What were you doing one year ago? Eastern Conference Standings through April 4, 2016 GP W L OL PTS GF GA RPt% ROW Atlantic Division Florida Panthers 79 45 25 9 99 229 197 0.525 38 Tampa Bay Lightning 79 45 29 5 95 219 191 0.551 42 Detroit Red Wings 79 40 28 11 91 204 216 0.494 38 Boston Bruins 79 41 30 8 90 233 220 0.494 37 Ottawa Senators 79 36 34 9 81 224 240 0.418 30 Montreal Canadiens 79 36 37 6 78 211 228 0.424 31 Buffalo Sabres 79 33 35 11 77 193 214 0.405 31 Toronto Maple Leafs 79 28 40 11 67 192 233 0.316 22 Metropolitan Division Washington Capitals 78 55 17 6 116 241 182 0.679 51 Pittsburgh Penguins 79 46 25 8 100 235 194 0.557 42 New York Rangers 79 44 26 9 97 229 209 0.538 41 New York Islanders 78 43 26 9 95 219 203 0.519 38 Philadelphia Flyers 78 39 26 13 91 203 208 0.481 36 Carolina Hurricanes 79 34 29 16 84 192 216 0.424 33 New Jersey Devils 79 37 34 8 82 176 200 0.456 35 Columbus Blue Jackets 79 31 40 8 70 205 246 0.354 25 THE GOOD Artturi Lehkonen. Saku Koivu knows his players, doesn’t he? Before Habs training camp Koivu made it clear that Lehkonen was ready for the NHL. It’s been a steady climb for the 21 year old rookie from Piikkio, Finland (a sub-region of Saku’s home base of Turku). You could see – and feel – his confidence growing over the last month or so. He had the difficult part figured out early on. But his offense, led by that impressive release, has caught up to the rest of his game. Game winner in the Atlantic Division clincher. His 16 goals is the most in a season by a Habs rookie since Guillaume Latendresse in 2006-07. Andrew Shaw. Hasn’t done much scoring since being moved to the middle but banged home a shot from the slot to open the scoring. Alex Galchenyuk. Long overdue night of substance for the entire trio. Galchenyuk was hungry for the puck in this one. Made things happen around the net. Shortly before Shaw scored, Galchenyuk took the puck from the side of the Florida net, showed strength and patience in taking it out front to the other side where he waited out Reto Berra only to watch the puck hit the post. The next time he had the puck down low he smartly kept it along the ice and banked it off Berra directly to Shaw who had no trouble beating the Florida goaltender. The bad news on Galchenyuk is that he has scored just one goal in the last month. And the Habs are going to need goals from him. The good news is he’s around the net and he’s making plays. And he still has time. Charlie Lindgren. He is a good looking young goaltender. We saw it late last season. He’s had a good year for a mediocre team in St. John’s. Doesn’t panic for a guy with such little pro experience. Fights through traffic. The only goal that beat him – Jonathan Marchessault’s 30th of the season – came after he was knocked off balance and prevented from getting to the shooter – and he still almost managed to get a pad on the shot in a desperation attempt. Was especially strong in the second period when the Habs hit the snooze button. Phillip Danault-Alexander Radulov-Max Pacioretty. Still any concern that Radulov couldn’t be effective for a full NHL schedule.? He’s back alright with 5 points in his last 4 games. Pacioretty’s next point will mark a career high at 68. I loved how Danault stood up for himself following a face off against Michael Sgarbossa. As both forwards went low to the ice Sgarbossa cross checked Danault in the back of the head. Danault wasted no time in responding. Eventually the gloves came off. Paul Byron. Another game, another breakaway. His shot missed the net entirely but rebounded off the boards right onto the stick of Lehkonen who blasted it home to give Montreal a late two goal lead. Tomas Plekanec. Late season surge in the face off circle (13/18 or 72%) has taken him above 50% where he hasn’t been in a full season for three years. PK Unit. Led by Plekanec, it killed off a Panthers 5 on 3 in the second period while the game was tied. Andrei Markov. Didn’t seem to miss his injured D partner Shea Weber. Jeff Petry. He will score again before the end of the season, won’t he? You can tell the blanks he keeps firing is more than just an inside joke among teammates as each time Petry fails to convert a scoring chance it’s followed by a smile and a glance at the bench. In case you’ve forgotten, Petry has been stuck on 8 goals since before Christmas. Nikita Nesterov. He’s alive! Welcome back. Formed a duo most of the night with Brandon Davidson. Here’s one for the numerologists – when was the last time an NHL defense pair wore numbers 88 & 89? Jacob de la Rose. He’s alive too. A late season hot streak has raised his AHL goal total to 12. On the Ice Caps that’s good enough for the 4th highest total on the team behind Chris Terry (27), Charles Hudon (24) and Nikita Scherbak (13). We might not have seen the last of de la Rose after all. THE BAD Power Play. Imagine how totally one sided these games down the stretch would be if the Habs could only find that next gear with the man advantage? True, they have ended up putting teams away eventually anyway, but it sure would help if they hit the playoffs with a power play that was productive instead of one that continues to sputter. Florida’s goal. Alexei Emelin, who played pretty well on the right side, was way too passive in his own zone (and it’s not like he had Shawn Thornton to think about) while his partner Nathan Beaulieu blocked Lindgren’s path to Marchessault. THE UGLY The NHL says no to the 2018 Olympics. @willesonsports Opium — Mitch Melnick (@HunterZThompson) April 3, 2017 Post Views: 1,016 6 Responses Rick L April 4, 2017 Thanks Mitch … posting last season’s standings certainly puts things into perspective … the drop Florida had this year surprised me, but they had some significant injuries and, being a Habs fan, I can appreciate that … as for the game, I thought Claude Julien did a good job at rotating the defence corps through the game … Nikita Nesterov had the least TOI amongst d-men with 18 mins, while Andrei Markov had a team-high 21:31 TOI … I thought the team did a very good in limiting Florida’s scoring chances … nice to see a blue-chip prospect like Artturi Lehkonen in the lineup … he’s kicked it into overdrive at the right time of year … Cheers. dra58 April 4, 2017 Well no one bit on the April fools joke I reposted from elsewhere. As to DeLaRose I think he is our answer(poor mans version) to a cheaper version of Pleky in today’s career for Plec because he still can’t score with any consistency but he does do a great job at shutdown still. The european kids do understand the defensive side of the game really well before they come over here. Could have done without the reminder about Guillaume L. as he is now in the Swiss league I believe(role reversals maybe). Great game and nice follow up for a team hopefully chomping at the bit to get into the playoffs and go places. GO HABS GO! IMS1965 April 4, 2017 The NHL’s decision on the 2018 Olympics is typical of the moronic, myopic, shoot-yourself-in-the-foot mentality that the league has exhibited for years. Of the four major North American sports leagues, it is by far the worst in terms of promoting itself and its players. Rick L April 5, 2017 Anyone know what’s up with Jordie Benn? sled ed April 11, 2017 Mitch man, love your G.B&U…but youre going to have to change the page title from “recap of EVERY montreal canadiens game” to “recap of 70% of the games” you missed a lot this year Al April 12, 2017 agree with sled… lack of updates means tossing the bookmark. Enjoy what you do, just wish you could be consistent with it.