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The stretch run is well underway for the Habs.  They managed to pick up three points last week but their performances slipped as the week went on with a pair of ugly losses to cap it off.

The Week That Was

Mar. 27: Canadiens 4, Sabres 3 (SO) – The Habs got off to a good start in this one with Jordan Harris scoring before the game was 90 seconds old. However, that lead was quickly erased with Lukas Rousek scoring in his NHL debut. Riley Stillman’s first as a Sabre gave Buffalo the lead late in the second but Brendan Gallagher tied it midway through the third, paving the way for an unlikely shootout hero with Michael Pezzetta scoring the winner in the sixth round.

Mar. 28: Flyers 3, Canadiens 2 – It was a battle of two teams trying not to win with the Habs calling up Cayden Primeau for a spot start while Philadelphia put in a goalie who had won once all season long. Not surprisingly, the game was a clunker early on and it looked like it would be heading to overtime tied at one. However, Morgan Frost gave Philly the lead with 2:15 left with an empty-netter 29 seconds later sealing the victory, offsetting a late tally from Rafael Harvey-Pinard.

Mar. 30: Panthers 5, Canadiens 2 – Things were looking promising early on with Sean Farrell scoring less than 90 seconds in for his first NHL goal in his second game but things went off the rails from there. Matthew Tkachuk picked up a hat trick with the last of those coming into an empty net while Montreal could only muster up 20 shots against Alex Lyon, Florida’s third-string netminder.

Apr. 1: Hurricanes 3, Canadiens 0 – There are a handful of games each season that teams just want to forget about. This was one of those for the Habs. They were completely dominated from start to finish by a Carolina team that’s looking to hold onto top spot in the Metropolitan. The Hurricanes managed to pepper Samuel Montembeault with 50 shots while on the flip side, the Habs managed a season-low 14.



# Player GP G A +/- PIMS SOG ATOI
6 Chris Wideman 2 0 0 -1 0 1 12:15
8 Mike Matheson 4 0 2 -4 2 11 26:35
11 Brendan Gallagher 4 2 0 +1 2 10 14:54
14 Nick Suzuki 4 0 0 -6 0 7 20:03
25 Denis Gurianov 4 0 0 E 2 5 14:31
26 Johnathan Kovacevic 4 0 0 -1 2 5 19:02
27 Jonathan Drouin 4 0 1 E 2 4 16:56
32 Rem Pitlick 1 0 0 -1 0 0 12:26
40 Joel Armia 1 0 0 -1 0 1 10:44
44 Joel Edmundson 4 0 0 -3 2 2 18:11
49 Rafael Harvey-Pinard 3 2 0 -5 0 9 18:29
52 Justin Barron 4 0 0 -2 2 2 16:08
54 Jordan Harris 4 1 0 +1 0 6 20:13
55 Michael Pezzetta 4 0 0 E 2 3 11:42
56 Jesse Ylonen 4 0 2 +1 0 6 14:22
57 Sean Farrell 3 1 0 -1 0 3 14:01
58 David Savard 2 0 1 +1 0 5 23:24
60 Alex Belzile 4 1 0 -2 0 6 12:46
67 Chris Tierney 3 0 0 E 0 3 11:19
68 Mike Hoffman 4 0 1 -7 2 6 17:47
71 Jake Evans 4 0 3 +3 2 6 15:11
77 Kirby Dach 1 0 0 +1 0 3 22:29


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
30 Cayden Primeau 0-1-0 2.04 .923 0
34 Jake Allen 1-0-0 2.77 .909 0
35 Samuel Montembeault 0-2-0 3.53 .911 0

Shootout – Skaters:

# Player G/ATT
8 Mike Matheson 0/1
14 Nick Suzuki 0/1
26 Johnathan Kovacevic 0/1
27 Jonathan Drouin 0/1
55 Michael Pezzetta 1/1
56 Jesse Ylonen 1/1

Shootout – Goalies:

