Despite icing a lineup that is losing players by the day, the Habs actually managed to pick up a pair of wins last week which helped to take some of the sting off their one loss which was an outing to forget.
The Week That Was
Jan. 17: Canadiens 4, Jets 1 – There are some teams that Montreal just seems to match up well against and Winnipeg is one of them right now. Despite the Jets being the Western Conference leaders coming into this one, they didn’t dominate like one might have expected them to. Evgenii Dadonov led the way offensively with a pair of goals to double his season total while Justin Barron picked up two assists in his first NHL game against his brother.
Jan. 19: Panthers 6, Canadiens 2 – Montreal’s penalty kill has been a problem lately and it came to a head in this one as they allowed four power play goals in the second period alone. Yes, there was some controversy about the first one which also led to the second one but even so, they still allowed two other ones and things went downhill in a hurry from there. The Habs scored twice in the third to make it look a little more respectable but that’s as close as they got.
Jan. 21: Canadiens 3, Maple Leafs 2 (OT) – The game got off to a rough start for Montreal as they were down less than a minute in and were somewhat fortunate to only be down by two after 20 minutes. However, they bounced back in the second with goals from Josh Anderson and Rafael Harvey-Pinard and held on from there to get it to overtime. In the extra session, Mike Hoffman fed Rem Pitlick on the rush and he was able to fire one past Ilya Samsonov to secure the extra point.
Goals: Cole Caufield (26)
Assists: Nick Suzuki (22)
Points: Nick Suzuki (38)
+/-: Chris Wideman (+5)
PIMS: Arber Xhekaj (92)
Shots: Cole Caufield (158)
News And Notes
– The long-term injuries to Jake Evans and Juraj Slafkovsky resulted in Rem Pitlick and Rafael Harvey-Pinard being recalled from Laval with both players making early impacts.
– Of course, the biggest injury news of the week came when the team revealed that Cole Caufield will be undergoing shoulder surgery and will be out for the season. That resulted in Alex Belzile’s recall from the Rocket.
– There was some good news on the injury front at least. Mike Matheson returned from his latest lower-body injury while Sean Monahan took part in the morning skate on Saturday and appears to be inching closer to a return.
– David Savard sits second on the team in ATOI behind only Matheson. His 22:29 average is his highest since the 2015-16 season when he was with Columbus. I don’t think too many people would have expected him to be playing this much heading into the season.
Last Game’s Lines:
Pitlick – Suzuki – Anderson
Hoffman – Dach – Ylonen
Harvey-Pinard – Dvorak – Dadonov
Pezzetta – Belzile
Matheson – Savard
Edmundson – Barron
Xhekaj – Harris
The Week Ahead
Tuesday vs Boston – Simply put, the Bruins have been the runaway leaders in the league this season. They’re elite offensively and elite defensively; that’s a very dangerous combo for any team. David Pastrnak is having himself quite the platform year as he heads toward unrestricted free agency while the return of David Krejci has helped to lock in a second line that’s capable of producing at a high level. They’re the early favourites to come out of the East and for good reason.
Thursday vs Detroit – The Red Wings were expected to be a lot better than they have been. Most of their summer signings have worked out well too – Ville Husso has had some good moments in net, Dominik Kubalik and David Perron are in their top five in scoring, and Ben Chiarot is logging nearly 21 minutes a night. They should have Tyler Bertuzzi back for this one while Filip Zadina might be back from IR as well.
Saturday at Ottawa – It’s the first of back-to-back matchups against the Sens, another division rival that has underachieved so far. Newcomers Alex DeBrincat and Claude Giroux are certainly producing but Ottawa is closer to the basement than the top in scoring thanks to a lack of secondary scoring. They’ve also struggled in goal as Cam Talbot has battled issues with inconsistency while Anton Forsberg looks more like the Forsberg of the past, the one that bounced around on waivers not long ago before finding a home with the Senators.
Friday was a tough day in the hockey world for many people when Vox Media announced it would be laying off 7% of its staff and shuttering certain operations. If you’re not familiar with Vox Media, they bought SB Nation a while back. Included on their cut list was their hockey division, including the very popular Canadiens site Habs Eyes on the Prize.
It’s always disappointing to see sites about the Habs disappear but this one hits harder. I’m sometimes asked why we post so many links to their articles compared to other sites but there’s a very simple reason for it – they write a lot of good stuff. Losing EOTP is a big blow to anyone who enjoys reading quality articles about the team. Fortunately, they’ll still be around for a little while yet through the end of next month but here’s hoping their quality group of writers will be able to continue in some other capacity beyond then. Good luck, guys. I know I’ll be rooting for you.