The offence is still a work in progress but it didn’t stop the Habs from sweeping all four of their games this past week. The IceCaps weren’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard either but they managed to win a pair of games in their latest 3-in-3 stretch as well.
Jordie Benn: Like many, I’ve been impressed with him so far. He’s playing on his off-side (though Benn noted he’s comfortable on both) and his style of play complements Nathan Beaulieu’s quite well. It looks like he should be able to log more minutes than players like Pateryn and Nesterov (even if Benn struggles a bit here and there) which should pay dividends down the stretch in terms of keeping players like Markov, Weber, and Petry a bit fresher.
Alex Galchenyuk: Galchenyuk showed legitimate signs of breaking out of his funk last week and over these past few games scored a pair of key winning goals while looking a lot more like the player he was at the beginning of the year. I wouldn’t necessarily expect him to get moved up to the top line anytime soon though as I think Claude Julien would love to keep him away from the top line to give another trio a legitimate offensive threat and he’s one of the few players who is capable of doing so by himself.
Michael McCarron: I would love to hear the motivation behind the decision to not send him to St. John’s prior to the deadline, even in a paper transaction. If you’re not on an AHL roster as of the trade deadline, you’re ineligible to play in the AHL the rest of the season. (Here’s a tweet from the AHL referencing the rule.) McCarron wasn’t playing much before the other trades and he’ll play even less now. I know some will suggest the value of skating with NHL players in practice but working on a 5th line and playing every now and then as a fourth liner really seems like a waste when it comes to his development.
Goals: Max Pacioretty (31)
Assists: Alexander Radulov (31)
Points: Max Pacioretty (58)
+/-: Shea Weber (+11)
PIMS: Andrew Shaw (99)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (216)
St. John’s had a good start to their road trip, taking two of three games. However, it wasn’t enough to hold onto a playoff spot as they’ve slipped to fifth in the North Division in points percentage; they sit one point ahead of Utica but the Comets have a game in hand.
News and Notes:
– With two goals this past week, Jacob de la Rose equalled his goal total from last season. Unfortunately, it took him 11 more games to hit that mark (seven) this time around.
– Markus Eisenschmid remains out of the lineup with an undisclosed injury. There’s no word on when he’ll return (or when the team will actually make it known what the issue is).
– Lines from last game:
Hudon – Terry – Scherbak
Matteau – de la Rose – Carr
Veilleux – Audette – Friberg
Broll – Farnham – Camara
Hanley – Redmond
Lowe – Johnston
Parisi – Lernout
March 3: St. John’s 3, Rochester 0
March 4: Toronto 3, St. John’s 1
March 5: St. John’s 3, Toronto 0
|20||Jacob de la Rose||3||2||0||+2||5||2|
Goals: Hudon/Terry (22)
Assists: Chris Terry (30)
Points: Chris Terry (52)
+/-: Lowe/Hanley (+8)
PIMS: Bobby Farnham (120)
Shots: Chris Terry (128)
March 8: St. John’s vs Syracuse
March 10: St. John’s vs Rochester
March 11: St. John’s vs Syracuse
Lost in the discussion about Montreal’s movement at the trade deadline was the fact that they didn’t dip into St. John’s (aside from making McCarron ineligible) to make any moves. That’s a huge break for them as they look to hold onto a playoff spot. The fact that Charles Hudon didn’t move means they have one of the best lines in the AHL intact while Charlie Lindgren gives them a good chance to win most nights. Usually at this time of the year we start to see some patchwork lineups but that isn’t the case now as they’re much deeper this time around. If they can’t make the playoffs now with the roster they have, something is seriously wrong here. For the first time in a while, it looks like Montreal’s prospects will be involved in a legitimate playoff push. All I can say is, it’s about time.