without him moving forward, I’m not convinced of that just yet. The physicality picks up considerably in the playoffs and that’s an area Montreal lacks on their back end, especially when he’s not in the lineup. I also would suggest Jeff Petry (when he’s on his game – he hasn’t been lately) is at his best when he has a stay-at-home partner to back him up when he gets involved in the rush. Players like Nathan Beaulieu, Brandon Davidson, and even Nikita Nesterov don’t provide that level of support. Yes, Emelin’s a black hole offensively and makes his share of bad decisions but the blueline is a more complete one when he’s on his game. Over these next few weeks, the Habs need to find a way to help him get his game back. The alternatives just aren’t that appealing.