The Habs had a successful week when it came to their draft pick situation this summer but it came on the hands of some tough losses as they extended their losing streak to five straight games.
The Week That Was
Apr. 11: Jets 4, Canadiens 2 – Considering Winnipeg still had an outside shot at the playoffs at the beginning of the week, they didn’t come out particularly strong which allowed the Habs to hang around for a while. Joel Armia played well against his former team (he often does) and gave the Habs the lead early in the second period, one that wound up being short-lived. Josh Anderson tied it up in the third but a rare goal from Evgeny Svechnikov five minutes later (one that Samuel Montembeault would love to have back) proved to be the winner.
Apr. 13: Blue Jackets 5, Canadiens 1 – With a team that’s well out of contention, they’re going to put up a few clunkers now that the ‘new coach’ shine has worn off. This was one of those games. Ryan Poehling had Montreal’s only goal while the team largely went through the motions and didn’t give Montembeault much help along the way.
Apr. 15: Islanders 3, Canadiens 0 – With Carey Price coming off IR to make his first start of the season, the Habs were at their best and actually played one of their best games of the year. However, Ilya Sorokin also had his best performance of the season which gave Montreal fits offensively all night long. The difference-maker was a rare three-on-none that saw Zach Parise score while Noah Dobson added one soon after to give New York the win in a game where the Canadiens deserved a better fate.
Apr. 16: Capitals 8, Canadiens 4 – Goaltending has been an issue for Washington all season and this game showed why. However, goaltending has also been an issue for Montreal all season and this game really showed why. Vitek Vanecek wasn’t sharp and Montembeault had one of his worst games. Poehling had a pair of goals for Montreal to finish up his week on a high note at least.
Goals: Nick Suzuki (20)
Assists: Nick Suzuki (37)
Points: Nick Suzuki (57)
+/-: Mathieu Perreault (+4)
PIMS: Michael Pezzetta (74)
Shots: Nick Suzuki (180)
News And Notes
– While the Habs got Carey Price back, they lost Jake Allen for the rest of the season due to a groin injury. As mentioned here last week as the expected outcome, Jonathan Drouin was shifted to LTIR to free up the room to activate Price.
– Justin Barron was also ruled out for the year with an ankle injury so he won’t be joining Laval for the stretch run.
– Jesse Ylonen was sent down after Monday’s game while Cayden Primeau, who was brought up when Allen went down, was also sent back to Laval so as to not burn their final regular (non-emergency) recall.
– Mike Hoffman has now gone 20 straight games without a goal. Meanwhile, his last power play goal came 40 games ago.
– Nick Suzuki’s goal against Washington locked in another of his ‘A’ bonuses for $212,500. As the Habs have no cap space and have been in LTIR all season, that will count against their cap in 2022-23.
Last Game’s Lines:
Caufield – Suzuki – Anderson
R. Pitlick – Evans – Armia
Hoffman – Dvorak – Gallagher
Pezzetta – Poehling – T. Pitlick
Romanov – Savard
Edmundson – Petry
Schueneman – Wideman
The Week Ahead
Apr. 19: vs Minnesota – The Wild continue to be one the highest-scoring teams in the league with Kirill Kaprizov continuing to light it up while even Ryan Hartman (a player who has bounced around a bit in his career) has surpassed the 30-goal mark. Marc-Andre Fleury has been quite sharp since coming over at the trade deadline while former Habs Jon Merrill and Jordie Benn have both held their own in depth roles on the back end.
Apr. 21: vs Philadelphia – From a reverse standings perspective, this is a game to keep an eye on. Montreal is six points behind the Flyers and technically could catch them if they go on a bit of a run. Philadelphia has been shutting down players with great frequency in recent days and are currently without 10 players including several key veterans while Carter Hart may not return this season between the pipes.
Apr. 23: vs Ottawa – The Senators are also missing some key regulars, including starting goalie Matt Murray (the Canadiens killer) and defenceman Thomas Chabot. Tim Stutzle finds himself on a seven-game point streak with 13 points in that span while Drake Batherson, who is averaging over a point per game this season, recently returned to the lineup.
Apr. 24: vs Boston – Montreal has struggled against their rival this season and being on the back half of a back-to-back won’t help. Hampus Lindholm and David Pastrnak are currently out for Boston (so is Linus Ullmark but he should be back by then). Former Hab Mike Reilly has struggled to the point where he has been a healthy scratch from time to time in recent weeks, hardly ideal for someone making $3 million a season.
I have to say that I’m a bit surprised by how little Jordan Harris has been used lately as he has now been a healthy scratch three times over the last week and a half. I get the idea of wanting to evaluate some players for next season but what is Chris Wideman going to do down the stretch that they don’t already know he can or can’t do? Corey Schueneman needs some evaluation time but the odd game off would be understandable which they’ve done. A rest night for David Savard probably wouldn’t hurt either or even Joel Edmundson on a back-to-back considering how much time he has missed. There’s a pathway to rotating some players out to keep Harris in the lineup on a regular basis plus give Kale Clague the odd outing as well.
I can get behind the odd game off for Harris in a rotation but right now, he’s sitting too much. Here’s someone that has a lot to try to prove and learn over the final couple of weeks. There’s a lot more at stake for him than many of the players that have been playing while he sits in the press box. It’d be nice if that isn’t the case for the final six games.