The Montreal Canadiens played their first back-to-back games this past weekend as they lost to the Washington Capitals by a score of 6-1 while getting blanked by the New York Rangers 2-0.
Here are this weekend’s studs and sleepers:
Carey Price: ever the superior competitor, Price bounced back from a disastrous outing against Alex Ovechkin and held the fort against the New York Rangers. Sadly, his .920 save percentage against the Rangers would be insufficient as his teammates laid a goose egg in Madison Square Garden.
Max Pacioretty: some would argue that he was pushed into Henrik Lundqvist in the first period and that Shea Weber‘s goal should have counted. Pacioretty has often been criticized for not going to the “dirty areas” on the ice– that he’s a “perimeter” player, but he skated directly to the front of the net on that play. His effort levels are there despite a lack of results on the scoresheet.
Alex Galchenyuk: offensively he hasn’t been… Galchenyuk-like. Yet, he seems to have finally started to grasp the defensive aspect of hockey. I personally don’t want to see him on the left wing anymore.
Tomas Plekanec: has looked good on virtually every shift played through the first three games of the season, as have his linemates Charles Hudon and Artturi Lehkonen.
Jonathan Drouin: is a promising center but is surely frustrated at a lack of production. He is winning most of his faceoffs and working as hard as he can to generate offense to little avail.
Victor Mete: possibly the brightest spot through three games. Plays with the confidence of a 10-year veteran and skillfully skates with his eyes up.
Mark Streit: to say that the 39-year-old has slowed down significantly would be an understatement. Head coach Claude Julien saw enough of the blue-liner to make him a healthy scratch against the Rangers. How long he’ll be a healthy scratch is anybody’s guess.
Ales Hemsky: four minor penalties in two games and an overall lackluster effort by the veteran forward saw him sit Sunday night’s match out. He made way for Torrey Mitchell…
Everybody and everything else (?): three goals in three games simply won’t cut it. Sure, the Canadiens might have been a little unlucky against the Rangers and saw two of their goals disallowed. But they are constantly chasing the puck and the defensemen seem to have a hard time dealing with the forechecking pressures of their opponents. The team is coughing the puck up way too often.
Moreover, the powerplay is 0-for-9 thus far despite stretches of impressive puck cycling. The tide should turn soon for Julien’s team and there’s no reason to panic with 79 games left to play in the regular season.