Carey Price’s return to the lineup didn’t do anything towards stopping Montreal’s struggles as they dropped three of four games. Things were even worse in Laval as they lost all three games as they too were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
Jacob de la Rose: I must say, I’m surprised at how he has held his own on the second line with Alex Galchenyuk and Artturi Lehkonen. I don’t think he’s the long-term solution at that spot but de la Rose is making a better case to stick around beyond this season, something that wasn’t the case all that long ago.
Jeff Petry: We’ve hit the ugly portion of his up-and-down play. When Petry is on, he can be a high-level defender but lately, he has been off to the point where he has been a liability quite a bit. If Rinat Valiev or David Schlemko get green-lit to return soon, it might not be a bad idea to give Petry a night off.
Carey Price: I know some rust is to be expected given his layoff but his performance in his first two games back hasn’t exactly been confidence-inspiring. This is all the more reason why he needs to be playing – if whatever he has been doing to get back to form isn’t working, he needs to find out now, not in September and October.
|25||Jacob de la Rose||4||1||2||+2||0||6||15:18|
Goals: Brendan Gallagher (28)
Assists: Alex Galchenyuk (29)
Points: Brendan Gallagher (47)
+/-: Nicolas Deslauriers (+6)
PIMS: Andrew Shaw (53)
Shots: Brendan Gallagher (256)
If you think it has been ugly in Montreal lately, it has been even worse in Laval. They lost all three of their games this past week with the final one being a complete thumping at the hands of Belleville, the worst team in the conference. (That title could be Laval’s within the next few games, however.)
News and Notes:
– The roster shuffling continued as several newcomers were brought in. Forwards Nikita Korostelev and Anthony Beauregard were inked to amateur tryout deals and then several days later, they dipped their toes into the NCAA market, inking defenceman Johnny Austin to an ATO.
– Jeremiah Addison made his season debut (not his AHL debut though as he played for St. John’s two years ago) as he returned to the lineup after recovering from shoulder surgery. The injury news wasn’t all good though as Daniel Audette’s year is likely done due to a leg issue.
– Laval hasn’t had much success since adding Kerby Rychel but it’s not his fault. He has posted 12 points through his first 13 games in a Rocket sweater.
– Lines from last game:
Rychel – Cracknell – Terry
Addison – Petti – Eisenschmid
Veilleux – Ebbing – Gregoire
Boucher – Beauregard – Korostelev
Austin – Taormina
Bourque – Gelinas
Parisi – Petgrave
Goals: Chris Terry (27)
Assists: Matt Taormina (43)
Points: Chris Terry (64)
+/-: Rinat Valiev (+14)
PIMS: Michael McCarron (109)
Shots: Chris Terry (183)
March 28: Laval vs Toronto
March 30: Laval vs Binghamton
March 31: Laval vs Hershey
Jake Evans is understandably drawing the attention as his NCAA career comes to a close with many wondering if the Habs will be able to sign him but there is another interesting decision looming in the weeks and months to come. That call pertains to goaltender Hayden Hawkey.
Hawkey just wrapped his junior season at Providence and was a quality starter for the second straight year. Short of trying to slightly improve his numbers (2.04 GAA, .919 SV%), there isn’t a whole lot left really for him in his senior year. Should the Habs be looking to turn him pro then for next season?
While on the surface it may look like there’s a logjam, there might not be when all is said and done. Charlie Lindgren has one year of waiver exemption left but is he ticketed to be Carey Price’s backup? Zach Fucale is a restricted free agent but it’s certainly up in the air as to whether or not he gets a qualifying offer. If both of them are out of the equation in Laval next year, that leaves Michael McNiven and no one else so there could be an opening.
There is no pressing timeline for something to happen unlike several of the other prominent potential college free agents so a call on this probably won’t be made for a while yet. When the dust settles on the mini frenzy that is NCAA free agency though, Montreal will still have a decision to make.