The Canadiens started Tuesday off with an optional skate where Gionta, Kaberle, Plekanec, Bouillon, Ryder and Prust took that option. Rene Bourque and Raphael Diaz are not even on the road trip due to their concussions. Dumont, Nokelainen and Weber put extra work in after the rest of the boys had left the ice, indicating that they’d probably be scratched against the Islanders.
The game against the Islanders was difficult to watch and maybe that was partly because it was the Islanders. The last two Montreal games have been against Pittsburgh and Boston, which had more of an edge to them. The Canadiens opened the scoring with Plekanec’s 10th on the year (first Hab to hit that mark this season) but then found themselves down and having to climb back. They did climb back but only to end up down again for good. The point streak was bound to come to an end sometime and unfortunately it was in a game that we did not look too good in. Yes, Habs scored three but they didn’t do enough to get the win in the end. The Isles made most of their opportunities. For a longer review, read AATH writer Jared Horner’s piece.
Montreal’s farm team, the Hamilton Bulldogs, had a better outing on Tuesday night. They were up against the Abbotsford Heat who are 3rd in the North division. Dustin Tokarski started in goal for the second consecutive game and did exactly what he did in the game prior. He recorded a shutout and the team won 2-0 again. This time the goals came from Tenute and Leblanc to help their team win. The Bulldogs are 10 points out of the 8th spot but they do have 3 games in hand on that team who holds onto that place, which coincidentally is Abbotsford. The Bulldogs will need to continue their success as of late if they have any hope left to get in the playoffs.
Per Corey Pronman, in 6 games since being dealt to MTL, Dustin Tokarski has a .960 save percentage. Not a bad deal Bergevin, not a bad deal at all. The kid has two shutouts, a 1.18 GAA and a 4-2-0 record. He is key for Hamilton’s success going forward.
Michael Ryder registered three assists in the game against the Islanders. He now has four since being traded to the Canadiens. Even if he was not producing, the deal can be considered a win for Montreal as they not only cleared out some cap space for the future but they acquired a draft pick as well.
Captain Brian Gionta scored the 20, 000th goal in the Montreal Canadiens’ NHL history. Not to be confused with Mike Cammalleri recording the 20, 000th NHA and NHL goal in Habs history. As per Dave Stubbs, it took the Habs 95 years, 2 months, 14 days of NHL existence to score 20,000 goals. They lead all original six teams in this category. Also, as reported by the Check the Ticket Twitter account by The Score, the Habs have scored more regular season goals than the Panthers, Ducks, Predators, Wild, Blue Jackets & Senators combined in their franchise’s respective histories. Just some perspective for you.
According to LeBrun, the Habs want to get bigger up front, think of Prust, same idea, a top 9 player. Possible trade bait those 2nds and 3rds stockpiled. Bergevin won’t mortgage future for rentals, likely going to be a player they can keep long term 2+ years. In the past, the Habs have traded high draft picks to acquire rental players that would be gone at the end of the season. Due to this, they have missed out on some good prospects. It will be interesting to see what else Bergevin has up his sleeve as the days in March pass by on our way to April 3rd’s trade deadline.
The Canadiens currently still hold on to first place in the Eastern Conference but a lot of fans dismissed that fact as they were bashing Carey Price throughout the night. I wrote a piece about it but if I would have right after the game, it would have been ruthless. Gladly, I took a step away for a bit before tackling it. However, I am still quite rattled by it.