The road hasn’t been too kind to the Habs as they lost two of three games but were at least able to get their losses to overtime. The same can’t be said for St. John’s as despite a depleted lineup, they managed to win three of four games to give them a bit of a cushion on a playoff spot.
Daniel Carr: He looks a lot more like the player from last season the last few games. He’s more aggressive and he’s starting to shoot a bit more often. Carr has been moved up for a shift here and there but it may be time for Michel Therrien to bump him up for a couple of full games. I’d like to see him with Tomas Plekanec for a bit as I feel his energy could be a real benefit on that line.
Ryan Johnston: I get that the coaching staff isn’t too pleased with Zach Redmond who hasn’t played well lately. However, Johnston is far from the solution. His defensive zone struggles are well known so why did he get the nod to come up? There’s one element to his game that’s decent and that’s his offensive zone presence. With that in mind, if they’re going to play him, they should at least put him in a spot where he could help out on the power play.
Carey Price: He hasn’t been ‘Price-like’ very often lately. Considering how little he played last year, it’s not all that surprising to see him hit a bit of a wall though he’ll need to find his second wind, so to speak, sooner than later. The Habs have done fairly well holding their own considering the injuries and Price not being at the top of his game but if they’re going to stay atop the division with this many players out of the lineup, Price will need his ‘A’ game back quickly.
Goals: Max Pacioretty (15)
Assists: Andrei Markov (19)
Points: Max Pacioretty (30)
+/-: Shea Weber (+16)
PIMS: Andrew Shaw (58)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (107)
Despite icing some very weak lineups, the IceCaps were able to take three of their four games on the road as they continue their longest stint away from home this season.
News and Notes:
– Nikita Scherbak returned to the lineup which allowed the team to return winger Mathieu Coderre-Gagnon to Brampton of the ECHL.
– Yann Danis wasn’t with the team all week as he was with his family for the birth of his third child. With him expected to return, Bryan Pitton should be released from his PTO deal in the near future.
– The IceCaps dressed 11 forwards in Syracuse. Stefan Matteau was ejected in the first while Bobby Farnham and David Broll both got misconducts partway through the 3rd meaning that St. John’s actually were down to eight forwards to finish off a game, a very rare occurrence.
– Lines from last game:
Matteau – Audette – Scherbak
Farnham – de la Rose – Friberg
Veilleux – Eisenschmid – Gregoire
Broll – MacMillan
Hanley – Brouillette
Parisi – Lernout
Samuelsson – Didier
December 26: St. John’s 2, Toronto 1
December 28: St. John’s 4, Utica 3 (OT)
December 30: St. John’s 2, Utica 1 (OT)
December 31: Syracuse 7, St. John’s 5
|20||Jacob de la Rose||4||2||2||-2||4||4|
Goals: Hudon/Terry (10)
Assists: Chris Terry (16)
Points: Chris Terry (26)
+/-: Brett Lernout (+6)
PIMS: Stefan Matteau (79)
Shots: Sven Andrighetto (60)
January 4: St. John’s vs Albany
January 6: St. John’s vs Binghamton
January 7: St. John’s vs Syracuse
Earlier in the week, I went over the top storylines for 2016 and there certainly were plenty of them. However, there’s one that didn’t make the cut that warrants a special mention here – Paul Byron.
After the Habs claimed Byron just before 2015-16, he sat for a while as he learned the systems and basically waited for an injury to get his chance. When he was in at first, he had some strong flashes but was otherwise quiet. He got better as the year went on and earned himself a full-time spot and a contract extension while setting a new career high in goals. Fast forward to this season and Byron has taken his game to a whole new level, breaking that career best in goals in 25 fewer games while already besting his highest ever point total. All of a sudden, he’s a key piece to the puzzle for the Habs. It’s not often that a waiver claim has this type of impact on a team and boy, have the Canadiens really benefited from it. If he can carry this over to 2017, he’ll go down as one of the top waiver claims league-wide in quite some time.