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The road continues to be unkind to the Habs who only managed to be remotely competitive in one of their three games.  On the flip side, Laval was at home this past week but wasn’t able to accomplish much either, collecting just a single win in their three contests.

Spotlight Players

Jacob de la Rose: It’s nice to see him being more involved offensively after being a non-factor for most of the season.  However, he is negating some of that by the penalties he has been taking as well.  With Montreal’s penalty kill being as bad as it has been this year and the fact that he is a part of that PK unit, he’s going to need to be more disciplined if he wants to get back into the good graces of the organization.

Charlie Lindgren: Call me crazy but I actually think there is some benefit to him getting shelled in his two outings.  For the most part, his limited time in the NHL has seen him turn in strong outings but even the top goalies have some clunkers along the way.  I’d rather see him get some of those hard-earned lessons (including hanging in like he did in New Jersey) now when the games are all but meaningless than in the early going next season. 

Mike Reilly: What an opportunity he has been provided.  He has gone from being a player on the fringes in Minnesota to being a top-pairing player with the Habs.  His offensive skill is certainly quite intriguing but his play in his own end is shaky at best.  If he can make some strides in that end, he could be a regular with the Habs next season even if they reshape the back end as many hope they will.  He’ll get to play in tougher situations on that top pairing which is nice for his development and despite his defensive shakiness, I’d like to see him thrown to the fire on the penalty kill as well to give him as many chances to work on his defensive play as possible.

StatPack

Skaters:

# Player GP G A +/- PIMS SOG ATOI
8 Jordie Benn 3 0 1 -1 5 3 17:03
11 Brendan Gallagher 3 1 0 -2 0 12 16:55
17 Rinat Valiev 2 0 0 E 2 2 11:48
20 Nicolas Deslauriers 3 0 0 -2 0 7 13:16
22 Karl Alzner 3 0 0 -2 0 4 20:49
24 Phillip Danault 2 0 1 +1 2 1 14:02
25 Jacob de la Rose 3 2 0 +1 6 5 14:13
26 Jeff Petry 3 0 1 -1 0 10 24:01
27 Alex Galchenyuk 3 1 0 -3 0 10 16:54
28 Mike Reilly 3 0 3 E 0 7 23:32
36 Brett Lernout 1 0 0 +1 0 1 15:51
38 Nikita Scherbak 2 0 0 E 0 3 13:58
41 Paul Byron 3 0 1 +1 0 5 17:07
42 Byron Froese 3 1 0 -2 0 4 13:26
43 Daniel Carr 3 0 1 -2 2 8 13:52
49 Logan Shaw 1 0 0 E 0 1 13:23
54 Charles Hudon 1 0 2 E 2 2 11:17
58 Noah Juulsen 3 0 0 -2 2 6 20:01
62 Artturi Lehkonen 3 1 0 -1 0 5 15:59
65 Andrew Shaw 3 0 1 E 4 3 15:13
92 Jonathan Drouin 3 0 0 -2 2 3 17:29

Goalies:

# Player Record GAA SV% SO
37 Antti Niemi 0-0-1 1.86 .941 0
39 Charlie Lindgren 0-2-0 5.55 .831 0

Shootout – Skaters:

# Player G/ATT
11 Brendan Gallagher 0/1
41 Paul Byron 0/1
62 Artturi Lehkonen 0/1
92 Jonathan Drouin 1/1

Shootout – Goalies:

# Player SVS/SF
37 Antti Niemi 2/4

Team Leaders:

Goals: Brendan Gallagher (24)
Assists: Alex Galchenyuk (24)
Points: Brendan Gallagher (41)
+/-: Nicolas Deslauriers (+8)
PIMS: Andrew Shaw (53)
Shots: Brendan Gallagher (227)

Laval Report

While the Habs weren’t productive on the road, Laval wasn’t much better at home.  They managed to pick up a comeback win but they also blew a three-goal lead en route to one of their uglier losses of the season.

News and Notes:

- Laval swapped out tryout defencemen, letting Tyson Wilson go while signing Etienne Boutet to a PTO.  He was at Hamilton’s training camp back in 2012 but was unable to secure a contract.  Andrew D’Agostini was given a PTO for a day while Zach Fucale was up with the Habs but was immediately released when Montreal sent Fucale back down.

- Matt Taormina returned to action after missing more than a month with a lower-body injury.  He was second on the team in scoring when he got hurt and was still second on the team in scoring when he came back.

- The AHL trade deadline came and went this past week.  Not surprisingly, Laval was inactive.

- Lines from last game:

Forwards:

Rychel – Cracknell – Terry
Boucher – McCarron – Waked
Petti – Eisenschmid – Gregoire
Broll – Blain – Ebbing

Defence:

Parisi – Taormina
Bourque – Leblanc
Gelinas – Corrin

Results:

March 7: Providence 6, Laval 3
March 9: Laval 4, Belleville 3 (OT)
March 10: Belleville 5, Laval 3

StatPack

Skaters:

# Player GP G A +/- SOG PIMS
2 Eric Gelinas 3 3 1 -5 7 0
4 Simon Bourque 3 0 0 +1 2 4
5 Tom Parisi 3 0 3 -1 6 2
6 Stefan Leblanc 3 0 2 +1 5 0
7 Willie Corrin 3 0 1 -2 2 2
14 Brett Lernout 1 0 0 -1 1 0
15 Thomas Ebbing 3 0 1 -2 0 2
18 Kerby Rychel 3 3 1 +1 10 4
19 Antoine Waked 3 0 0 +1 3 0
20 Etienne Boutet 1 0 0 E 0 2
22 Chris Terry 3 3 3 +2 9 2
23 Niki Petti 3 0 0 -4 2 7
25 Michael McCarron 3 0 1 +1 8 12
27 Adam Cracknell 3 0 2 -1 8 2
34 David Broll 3 0 1 -1 1 4
37 Jeremy Gregoire 3 0 0 -4 7 5
38 Markus Eisenschmid 3 0 0 -3 2 0
39 Jordan Boucher 3 0 1 -2 5 0
40 Matt Taormina 2 0 1 -1 1 0
41 Luc-Olivier Blain 2 1 0 E 1 0

Goalies:

# Player Record GAA SV% SO
30 Zach Fucale 1-1-0 3.16 .894 0
33 Michael McNiven 0-1-0 4.89 .800 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Chris Terry (26)
Assists: Matt Taormina (37)
Points: Chris Terry (56)
+/-: Rinat Valiev (+14)
PIMS: Michael McCarron (109)
Shots: Chris Terry (166)

Upcoming Schedule:

March 12: Laval vs Toronto
March 14: Laval vs Toronto
March 16: Laval vs Utica
March 17: Laval vs Syracuse

Final Thought

Count me among those who weren’t surprised by Geoff Molson’s recent comments regarding Marc Bergevin and the strong implication that the GM will be back next season.  This year has been ugly, no doubt about it.  Generally, each GM gets one really rough year before the seat really starts to get hot.  2015-16 wasn’t quite that year but this one is. 

It seems rather evident that regular season success is something that matters to Molson and although this year hasn’t brought much of that, this has been a relatively successful team in that regard under Bergevin’s tenure.  As a result, Molson likely figures that he has enough of a track record that he deserves a chance to fix the mess that currently exists despite the overwhelming public sentiment that would prefer otherwise.

Bergevin’s contract status aside, this is likely his one and only mulligan though.  If Montreal has another year like this one next season, the shoe will likely drop which poses a bit of an odd question for fans of the team: Do you want to see the Habs rebound next year or have another season like this one if it results in a managerial change?