For the second straight year, the highlight of Montreal’s California road trip is that it’s now over with after they lost all three games in the week. As for Laval, they continue to have little trouble scoring but stopping pucks was a concern once again this past week.
Al Montoya: All things considered, he played fairly well against the Kings until the team completely fell apart in the third period. I hope the four-goal collapse doesn’t wind up working against him as if Carey Price doesn’t find his form soon, they may need to turn to Montoya a bit more often over these next few weeks and despite the unimpressive numbers overall, he played well enough that he should still have Claude Julien’s confidence. Of course, I said something similar about Brandon Davidson last week and he wound up being an undeserving scratch twice…
Joe Morrow: On a good note, he was better than he was in the preseason. On a not-so-good note, he still wasn’t very good, especially when it came to discipline. It’s one thing to try to do something to stand out but taking unnecessary penalties isn’t the way to do it, especially when his defensive zone play left a lot to be desired. He’s passable as a depth option but he’s not one of their top-six blueliners and shouldn’t be getting into too many games right now.
Max Pacioretty: I like his comments where he pretty much threw himself under the bus instead of passing the blame or just saying the team in general needs to be better. Pacioretty knows he’s the key cog in Montreal’s offence and when he isn’t scoring, they typically don’t do particularly well. It was also nice to see him bounce back with a very strong game after saying those comments. Now, he needs to find a way to put a couple into the net and not just at it.
|25||Jacob de la Rose||2||0||0||-3||0||2||8:14|
Goals: Byron/Drouin/Gallagher (2)
Assists: Karl Alzner (4)
Points: Jonathan Drouin (5)
+/-: Benn/Hemsky/Mitchell (-1)
PIMS: Andrew Shaw (18)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (33)
Similar to the Habs, the road wasn’t particularly kind to Laval either although they were able to score enough to pick up three of six points along the way.
News and Notes:
– Jeremy Gregoire did not travel with the team on the trip due to an undisclosed injury. No update has been provided on how long he might be out. Markus Eisenschmid suffered an undisclosed injury on Friday and the team has not provided an update on his situation either.
– With the injuries, Jordan Boucher and Yannick Veilleux were both recalled from Brampton of the ECHL.
– Through seven games, Laval leads the AHL in goals scored. Unfortunately, they also sit tied for the most goals allowed.
– Lines from last game:
Holland – Audette – Terry
Carr – Froese – Reway
Deslauriers – Petti – Baun
Veilleux – Boucher – Waked
Taormina – Lernout
Parisi – Jerabek
Bourque – Leblanc
Goals: Chris Terry (5)
Assists: Matt Taormina (9)
Points: Matt Taormina (10)
+/-: Jakub Jerabek (+5)
PIMS: David Broll (17)
Shots: Chris Terry (29)
October 25: Rochester vs Laval
October 27: Laval vs Rochester
October 28: Laval vs Toronto
What a mystery these first few weeks have been. We have seen flashes where the Habs have completely dominated and others where they have looked lost. What’s particularly odd is that we’ve seen both extremes a handful of times already through seven games instead of the steadier type of game we’ve come to expect in recent years.
The question floating around is whether or not it’s time to panic. Personally, I don’t think it necessarily is as it was reasonable to expect some early struggles with the early Western trip and the team shooting percentage can’t stay this low all season long (not to mention Carey Price can’t be this bad all season long). But given how many times already they’ve looked lost through seven games, it’s far from a guarantee that they can turn it around as if they’ve been this inconsistent in their effort already, there’s a good chance it’s going to continue so a new player or two could be useful in an effort to shake the team out of its fog.
Accordingly, it will be interesting to see how Michael McCarron and Nikita Scherbak will be deployed after both were recalled late Sunday afternoon. Will they take a prominent spot in the lineup resulting in a notable player being dropped down or benched (sending a message in the process) or will they rotate in and out on the fourth line? If it’s the former, is this Marc Bergevin’s early attempt at a shake-up before actually going to try to bring in some new players? I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the plan in the hopes that they can get themselves back on track without having to make a trade this early in the season. If this doesn’t work though and the struggles continue over the next couple of weeks, Bergevin may be forced to do something a lot sooner than he’d like to in order to try to stop things from going off the rails so early in the season.