# Player SVS/SF
34 Jake Allen 5/6

Team Leaders:

Goals: Cole Caufield (26)
Assists: Nick Suzuki (38)
Points: Nick Suzuki (61)
+/-: Rafael Harvey-Pinard (+4)
PIMS: Arber Xhekaj (101)
Shots: Josh Anderson (164)

News And Notes

– Following Saturday’s contest, the Habs ruled out David Savard for the remainder of the season due to a knee injury. He joins Kaiden Guhle and Arber Xhekaj as blueliners that are done for the year early. Meanwhile, Kirby Dach is on the shelf once again with an upper-body injury but his season isn’t necessarily over yet.

– There was some positive news from the infirmary as Joel Armia was able to return after missing more than a month with an upper respiratory infection.

– There is a $25,000 bonus this season in Sean Farrell’s contract. It’s hit at the 5-game mark which he’s likely to hit, barring injuries. That will increase Montreal’s bonus overage penalty for next season which will be deducted from their spending limit next season.

– After a decent start to his tenure with Montreal, Denis Gurianov has been held without a point in five straight games and has managed just six shots on goal in that span.

Last Game’s Lines:

Drouin – Suzuki – Ylonen
Farrell – Belzile – Hoffman
Pezzetta – Evans – Gallagher
Gurianov – Pitlick – Armia

Matheson – Kovacevic
Edmundson – Barron
Harris – Wideman

The Week Ahead

Tuesday vs Detroit – The Red Wings were within striking distance of a playoff at the trade deadline last month but opted to sell and have been tumbling down the standings ever since.  Starting goalie Ville Husso is dealing with a lower-body injury and they just shut down Robby Fabbri for the season as well.  Dylan Larkin is having a career season offensively while three offseason acquisitions hold down the next three spots among their scoring leaders.  It has been a bit of a tough year for Ben Chiarot who has seen his offensive numbers and playing time dip in his first season with his new team.

Thursday vs Washington – As a result of some veterans struggling, injuries, and trades at the deadline, the Capitals are not the offensive juggernaut they once were.  Alex Ovechkin is having a solid season and is above the point-per-game mark and Dylan Strome has played well enough to earn a long-term deal but things taper off quickly from there.  Former Hab Charlie Lindgren has played in a career-high 29 games and has held his own, posting a 3.02 GAA and a .898 SV%.

Saturday at Toronto – The Maple Leafs have been resting players for the last couple of weeks and it’s possible that they’ll continue to do so with their playoff matchup against Tampa Bay now officially locked in.  While they have four players averaging a point per game or better (you can probably guess the four), their defence has been a strong spot this season with Ilya Samsonov having an impressive season between the pipes.  The Maple Leafs traded two first-round picks near the deadline to add four veterans (highlighted by Ryan O’Reilly and Jake McCabe), we’ll see later this month if that winds up being the right decision or not.

Final Thought

In a week where there weren’t exactly a lot of positives on the ice for the Habs, I want to highlight Jake Evans. Very quietly, he has come back looking like the version of Evans from a year ago, not the one that struggled considerably in the first half of the season.

In six games since returning, Evans has four assists and is anchoring a line with Brendan Gallagher that has looked pretty good, all things considered. There aren’t many players where it can be said that the stretch runs means a lot for them but Evans is one of those players. When he’s on, he’s an above-average fourth liner that can play on the third line in the pinch and that type of player is valuable to have when he’s playing like that. However, when he isn’t doing all that much, he’s someone that seems expendable.

At a minimum, a decent finish might help restore some trade value should that be the route that management opts to go with him. Otherwise, Evans could be playing his way into staying in the plans for next season. If that means that Owen Beck can stay in junior for another season over pushing for a spot on the fourth line, that’d be great. It wouldn’t be fair to say there’s a lot riding on how Evans performs over the last couple of weeks but there is at least some level of importance for him to prove that he’s still worthy of being in the plans for the organization. If he plays like he has the last couple of weeks, he should be able to accomplish just that.