The West Coast road trips in the United States haven’t been too kind to the Habs over the years. As it turns out, this season is no exception as the Habs only managed to pick up a single victory in their four games.
The Week That Was
Oct. 26: Kraken 5, Canadiens 1 – Montreal’s first visit to Seattle to play a professional hockey game in more than 100 years didn’t go very well. Jordan Eberle scored barely a minute in and while Mike Hoffman was able to eventually get that one back, things went downhill in a hurry from there. Brandon Tanev had a pair of games including the winner and Jake Allen didn’t have much in the way of help in front of him.
Oct. 28: Canadiens 4, Sharks 0 – There were times where Allen didn’t have much help in front of him either, at least from a defensive standpoint as he faced 45 shots on the night but he was able to turn them all aside. Hoffman extended his goal streak, Alexander Romanov and Brendan Gallagher had their first goals of the season, and Josh Anderson added the empty-netter as Montreal’s offence had some rare success.
Oct. 30: Kings 5, Canadiens 2 – That offensive success, however, didn’t carry over to the weekend. Anderson actually gave the Habs the lead after 20 minutes but the Habs fell apart soon after, allowing five straight goals in the second and third periods, turning what was a semi-competitive game at the time into a rout. Ben Chiarot added Montreal’s other marker late in the third.
Oct. 31: Ducks 4, Canadiens 2 – After a tough outing the day before on the penalty kill, things weren’t much better for the Habs whose first two goals allowed came while shorthanded. However, Hoffman added a power play tally of his own and Jake Evans – making his return out of necessity with some injuries up front – tied it up late in the second. The Canadiens missed several strong chances in the game and that proved costly as Troy Terry eventually scored the winner on a breakaway to end Montreal’s week on a sour note.
Goals: Mike Hoffman (4)
Assists: Drouin/Suzuki (5)
Points: Jonathan Drouin (7)
+/-: Niku/Perreault (+3)
PIMS: Cedric Paquette (21)
Shots: Josh Anderson (27)
News And Notes
– Cedric Paquette was suspended on Monday for two games for his boarding penalty on Anaheim’s Trevor Zegras on Sunday.
– Mathieu Perreault has been placed on IR after undergoing a procedure to repair his eye and will miss two to three weeks. Brendan Gallagher also missed Sunday’s game.
– Cole Caufield was sent to Laval on Monday while Michael Pezzetta was recalled to take his place.
– Mattias Norlinder returned to practice on Monday. He’s ineligible to be sent to Laval (his SHL contract prevents the Habs from loaning him there beyond a conditioning stint) so he’ll either play with the Habs or be sent back to Sweden.
Last Game’s Lines:
Hoffman – Suzuki – Toffoli
Drouin – Dvorak – Anderson
Armia – Brooks – Caufield
Lehkonen – Paquette – Evans
Chiarot – Petry
Romanov – Savard
Kulak – Wideman
The Week Ahead
Nov. 2: vs Detroit – Things have changed since the Habs pasted the Red Wings two weeks ago. Well, for one team at least. The Canadiens haven’t done much since but Detroit has been much more competitive, winning two straight after that loss before two very competitive losses to Florida and Toronto. Again, Tyler Bertuzzi won’t suit up since the game is in Montreal and he’s not vaccinated.
Nov. 4: vs NY Islanders – The Islanders have been stingy as usual this season but it hasn’t resulted in a lot of offensive success as they’ve scuffled a bit more than usual in terms of scoring goals; sophomore Oliver Wahlstrom leads the way offensively with four goals so far. Zdeno Chara is back where it all began and is logging more than 18 minutes a night on the back end while Semyon Varlamov recently returned from injury after missing the first two weeks of the season.
Nov. 6: vs Vegas – If you thought the Habs had a lot of injuries, think again. They’re down two top-liners in Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone, two important secondary offensive players in Alex Tuch and Mattias Janmark, while others like Alec Martinez and Nolan Patrick have also missed multiple games. In spite of that, they’re still a respectable 4-4 to start the season.
There are a lot of disappointments early on in this season – such is usually the case with a 2-8 start, their worst in 80 years – but for me, Jeff Petry’s poor start is the one that stands out the most. Here’s someone that more times than not thrived in Shea Weber’s absence but he has done anything but this year. His strength is moving the puck and yet we don’t see that very often from him. He can get involved in the rush but again, we’re not seeing much of it. We’re seeing plenty of power play shots instead of passing it around which isn’t accomplishing much. And defensively, it hasn’t been pretty although he’s far from the only one that can be said about.
The right side of Montreal’s back end was definitely highlighted as a potential weak spot heading into the season. David Savard is a role player but not an impact piece and no one expected Chris Wideman to amount to much after being out of the league for a couple of years. The one bright spot was Petry and through 10 games, he’s part of the problem. It’s clear he’s not 100% but rather than playing poorly through the injury, perhaps it’s time to bite the bullet, recover properly, and come back when he’s able to provide more of a positive impact. As it stands, he’s certainly not contributing to helping the team win games so it can’t get a whole lot worse on that front as it stands. Petry needs to provide more and if that means he has to sit for a while to heal up, it’s time for that to happen.